the papercraft lab

Tuesday Lovin': My secret mobile photography weapon


I don't have a fancy iPhone. Right now I'm using a (perfectly functional) Google Galaxy Nexus, which I've had since December 2011. In phone years, that's positively ancient. But I still love my phone, especially taking photos with it.

I took an online phone photography class last year that changed the way I take photos - it made me realize that I could take "real" photos with my phone good enough for our scrapbooks, even!

The first two things I learned were how to change the settings on my phone camera and that I needed some kind of photo editing workflow. Just like regular photography, mobile photos require not only careful composition, but sorting and processing the results.

Many popular photo editing programs available for iPhone are not available on Android. So I did some searches in the Google Play store, and found PixlrExpress.  Since it was free, I gave it a try. 

10 months later, I am still using that app! 

Just one example of the coolness you can create in PixlrExpress!

Just one example of the coolness you can create in PixlrExpress!

It's amazing how powerful and easy it is to use! There are hundreds of options for borders, text, filters, and regular old editing functions like cropping and adjusting contrast. It's got convenient links to share photos on social media as soon as you've edited them. There's a collage option to stitch together multiple photos.

On holidays, sometimes the app gets updates with special themed filters, borders and "stickers" you can add to your photos. The holiday items can be tacky, but sometimes they're fun to play with.  (My daughter T loves them!)

Performance is *great* - I never have to wait for the app to finish applying a change, and this is a vast improvement over others I've tried which slow down to a crawl during edits.  Autodesk offers frequent updates. Even though this app is free, there are *no* ads in it. 

The user interface has been well thought out and is easy to learn with some practice. In fact there are several effects, like selective blurring and selective coloring, that I can only do in the app -  I have no idea how to make these on my desktop PC in any of the editing programs I use!

My mobile photo workflow is to take the photo using the ProCapture camera app (more on that in a future post!), then open it in PixlrExpress, make all the changes I want, save it to my phone, then post it to Instagram as-is.  Not being confined to the Instagram filters gives me a lot more creative options. And who doesn't love more options?

If you are still casting around for a decent photo editor, definitely give PixlrExpress a try. It's available for both Android and iOS, and I think it's a keeper!

See related posts at The Papercraft Lab