I’ll admit that sometimes we mobile photographers take ourselves a little too seriously. At the recent Macworld/iWorld conference, I overheard dozens of conversations that compared the number and quality of apps on every attendee’s iPhone.
It’s easy for mobile photographers to get pompous about their apps. Photographers have a long history of being gear-obsessed and while smartphone hardware has seen huge progress, a large focus of discussion is still on “OMG, what app did you use!?”
What the “oh, yeah. I’ve been on Instagram since Beta” mobile photographers forget is that a huge number of apps are made for the other mobile photographers—the teenage girls and boys who would rather take photos of their puckering faces than shadowed strangers boarding a subway train.
Rounding out every operating system’s “top” lists are at least a few of these seemingly pointless apps. Personally, I have always been curious about the draw of these apps so I decided to take a look at a few of the apps that I always stumble across in my app store browsing.
1. GirlsCamera; Android; Free
A lot of the silliest self-portrait apps can be traced back to one place: Japan. GirlsCamera is the most popular of Android’s large collection of purikura-style applications. Purikuras are Japanese photo booths that allow users to add cartoons and often draw right on the images of themselves. The photos are then printed—often on stickers.
GirlsCamera offers the same look of the purikura craze on an Android phone. You first take or upload a photo to the app—choosing one of dozens of frames to surround your face. Next, you can draw on the photo with solid colors or patterned brushes and stamp cartoon cakes and characters. My result was an awesomely cluttered self portrait that I am embarrassed to say took me about 10 minutes of sketching, deleting, and giggling.
GirlsCamera has over 500,000 downloads from the Google Play store, making it the most downloaded purikura Android app after the nail-specific DecoPetit. Windows Phone 8 users can use PuriClub (free) and iPhone users will get the effect with Photo Sticker ($0.99).
2. iSwap Faces, iOS, $1.99/Free
A byproduct of the image-obsessed internet culture of sites like Reddit (and its sister site Imgur) and 9Gag, the face swapping meme has made its way to the App Store. Found in the Tenso and Manbaby memes, face swapping switches the features of a photo’s subjects, creating a jarring and usually hilarious image.
iSwap Faces is a quick and painless way to swap your model’s faces. First, you upload or take an image of one or two people. If your photo has two people, you can select their faces and swap them. If your photo has one person, you can choose to import the face from a second photo. The face’s color and brightness can be adjusted to make the image look as “natural” as possible. Overall, iSwap Faces is easy to use and produces pretty decent results for how little effort you have to put in.
iSwap Faces claims to be the most downloaded of the popular face swapping applications. According to App Data, iSwap Faces is the #65 top paid photo app and #89 top grossing app in the US—beating out SlowShutter and Photogene2. Android users can get the same effect from Face Swap ($1.99) and Windows Phone 8 users have a free app of the same name.
3. Meme Lens; Windows Phone 8; Free
A meme, as defined by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins (and Merriam-Webster), is “an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture.” The hivemind of the internet has repurposed this word to define the humor trends that emerge from popular forum sites. The biggest byproducts of the internet meme culture can be seen in the Advice Animals of Reddit and Rage Comics of 4Chan.
Meme Lens for Windows Phone 8 allows users to apply Rage Comic faces onto their photos. It also allows for placement of faces inside some of the most popular Advice Animal memes like Gangnam Style and Success Kid. I decided to rage-ify my headshot. In doing so, I felt like creating a “scumbag tech journalist” meme. No, this is not a thing. Don’t make this a thing.
MemeLens is not the easiest app to navigate—when taking a photo, MemeLens will use facial recognition to apply the cartoon face over the face in the image but often misses the mark. The best memes can only be activated if you “like” the app on Facebook and the Adivce Animal memes don’t fit in the screen. But for meme apps, all that really matters is the amount of “lulz” and trust me, Meme Lens has plenty of them.
MemeLens, released on February 1st of this year, has gotten over 20,000 downloads in its first month. iPhone users can rage-ify themselves with the free Ragemaker app and Android users can make strips on the free Rage Comic Maker app.
Mar 5, 2016
Mar 4, 2016
Mar 3, 2016
Mar 2, 2016
TIME Magazine has named the Sony a7R III one of its top 10 gadgets of 2017. It was the only camera that made the illustrious list this year, receiving high praise from TIME, who dubbed it "one of the best mirrorless cameras ever made."
