App Store photo app updates, iPhone

Instagram, PhotoStation, VSCO Cam, CameraBag 2 and more — here’s a roundup of some of this week’s more significant photo app updates. More than just bug-fix updates, each of these app updates added new features and functionality to these apps.

Click past the jump for what awaits in your App Store updates:


The big app update this week was Instagram. No new filters per se, but version 4.0.x added Instagram Video. Tell your stories in 15-second chunks. Take that, Vine. All jokes about short movies of meals and duck-lips aside, I’ve already seen some very clever 15-second films. Life moves. Now, so does Instagram. ( )


PhotoStation was already one of the most powerful and unique photo editing apps in the App Store. Version 2.0.x adds a well-done layers tool to this powerful masking tool, making it fairly easy (as these things go) to multiple layers of composited images. It includes the standard 17 desktop layer blending modes. Photoshop Touch should have a layers tool this easy to use. ( )


VSCO Cam™ got their big update at the beginning of the month when we were on dayjob-related hiatus, but the 2.0.4 update just came out and I wanted to cover it here. VSCO Cam™ 2 goes from being a paid app to a freemium app, from 10 presets to a potential 48 presets. VSCO Cam emphasizes the photo more than the effects, even though its effects are quite stunning, ranging from film recreations to many other photo styles. Each filter set is a buck, but you get the entire set of 48 effects for $5.99, which I did and think it’s a good deal if you like analog style recreations. The app is powerful yet has a clean, uncluttered interface, reflecting its design house roots. A little pricey at six bucks, but a nice set of filters for recreating the very photos that digital photography made obsolete. ( )

CameraBag 2

This update takes CameraBag 2 in the opposite direction of VSCO Cam. Previously a freemium app (and one of the best ones available), CameraBag 2 reverts back to a full paid model. Currently priced at $1, which I suspect will not last long, CameraBag is one of the original lo-fi iPhoneography apps and still creates among the better effects, with a wide range of analog photo recreations. Built-in randomizers give this app the ability to create much more natural and random effects than simple overlay apps. Still a classic and a great photo app. ( )


ProCam is a very good camera replacement app with many of the features of a good point-and-shoot camera. Not a huge update from this often improved camera app, but a few new features, including the Multicolor Pack (in-app purchase) is now free. You get eight additional camera color themes (blue, green, yellow, orange, pink, purple, salmon, red). Also,  choosing VGA or lower video resolution triggers pixel binding, improving video low light sensitivity by up to 4x — a pretty slick trick for improving image quality in low light for a low-resolution (web-only) workflow. ( )

Photo Editor by Aviary

One of the better free image editors available in the App Store. Does it look familiar to you? That’s because Aviary licenses its photo editing module to many other app developers to include as part of their own apps. The best version of the Aviary Photo Editing Module, though, is the one that Aviary releases itself. Seriously, save yourself five bucks on the Florian Dana apps and just download this one for free. Saves in full resolution and gets its goodies faster than the licensees do. In this update, the new Integrated Camera and Gallery will get you editing your favorite photos in an instant. Super seamless and fixes one of the few weaknesses in the app. Now you also can tap an edited masterpiece to quickly compare it to the original photo. Tap and hold to restore to original. ( )

Retrica Pro

Retrica Pro is a high-res, retro style photo app with good-looking effects and built-in multi-panel capability, including the ability to mimic photoboot-style strip photos. The new update isn’t a biggie but you can now choose to save photos automatically into Camera roll only or save photos in both in app album and Camera roll. A good addition to help minimize photo redundancy. ( )


Vintique has quite a few retro and vintage filters and frames — 36 Vintage Filters, 26 Retro Filters, 49 frames and a lot more in there. It’s a square-format app with a high-resolution option available as an in-app purchase. It also has a handy built-in “Open In Instagram” for quick and easy sharing. I think it’s improved a lot since it’s initial release and gets high user ratings in the App Store. The new update now lets you adjust the strength of all those filters.  ( )