Version 1.2
Price: $0.99
Pocketbooth - Project Box

Rating 4 stars

Bottom Line: A very fun and nostalgic snapshot app, for less than the cost of one real-world photo strip.

The photo booth is enjoying a resurgence and popping up all over — malls, tourist areas, arcades, amusement parks. There’s even a “Photogenic” badge on FourSquare for checking into three venues with a photo booth.

Pocketbooth by Project Box is a very fun app for taking snapshots based on the style of an old photo booth — according to the app’s description, a 1950’s-era Model 11 photo booth. Pocketbooth adds a cool, nostalgic twist to taking snapshots. This app is fun to play with. I really like Pocketbooth.

Model 11 photo booth

A Model 11 photo booth. Photo courtesy of Photobooth.net.

The first modern photo booths were built on Broadway in New York City in 1925, paving the way for my sister, my dad and I to goof it up for the iconic strips years later. Pocketbooth invokes that same nostalgic feeling.

The app is simple to use. It opens to a retro-looking photo booth screen. All controls are easily accessible from here. It defaults to the front camera on devices that have one, but switching to the rear camera is easily done. The onscreen viewer allows you to frame. Shoot. A few seconds later, your photostrip develops and “drops down”. Your photostrip is saved to the app’s Photo Roll, but can be easily shared on Facebook or Twitter, emailed, saved to your iPhone’s camera roll or even printed to AirPrint-enabled devices.

There are few settings to worry about — photo strip size, color effect, gloss or matte paper stock, border color, time between shots.  Most of these you’ll set once and just play. There are four color modes — antique, black & white, color, and sepia — and two size modes — 3 poses or 4. My two favorites are the black & white and color mode. Both modes do a little processing to the photos to add contrast and tweak the saturation just a little. The photos are a lot better quality than most of the new, digital photo booths. Print size is 489x2608px for a 4-pose strip and 652×1956 for a 3-pose strip — both definitely printable.

The user-interface adds to the fun of the app. The app is full of authentic details like the retro turquoise veneer of the photobooth, the scuffed up wood laminate of the delivery slot, and the rendered steel plates of many of the app’s buttons. It’s a great nod that adds a lot to the feel of the app. Even the size of the strip is really, really close to a classic 4-photo strip [1]

UPDATE: How does it compare to IncrediBooth, the photobooth app from the makers of Hipstamatic? Both apps have an old photo booth UI. IncrediBooth only has three effects, which are very similar to Hipstamatic’s John S lens, Lucifer VI lens, and BlacKeys film. Pocketbooth’s effects are more authentic looking. IncrediBooth only outputs a strip of 4 photos and does not have an adjustable timer between shots. Pocketbooth offers two strip formats and you can adjust the time between shots from 1 to 5 seconds. IncrediBooth only works on devices with a front-facing camera. Pocketbooth also works on iPhone 3 and 3GS using the rear camera.

They’re both good apps. IncrediBooth has some of the Hipstamatic effects. Pocketbooth works on more devices, has more authentic effects and gives you more options.

The app is fun. Photo booth apps are great for telling a short story in four snapshots — even if it’s just camping it up by yourself or with friends. Pocketbooth takes the photos out of the booth. It’s a really fun photo app. For less than the cost of one photo strip at the mall, Pocketbooth is an excellent photo booth app for your iPhone that’s hard not to have fun with. If you share one photo strip with your friends, the app has paid for itself.

UPDATE: Tim Garrett, Pocketbooth’s developer, shared this link with me of some really cool art he created with the app. Click here to see the photostream on Flickr. It’s really worth checking out.

Pocketbooth is currently 99¢ and works with any iPhone or iPod Touch 4th Gen running iOS 4.0 or higher.

Pocketbooth - Project Box



1 – The classic arrangement from the old style photo booths is four pictures on a strip about 40 mm wide by 205 mm long. The Pocketbooth 4-pose strip reduces down to 40 mm wide by 213 mm long.

Disclosure: I received one promo code from the developer for possible review of this app.