Thanks to Google Assistant integration, the Pixel 2's AI-powered 'Google Lens' camera feature will soon be easier and quicker to use.
Photographer Jenna Martin and her model friend Rachelle Kathleen set themselves a challenge: could they create beautiful portraits in an 'ugly' location? So they went to a local Lowe's hardware store and gave it a go!
The LG V30 differentiates itself from the competition with an expansive video feature set and a secondary wide angle camera, making it something of a Swiss Army knife for content creators.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. Holding down the top position is none other than the Nikon D850 – by a landslide.
It's been twenty years since Jeff Keller founded the Digital Camera Resource Page, one of the first websites dedicated to digital photography. Jeff, who has been at DPReview for nearly five years, looks back at the rise and fall of consumer digital cameras and his website.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. At #2 we have another staff favorite – the Sony Alpha a9.
Rotolight has released the Anova Pro 2 circular LED for stills and video, boasting a 70% increase in brightness and what the company describes as "unrivaled battery performance."
Designer Vinicius Araújo has imagined what he believes the perfect Adobe software keyboard might look like. From customizable touch pads, to a scroll wheel, to a little display that shows the tool in use, his design is pretty compelling.
Peak Design has teamed up with Leica to release a limited-edition backpack made special for fans of the Red Dot.
A portrait of an android woman has beaten over 5,700 pictures of humans to take third place in this year’s prestigious Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize. The judges were not told the subject was an 'android' until after the winning images were chosen.
Hauling around C-Stands just got a whole lot less annoying thanks to these new Matthews shoulder and roller bags, which can hold two or three C-stand (respectively) plus accessories.
Neal Preston has shot timeless photos of everyone from Led Zeppelin, to Whitney Houston, to Michael Jackson. In this interview, he offers insights into his craft to up-and-comer Elijah Dominique.
Future prosumer Canon DSLRs might feature light-up buttons, if this newly published patent is any indication of the camera company's plans.
Sony's a7R Mark III shoots 42.4MP files at 10fps and incorporates a robust video feature set, large battery, refined ergonomics and more. It certainly looks impressive, but what is it like to use, and how does it stack up against the rest of the market? Find out in our full review.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017 – the Fujifilm X100F takes the bronze and the #3 spot.
There's never been a better time to shop for a new camera, but the number of options available can be overwhelming. In this series of buying guides we've provided customized recommendations for several use cases, from shooting landscapes to buying a first camera for a student photographer.
Shopping for a camera with a set budget? No problem! We've rounded up our favorite cameras, broken them into price brackets and picked the best of the bunch.
Looking for a lightweight compact camera that's easy to bring with you anywhere? Or maybe you're smartphone-shopping and want the one that takes the best picture. And what if you want to shoot from above? In these buyers guides we have recommendations for the best compact cameras, smartphones and drones.
Despite reports to the contrary, analysis of DPReview images by our friend Jim Kasson confirms a disappointing fact: Sony a7R III is still a Star Eater. But there may be some improvements.
As the saying goes: A photo is worth a thousand words. And if you're sending that photo through Facebook Messenger, your thousand words now look twice as nice after today's update to 4K resolution.
Get to know the new Leica CL in short order by giving our 90 second 'First look' video a watch.
Leica has just released the CL, the forth in its series of APS-C L-mount cameras. Despite sharing a name with a camera released in the mid-70s, the new CL is a thoroughly modern ILC, with a 24MP sensor and built-in electronic viewfinder.
The Leica CL is a 24MP rangefinder-style mirrorless camera, which sits alongside the TL2 in the company's APS-C lineup. We've been using one for a few days – check out our gallery of images.
While it shares a name with one of Leica's most popular and affordable cameras of the 1970s, the new CL is separated from its namesake by more than just years. We've been using one for a few days - click through for a detailed first-impressions report.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017, and the #4 ranking goes to the Leica M10.
Sigma is discounting 13 different high-performance 'Art' series lenses from today until November 30th. The company is calling it an 'unprecedented' sale.
See DJI's 'AeroScope' drone-tracking technology in action. This is the system that DJI says can help law enforcement and airport (among others) track and identify rogue drones.
iPhone X owners can already accessorize their new phone with high-quality smartphone photography lenses courtesy of Moment's new lineup.
Considering buying Sigma's exciting new 16mm F1.4 DC DN Contemporary lens for crop-sensor E-Mount and M43? Check out these official full-res samples first!