Taking Pictures Is Savoring Life

It’s been said that the best camera you own is the one you have with you. For most of us, that camera is housed in a smartphone. The best part about that? The apps, of course! There are hundreds upon hundreds out there that can take your photo from so-so to something special. Even if you think you’re no photographer, and even if you don’t consider yourself at all artistic, I promise you: you can make any halfway decent photograph into a customized, shareable delight in just a few moments with a creative photo editing app. Here are three that we here at Sweatpants & Coffee just love.

A Beautiful Mess by Red Velvet Art LLC, $0.99 in the App Store, Android version in development

A Beautiful Mess by Red Velvet Art LLC, $0.99 in the App Store, Android version in development

A Beautiful Mess is brought to us from Elsie and Emma, owners of the shop Red Velvet and creators of the lifestyle blog “A Beautiful Mess.” Known for their hipster quirky style (think Zooey Deschanel as a boutique owner) Elsie and Emma have included their signature hand-drawn borders, doodles and phrases in addition to the fonts provided for you to insert your own text. The selection is somewhat limited, but widely usable. Additional art packs can be purchased for 99 cents each, with more coming as the app is updated. The app is simple, friendly, and easy to use, and allows convenient sharing by sending your picture to your camera roll, as well as the ability to send it to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter or email it to a friend. Recently, I took a picture of my youngest son, staring thoughtfully into space, a gentle smile on his lips. He told me what he was thinking, and thanks to A Beautiful Mess, I was able to share his contemplation with others in moments.

Photo Apps 1 and 2

Sorry. The app does not include my little evil genius. I made that one myself.

Rhonna Designs

Rhonna Designs by Rhonna Farrer, $1.99 in the App Store, Android version in development

Rhonna Designs is named for and designed by mixed media artist and papercrafter extraordinaire, Rhonna Farrer. It is very similar to A Beautiful Mess, but with even more choices in fonts, filters, frames, masks, and pre-made quotes and designs. There is much more choice in color as well, as the app includes sliders to adjust text and graphics to any shade you desire. Text is easier to manipulate since the app includes cursor placement, cut copy and paste and easy justification modes. Share-ability is just as easy, with the added option to print (good resolution is promised for prints up to 4″ by 4″.) Rhonna even provides linked video tutorials right within the app so the learning curve is small for such control. With the Rhonna Designs app, I was able to transform a photo of my eldest son and his beloved pet into an adorable jpg in just a few taps. This is seriously the bare basics of what this app is capable of, and what you can do with no experience whatsoever.

Photo Apps 3 and 4

There is, however, no feature in this app that can make that cat like me. Not even a little.


ToonPAINT by Insatiable Genius LLC, $1.99 in the App Store and on Google Play for Android

ToonPAINT is a whole different thing. Quite simply (and quite spectacularly) it turns any photo into an instant cartoon. My friend and Sweatpants & Coffee reader, Bailey Sweet, turned me onto this app and I was amazed at how easy it was to create pretty snazzy looking line art versions of my favorite shots. You can even paint them by hand, or, for a 99 cent upgrade charge, the app will color them for you in a flash. Simply allowing access to my camera roll and selecting a headshot of myself transformed a photograph into my own graphic novel cover page, from black and white line art to full color.

Photo Apps 5 6 7

Consider yourself warned: I am using this picture as a launch pad to my new career as a superhero. I am doing this strictly so I can fund a trip to Comic-Con. Oh, and to save the world. Yeah. That.

Apps like these allow everyone to be a digital artist using only the tech in their purse or pocket. Short on time? Think you have no “talent”? Forget all that. Take a moment in your day to be creative and let the photographic artist in you run wild. And don’t forget to share your results with us!

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