The Windows Phone 7 Marketplace is growing and growing at a pace. With it quite some way behind the iTunes App Store and the Android Market for the while, there's plenty of sunlight for the developers to send in their software seedlings and let them soak it all up. The good news is that it's not just a case of aping all the other photography apps out there that already exist on other platforms and, after a little dig around the stalls, Pocket-lint has found some real crackers and original ideas on how we should be taking pictures with our mobile phones.
So, if you're into your cameras and your Microsoft software, then here are the very best photography apps for Windows Phone 7.
Photo Stylist - Free (LG only)
Photo Stylist is a Windows Phone 7 app from LG and, if you happen to own an LG Optimus 7 or 7Q, then you can pick it up for free from the LG apps store. Otherwise, you’re not going to be privy to it, which is rather a shame as it’s a pretty good photo filter app. Photo Stylist works entirely in post-production. So, you just take a photo as normal and then open up the application where you’re presented with a bunch of different effects and sliding scales to adjust how heavy you want the filter to be. You can vignette, make pop art, accent, smooth, soft focus, colour tint and just burn to make them look old as well. Once you’re done tinkering, you save and keep forever. Naturally, you can use Photo Sylist in conjunction with the LG Panorama Shot app, which stitches a photo together for you and the added Intelligent Shot settings that LG has embedded into the WP7 camera software.
Apict (Instant Camera) - £0.79
Apict is a good example of a photography app we’ve already seen work well on other mobile platforms. It’s a kitsch-ifier. As part of the title in parentheses suggests, it turns your shots into polaroid-style instantmatic white bordered shots - only digital versions, of course. The app only works in post-production and is fairly limited on what it lets you do. The only options you get are the cropping of your shots, and after it will automatically vignette the corners, filter the colour and stick on the border. It’s early days, so there’s no picture rotate or share button as yet, but expect these features to be ironed out pretty quickly.
Colorize - £0.99
Colorize is a very smart little photo editing app that concentrates on one small facet of post-production - colour. You didn’t guess that, did you? Upload a photo to Colorize and the first thing the app does is suck all of the colour out of it and present you with a black and white version of your shot. All you do then, is start using your finger as some kind of magic colouring in pen. Anywhere you swipe on the screen will automatically get its colour back. To make this easier you can pinch and zoom in and out of the photo at will as well as change the size of the brush. What’s more, there’s also some silent, clever software involved that automatically detects edges in the picture so that you don’t colour in objects you don’t mean too. In other words, it stops it from getting too fiddly. The results are that you can get some rather stylish shots with just one or two subjects picked out in their natural colour. It’s all very French cinema.
PhotoCube 3D - £0.79
There are a lot of image viewer apps waiting to snatch your cash on Windows Phone 7 and, with the viewer that comes with the software being perfectly good in the first place, it does make you wonder why it’s worth bothering. However, if you are insistent on trying something other, then at least go for an app that really makes an effort. PhotoCube 3D organises your shots into a 3D rendered cube with photos on all six sides which you can spin about to your heart's content. It might not be revolutionary, it might serve little function, but it’s a strangely addictive way to pass the time.
Touchnote Postcard - Free
Touchnote is an excellent service for Windows Phone 7 users that allows you to send postcards made out of your phone pictures, and all without having to turn on a printer, pick up a pen or even lick a stamp. All the magic takes place up there in the cloud somewhere. You just choose your snap and how you’d like it cropped, fill in the address, type a message, sign with your finger on the touchscreen and then hit send. The Touchnote pixies will then deliver your picture-based epistle to wherever you like within 5 days or so. Sadly, although the app comes free, the postcards don’t. Each one costs you £1.99. On the plus side, the very fact you download the software gives you two free ones, so well worth checking out.
Pictures Lab - £1.99
Not everyone has an LG and so not everyone can do their photo filtering for nothing. So, if you’ve got to pay for such an app, the smart way to go is with Pictures Lab at just £1.99. In much the same way, you select a photo from your camera roll and then apply one of 21 different effects which include familiar settings like Lomo and Vintage, as well as selecting by print date with typical looks from 1953, 1972 and 1985. Most interestingly, there are three filters named Hipster, Hipstreme and Red Hipster which, funnily enough, give the shots the look of a certain popular iPhone photography app. Whichever you go for, you get a couple of slider bars to play with to make sure your final product is just how you want it. Hit save and then it’s yours forever, just like that.
Picture Frame - Free
Picture Frame is one of the simpler apps you’ll find on Windows Phone 7 and it’s essentially a screensaver. The app’s developer, luvfone, will probably not appreciate the description, but anyone who’s owned a Mac will find the concept of an application that slowly pans across the images on your device before fading into another rather familiar. Although it’s simple, what it does for your phone is a little more profound. From something sitting in your pocket or just flat on your desk you can dock the thing - or at least prop it up - and turn it into a photo frame for all your colleagues to see your lovely family and holiday shots as they drudge past your cubicle. Fortunately, you can select which albums you want to be displayed just in case you think the fetish party shots aren’t “work appropriate”. Can’t imagine why.
Ztitch - £0.79
Panorama shots are usually a pretty standard affair. While many of them will differ in the way you create them - assisted, stitched, sweep or using ghost images - the result is normally varying quality versions of the same things - namely a long, thin, flat picture. So, if you’re bored of all that, then make sure to check out the antidote in the form of Ztitch on Windows Phone. Ztitch gives you a 3D rendered version of a panorama in a style rather reminiscent of Microsoft Photosynth. The idea is that you take the shots first, all from the same spot, and then you can drag and drop them on top of each other in a fairly simple way. The only real limitation of the app is that you have to view your 3D panorama’s by opening the app again, and it’s not the world’s best for that given that there’s a vertical menu in the way. However, given it’s all early days, there’s no reason to believe that it’s not something a few updates can’t sort out.
Flickr Manager - Free
Like the name suggests, this is an app for Flickr users to, well, use Flickr. To call it a manager is probably to do it a bit of a disservice though. Yes, you can manage your Flickr account. You can add comments, shots from your camera roll, view your snaps and delete them too, but you can also browse everyone else’s pictures just as you can on the full version of the website. In fact, there’s not really anything you can do on the big Flickr that you can’t on Flickr Manager. More than all that though, FM is just a really good viewer as well, and the integration into the Windows Phone 7 style is done very nicely. It actually adds a lot more class to what is quite an ageing online template. Well worth having on your handset.
PicLocker - £0.79
This app isn’t for everybody, but if you’re the kind of person who has pictures they might want to hide - we’re not suggesting what they might be or who you might wish to conceal them from - then this 79p piece of software will certainly offer peace of mind - peace of mind with 256-bit military grade encryption as it happens. Beyond the coding, it’s a pretty straight forward app. You create folders that only you can access with a password and import images into them. The idea being that if someone else picks up your handset, they won’t see that one of you completely naked being led around the room with a snooker ball strapped in your mouth. Sorry, we said we wouldn’t suggest stuff, didn’t we?
What are your favourite photography apps for Windows Phone 7? What have we missed? Let us know in the comments.