Top Apps for Square Photos

Hip to Be Square, January 19, 2012.

  1. Instagram, Free, is the app I use the most for sharing my photos, but I tend to edit my photos in other apps. It’s free and comes with 17 different effects to choose from. Instagram will save a full resolution copy of the photo to your phone, but only uploads photos at 612×612 resolution.
  2. Hipstamatic, $1.99, and comes with a starter pack of lenses, flashes, and film. HipstaPaks with additional gear are available via in-app purchase. The only downside of Hipstamatic is you cannot load images from your phone into the app, but I think that adds to the app’s retro appeal.
  3. MagicHour, $1.99, is primarily a filter editing app. It has 40 built-in filters, but gives the user nearly unlimted options through its Filter Market. This is a repository of free, downloadable filters created by other MagicHour users. The app is currently on sale for $0.99 cents, so get it now before the price goes back up.
  4. PhotoToaster, on sale for $0.99 (regularly $2.99), is one of two universal iPad/iPhone app on my list. While not exclusively a square format app, it has a simple square cropping tool as well as wide variety of preset effects. You can also create and save your own effects. It also serves as a full-featured editor for other photos, supports PhotoAppLink, which makes it a must have general purpose photo editor.
  5. Squaready, Free, bills itself as an “Instagram layouter”. It is the simplest way to crop your photos for sharing on Instagram. The app supports SendToApp and PhotoAppLink, and you can upscale lower resolution photos when exporting. Squaready has funky sound effects for each action (which thankfully can be turned off) and is ad supported, but the ads are unobtrusive, and clicking one will leave the app ad-free for several hours.
  6. 100 Cameras in 1, $1.99, was developed by professional travel photographer Trey Ratcliff from StuckInCustoms.com. The app offers Golden Ratio and Rule of Thirds guides to help compose your shot. With 100 different filters, the app is definitely worth downloading, especially given the names assigned to each filter. Instead of “black and white” or “vintage” you have “I dreamed of the clouds of Jupiter” and “going back for more ice cream when no one is watching”. I can’t help but chuckle every time I use the app.
  7. Ttv Photo Studio, $2.99, is an effects app that emulates the viewfinders of more than 30 cameras, like the Brownie. It doesn’t connect to any other editing apps, but does gives you manual control over each effect. All of your images are saved in the app as well as your camera roll, so you can open past projects to make changes.
  8. Fx Photo Studio, $0.99, is an effects app that I haven’t had a chance to play around with very much but is very well designed. It has 194 filters, and you are able to adjust the strength and contrast of each. You can bookmark your favorites and customize filters for reuse and export directly to Instagram. The smile factor comes from the random facts it displays on screen while saving your creations.
  9. Picfx, $1.99, is a simple to use effects filter/camera. First you select a photo texture with names like Galatic and Paint Peel and apply different styles to make the photo look vintage, warm, or cool. There are 47 effects and 13 styles to choose from. It doesn’t have full manual control over the effects, but supports PhotoAppLink and exports photos at full resolution.
  10. Instacam, $1.99, is another Instagram companion app. If you’re sensing a theme, it’s that Instagram’s doesn’t offer a real diverse set of built-in filters, so to get the most out of the service you need a solid effects app. Instacam only offers 19 effects, but it does integrate with Instagram rather well so is a good go to app for quick effects. The app often goes on sale for $0.99 or free, so you may want to keep an eye on it for now.
  11. ClassicInsta, Sale price $0.99 (regularly $1.99), emulates old Polaroid and Instamatic cameras, complete with an animation of your photo developing, without all the shaking. It’s a universal app for iPad/iPhone. It requires iOS 5.0 to run, so is limited to the iPhone 3GS and newer.
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