Priime, Prime, Art Change, iPhoneography, iPhone photo, mobile photography


Priime is a recent entry into the crowded field of iPhone photo filter apps. It’s a unique twist on the one-click filter apps. It has excellent pedigree and despite its quirks, it’s probably one of the better one-click filter apps in the app store.

Priime is the brainchild of entrepreneur and photographer Art Chang. What he and his team have done here is to assemble the visual recipes of dozens of working photographers. Basically, Priime is a set of one-click filters that’s designed to get you in and out fast. With the popularity of shoot-and-share social media apps such as Instagram and Facebook, many users use one-click filters as a means to quickly and easily apply color and tonal effects to make their photos pop.

Using Priime


Priime uses an “artificial intelligence” (that’s a 2K15 buzzword for sophisticated algorithms) to analyze your photo. It then shows several filter suggestions based on the colors and tones qualities of the original image. It’ll show you all filters it thinks would help the image, whether you own it or not. Be careful here — the filter pricing can quickly get pricey.

There’s no camera and only a basic tool set to make other edits. If you need to do any other heavy editing, you’ll have to do it in another app and import into Priime.

Each filter is basically a preset of color and total adjustments created by a photographer. According to the Mr. Chang, each of these photographers use similar recipes in their work. With my own exposure (no pun intended) to their work, these presets do, in fact, add effects that reflect each photographer’s signature look.

I like how the names of real photographers are attached to each preset. This beats the hell out of filters generically named “Walter” or “Alisa” that are typically found in many many other photo apps. Not only that, but each photographer gives a little insight as to the mood of each preset and gives advice on which color qualities each preset enhances best. Unlike a lot of filter apps of this type, most of Priime’s filters are very usable. There is very little fluff. This is probably due to the fact that they were designed by working photographers, not a software engineer. They are subtle and enhance, rather than become the focus of the image. iPhoneographers may find parallels with VSCO Cam in this regard, another photo app with roots in photography.

Priime’s AI analyzes each image based on color and tonal qualities and suggests several filters for you to choose from. I love the concept, but I found the intelligent suggestions aren’t always that intelligent. Much of the time for me, the app suggested presets that really didn’t give me the best photo, even based on each filters own criteria. When it hit, the color moves are gorgeous. Fortunately the app also allows you to browse your entire filter collection.

As I used Priime and it’s intelligent algorithms, I expected to see onscreen color swatches that it would use for its filter suggestions. Instead, the app just suggested. It would be helpful to see what colors it’s drawing from. Seeing the swatches would be helpful to train and hone your eye for color and composition.

But the real magic of Priime is in the filter presets. The one-click effects are gorgeous. After a few minutes of experimenting with the app, I bought the entire set — a $10 purchase. Otherwise, each one is available a la carte for a buck each.

Buying the filters one at a time is Ex. Pen. Sive. At $66 bucks a la carte, this might be the most expensive photo app in the App Store. Priime comes out of the box nicely equipped with several free filters that are quite usable. If you think you’re going to like the app, you’re better off buying the whole set.

The app has a limited set of adjustment tools. They work but not how I expect them to. For instance, the Shadows and Highlights tools (among my favorite Photoshop tools) don’t work well. They certainly aren’t the delicate adjustments I expect from these tools. They work more like blunt brightness adjustments. I took one star off of my rating because of the weak editing tools. However, I didn’t buy Priime for it to be a photo editor — I bought it because of the filters. They are gorgeous.

It’s got a really nice and subtle Vignette tool with a great roll-off.  I’m big on a vignette tool and see a lot of bad ones in photo apps. This is one of the better ones, appearance-wise. Priime also has an excellent straighten tool. It’s accurate and responsive.

One serious omission to the limited toolset is that there is no crop tool. What???!?!?!???

You can stack edits and filters. Undo to any point in the workflow with a full edit history. You can copy and paste your edits from a single photo too many other photos at once for batch processing.

Priime supports huge images up to 36 megapixels or even higher.

UPDATE: As LoFi reader and a Priime beta tester Achim mentions in the comments below, while Priime can process large images, it saves at a still-respectable 3.8 megapixels on my iPhone 5S, but it still reduces image size by deleting a good-number of pixels. This is especially dangerous when using the app’s Save feature, which is a destructive, save-over. I think the way the App Store description is worded now is misleading and my star rating now reflects that.

In preparing my original review, I took the developer at their word and didn’t catch this. Life In LoFi has a long-standing position that we identify when apps force you to downsize an image, allowing you to decide for yourself if the effects-vs-resoution tradeoff is still good enough for your uses. My apologies for this oversight. My review, now a little less positive, has been updated. =M=

Priime has both destructive and non-destructive editing. You can save over your image, save a copy, or share directly to Instagram. Fortunately, Priime warns you when you’re about to save over your original. Other than that, you’re save options are limited. In this version, Priime does not support Apple’s Open In… allowing you to send a photo straight to another app.

I really like the fact that Priime is an editor only. There’s no camera or camera button adding clutter to the interface. For an editor, I really like that. If there is a camera here, it’s well-hidden.

The Bottom Line

While its output size is still good and more than enough for most uses, I feel it definitely needs to support full, 8 MP resolution on all devices soon. Despite all my beefs with the app, I like Priime a lot better than this review will reflect. Its main purpose is to quickly and easily make your photos pop by applying filters that enhance the colors, tones, and mood of the image. Priime is like someone stuffed a photographer, a Nikon body and Adobe Lightroom into a photo app, saving you the trouble of applying these presets to achieve these looks on your own.

Priime is a free download with lots of in-app purchases. Despite its flaws, I really like Priime. Did I mention that the filters are gorgeous?


App Store Link: Priime – Priime, Inc.



Priime 1.0.1

Effects Quality/Toolbox
Resolution and Image Quality
User Interface

Better Than OK

Currently, one of the best one-click filter apps in the app store. Resolution is only 3.8 MPs, despite the App Store description. Buying the filters can be pricey if you're not careful.

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