Life is busy.  BUSY.  4 kids, a handsome husband, and a dog…anyone relate? Okay, good.  I want to be the mom who records life’s precious moments.  These kids are growing way too fast.   I love creating photo books for my family, but they take so long!!!  So…creating fast memories and beautiful pics with my phone was my quest to make ‘memory keeping’ easier.

I love my canon camera.  It gives beautiful shots and does AMAZING.  See Bobbi’s post on tips for using a fancy camera to get pics of kids here.

BUT.  I don’t carry that thing with me all the time.  I’m carrying a kid, bags, food, and whatever else lands in my lap.

I do carry my phone, though…like 99.9% of the time.  I’m always afraid that I’ll get a flat tire or run out of gas when I leave it home on that 0.01 % occasion.

I love beautiful pictures and I wanted to research how to make phone pics a bit better.

So…let’s explore.  I love free apps.  There are a lot of good ones out there, so I’ll focus on those.

Oh, wait.   Before I get started, I do have an iphone 4s, just in case you were wondering.

My top 2 fave are instagram and snapseed (by google).  Both FREE.  YEAH.alisonprince

Easter morning just got brighter!  I used the snapseed (from google ap), pulled the picture in from my photo album, used the automatic button, and  maxed the saturation.  I am loving how those colors pop!logo1


before and after 2 copy

On this one…the girls were pulling Grandpa to the playground.   I pulled it into snapseed and put the saturation higher.  They have ‘frames’ too.  Do you see the black frame around the after pic?  I added the frame.  I love this grandpa/granddaughters picture.

before and after 5 copy

Okay, so this one – lots of fun pics, but I don’t want a bunch of the same style picture over and over again. Welcome the Pic Stitch app! It lets you create collages, easy peasy.   There is a free version (which I use) and a paid version.   I did edit them in snapseed first to make the colors brighter and went heavy on the saturation.  I saved the pic and then opened the pic stitch app.  I pulled in my favorite pics and voila! 5 pictures in one.

before and after 6 copyTrees.  Really cool trees that I’d like to have in my front yard one day!  Snapseed brought out the colors.  I added blur to the outside and then cropped the picture.

before and after 7 copy

Okay, this one is one of the best uses of the snapseed app.  The drama button.  I think I’ll submit this one to Better Homes and Gardens.  Not sure they’d do anything with it unless they have an article about the world’s coolest doors ever.

Drama works great on things…not people.  You can try it on people, but it pulls out wrinkles and makes them look dirty.  I’ll pass on that one.

Drama (from snapseed) made this boat picture go from a pretty boat to REALLY cool boat.

before and after 10 copy

The city looked pretty before.  Now it looks like it’s the most magical place on the earth.  Note:  I took this one out of my hotel window that had a gray tint to it. This added drama for a more urban type picture (Snapseed – drama).

before and after 11 copy

Okay, one more using the drama.  An old gross alley…is still old and gross, but it shows more detail and, for some reason, I thought it looked cool.  Maybe not, but I’ll just leave it in here.

before and after 9 copy

Other good photo apps that I’ve liked:


ReTouch  It can delete random things in pictures.  Like the man walking in front of me here.  He really stood out too much, taking away from the beautiful busy market.  Notice how his head is gone?  I did crop up to get rid of the street part too and put it into my instagram account.  I needed to make it square to fit the format.

before and after 12 copy


Visage Lab free.  This smooths skin and takes shine off.   You do have to have wi-fi for this one to work.  Hi-five my daughter for letting me ‘visage lab’ her picture.  We left off the before picture so you didn’t have to see the zit she was wearing for that day.  Pretty girl with or without the zit.  She preferred this picture though.

before and after 13 copy

So…I’ve taken the memories and edited the pictures.  Now what?  They sit on my phone for ever?  Absolutely not!  My husband and 2 oldest daughters have an instragram account that we can share our memories on.  It’s the best way I’ve ever done journaling…and now I have my family involved too!!  My husband has captured some amazing pictures and he is more than happy to shoot a pic with his phone and write a sentence about it.

There are lots of photo book programs out there now that will allow the instagram feed to be downloaded into a book.  Then…a gift for grandma and grandpa.  They can’t figure out how to get on instragram.

A way to keep up on photo books for the entire year one picture and memory at a time.

So…to find these just search for them in your apps on your phone.  They will pop up fast.

Which ones are you in love with? I wanna hear.  I only have 7 months before my 2013 photo book will be done, and I want to have a rocking book this year!





