Too bad there's no such thing as Photoshop for the iPhone. Short of that, there are dozens of apps specifically designed to enhance (or in some cases, devolve) photos. Out of all the best, we've narrowed them down to ten. We downloaded, installed and tested them all, and here's our assessment, along with links to each one in iTunes, prices, screen shots and commentary.
1. Color Splash ($1.99)
Its palette: Select your pic, and the app will turn it all gray. Then you paint over the areas with any color you'd like just by tracing your finger over them.
Our color commentary: Color Splash is easy to use and works extremely well, resulting in arty-looking photo effects.
2. Camera Bag ($2.99)
Its bag o' tricks: Choose a photo on your iPhone (or take a new one), and then run it through filters that simulate pictures from 1962, 1974, a fisheye lens, the Helga camera, a Polaroid SX-70, and five others.
Why it's our bag: We enjoyed putting shots through the aging process, doubling up some of the filters for extra-cool effects, and revisiting the unique imaging characteristics of some old favorite cameras.
3. TiltShift ($2.99)
Its angle: Simulates a tilt-shift lens to create a scene where everything has that illusion of being teeny tiny.
Our angle: Using multitouch to shape the focus oval to just the right spot in the pic makes this app seem like it's performing magic, turning a plain wide shot into a bird's-eye view inside a tiny toybox.
4. Oil Canvas (Free)
Abstract: Turns ordinary pics into arty oil paintings.
Our impressionism: Start with broad brush, and as you fingerpaint with progressively smaller brushes, more detail emerges until you've turned a commonplace photo into a faux Van Gogh.
5. Photo fx ($2.99)
Filtered: Simulates physical lens filters with software.
Unfiltered: Tiffen, the filter company, knows a thing or two about lens filters, and its Photo fx software gets such realistic-looking results, we wish they were available for Photoshop, too. Sure, you could create vignettes, ultra contrast, glows and halos on any pro-level desktop software, but it would never be this easy while still giving you adjustability.
6. Magic Touch ($0.99)
Toolkit: Performs a variety of Photoshop-style image edits, such as cloning, brightness, and color dodge and burn.
Our Hammer: This is the closest app to Photoshop in our group here, giving you crude yet effective control over color, contrast, and saturation, as well as letting you create some impressive cloned effects. Notice how we turned a perfectly sunny scene into a cloudy day with just a few strokes of a finger.
7. 'stachetastic ($0.99)
Hair goals: Puts photorealistic mustaches on pics.
Our close shave: Unusually effective, with realistic results. Yes, that's me in the pic above, and no, I don't have anywhere near that much hair. Now all we need is the ability to blacken a tooth (you can even place horns on heads), and our facial graffiti machine will be complete.
8. FAIL Maker (free)
Attempt: Adds FAIL, PWNED, WRONG, or your own custom taunt to any pic, and then uploads it to the FAIL website for all to see.
Pwned: Easy to use app that we're so glad nobody had at that party last night. This one gets mild scorn, though, for the ads at the bottom, but it's hard to complain much when it's free.
9. Pano ($2.99)
Overview: Stitches together up to six pics for a 3,600 x 600-pixel panorama
We stitch it together: Leads you through the taking of each shot, and then quickly does an admirable and accurate job of stitching them together, depositing the results in your iPhone's photo album.
10. PhotoKeys Photoshop Remote ($3.99)
The remote possibilities: Turns the iPhone into a tool palette for Photoshop.
Our key: If none of the above apps on this list does the trick, why not just use Photoshop itself? After a quick install of its server software on your Mac or PC, this app turns your iPhone into a remarkably responsive, lag-free touchscreen (via Wi-Fi) for changing tools in the Photoshop palette — handy especially if you keep your iPhone in its dock next to you.