    1. May 28th, 2013 at 12:14 pm
      Shelley says:
      I LOVE this. I JUST got an instagram last week. I buckled. I have a lot to learn about hashtagging and all that fancy stuff. At least I'll have to tools to edit now though!! :) Thanks for the great post.
    2. May 28th, 2013 at 1:11 pm
      Kailie says:
      Pinning away :) I LOVE my phone for pictures. (LG Optimus G. But I'm always looking for more ways to edit. Especially since I never pull my point and shoot out anymore. Thanks!
    3. May 28th, 2013 at 1:11 pm
      Kailie says:
      Pinning away :) I LOVE my phone for pictures. (LG Optimus G) But I'm always looking for more ways to edit. Especially since I never pull my point and shoot out anymore. Thanks!
    4. May 28th, 2013 at 1:39 pm
      Holly says:
      My hubby is LoViNG "photosynth." It takes the most amazing panoramic pics. We just got back from Hawaii and used it every day!
      • May 29th, 2013 at 7:53 am
        Alison says:
        Oh I am going to try that one! Thanks Holly!!
    5. May 28th, 2013 at 6:05 pm
      Ashleigh says:
      I had no idea about Snapseed! I'm downloading as we speak. I use Instagram the most often, but when I really want to play around with colors and filters, the Camera+ app is my absolute favorite. I think it does a great job of taking the in-camera focus feature on my iPhone and getting a better photo, plus it has a rapid or timed feature, which is great when the boyfriend and I are trying to take a picture together and need a few seconds to get situated. It isn't free ($.99) but it has paid for itself and thensome!
      • May 29th, 2013 at 7:55 am
        Alison says:
        Thanks Ashleigh! I'm going to check that out! I'd love to take family pics with me in kids always say 'mom, how come you are never in the pics? I'm always taking them:)
    6. May 29th, 2013 at 12:17 am
      Caley says:
      Thanks for all of these great ideas! I need to check them out pronto!

      I love Camera+ and use it on a daily basis, I rarely even use the regular iphone camera anymore. i've also recently downloaded A Beautiful Mess...a fun app that adds cute handwriting text and doodles to your images. It's a couple of dollars, but it's definitely fun! :)
    7. May 29th, 2013 at 12:18 am
      Kimber says:
      Love these! I'm excited to look for snapseed. I use an android phone so many of the iPhone apps aren't available to me. Since this is google I bet it will be! Thanks for the tip!
    8. May 29th, 2013 at 6:57 am
      Jane Cornett says:
      Great review. I have found 2 of the ones you mentioned for Android (Snapseed and Visage Lab) but cannot find retouch - do you know who makes it in case the Android version has a little different name? One day when I win the lottery (or some of all the giveaways) I'll have an iPhone too!!!!
      • May 29th, 2013 at 5:07 pm
        Natalee says:
        Jane, I found it on android. It is really named touchRetouch.
    9. May 30th, 2013 at 6:10 am
      Caroline says:
      Love your photo tips! I did a search on photo books, but it's hard to tell which ones are the best. Could you tell me what you personally use?
    10. May 30th, 2013 at 2:42 pm
      Stephanie says:
      I have also replaced my point and shoot with my camera phone - I use it ALL the time! Better quality, lighter, easier, you name it. Thanks for the extra tips so I can take the experience up a notch!
    11. May 31st, 2013 at 10:27 am
      Ashley says:
      I love this post. Can't wait to try Snapseed and ReTouch. Very cool. Thanks.
    12. May 31st, 2013 at 10:29 am
      Julia says:
      Great tips, thanks so much, have downloaded 2 of these already!!
    13. June 10th, 2013 at 7:11 am
      Gloria @ Simply Gloria says:
      I love Instagram! And camera apps. Can't wait for this one to be on Android ...hopefully soon.
    14. January 7th, 2015 at 7:31 am
      Connie says:
      I was looking at the reviews before I got this app (snapseed) and it looks like the vast majority of the most recent reviews say that this app USED to be awesome but now it doesn't work so well (new update). Such a huge bummer if it is true. Do you have the most current snapped version? Is it still a great photo app? I see comments about this post, but they are all from a year and a half ago. :( If this is a repost then it is what it is, but I went here based on the FB post just done today 1/7/15 I love you site for information, but this post falls short in quality recommendation IMO.
    15. January 7th, 2015 at 8:52 am
      Shawna says:
      ReTouch is not free. It's .99 cents. Too bad. :(
    16. January 23rd, 2015 at 5:07 pm
      Brooke says:
      Pictapgo is the only thing about my switch from iPhone to android that bummed me out. I use snapseed and it is nice but you've got to try Pictapgo!!!
    17. February 24th, 2015 at 11:39 am
      Steve Webb says:
      I love being able to recommend these great apps to people that come to our shop. Not many carry around their high end cameras - so these are helpful to make your phone pictures memorable! Thanks!
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