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What's Your Brand of PhotoMagic


If you're in love with the idea of taking and editing photos right from your phone, but could care less about the social media aspect of the experience, then PhotoMagic may just be your app. (Don't worry, it still allows you to save and email your creations.)

The app is simple, easy to use and offers a few very basic editing features, plus a slew of elementary filters and frames. Click through to determine for yourself why PhotoMagic might - or might not - fit your brand of photo magic.

Basic Editing

PhotoMagic presents you with the option to take a photo from in the app, or choose one from your library. Once you have a photo you want to use, you've got a lot of possibilities for customization.

First, there's a set of basic editing tools, which you can access by tapping the icon located top and center on the PhotoMagic screen. These include options for (from left to right) cropping the photo, flipping the photo left/right, flipping the photo top/bottom and rotating the photo 90 degrees.

Filters and More

There are nearly four dozen different filters you can apply to your photo, covering variances in brightness, black and white, warm colors and cold colors, and tinted hues (red, violet, green, blue, brown, etc.). There are also filters for making your photo look like a negative, a pencil sketch, an oil painting and a shaded image.

On top of those you can add lighting effects, as well as choose from a number of different frames. There's also a fun "dice" button, which randomizes the selections for some added fun and entertainment. As you scroll through the filters, you'll see each one as a preview of what your image would look like with the filter applied; this is not the case, however, for the lighting effects or the frames.

Note that at any point you can tap the image to toggle to the original photo; remove your finger and you'll once again see the photo with your selections. This is just a fun way to compare the two versions of the photo to each other.


After you work hard to make your photo look just the way you want it to, tap the send button in the top righthand corner of your screen. You're now presented with some options for actions - Save to Album; E-mail; and Open in ... - as well as for dimensions: Small, Mid and Large. The exact dimensions will be listed for you, although these will vary from photo to photo depending on the original image, your cropping and other factors.

If you choose to open your image elsewhere, PhotoMagic will detect other apps on your iPhone that can open the photo (Dropbox, etc.).


On the home screen (the same place where you'll find the Take Photo and Load Photo options), you'll find a few additional features.

If you were working on editing a photo, but you didn't save it before exiting the app, on PhotoMagic's startup screen there's a Last Photo button. Tapping it will load the last (and only the last) photo you were working on, complete with your edits.

In the top left of the screen there's an envelope icon which lets the user email support; and in the top right there's a star icon which enables the user to rate the app. And finally, tapping More in the bottom righthand corner will recall a list of the developers' other apps for you to peruse.

Final Thoughts

PhotoMagic offers a lot of options in the form of tinted filters and frames for your photos, and the menus are well placed and easy to navigate. If PhotoMagic set out to be a straightforward, no-nonsense photo filter app, then I'd say it easily accomplishes that goal.

But if you're a user looking for more control over basic editing, such as lightness, darkness, contrast, etc., or a fun factor that involves more novelty filters, this app may not be your favorite option. While there are plenty of filters, they have names like Grain 1 and Grain 2 - not very imaginative and lacking a certain element of playfulness. But then again, Grain 1 and Grain 2 might be exactly what some other users want. It's really just a matter of personal preference.

Speaking of personal preference, I would have liked to have seen some options for pushing images to Twitter or Facebook. The process of taking a photo, editing a photo and sharing a photo via social media, all with one's iPhone, has become so prevalent in today's society that I find it hard to believe a photo editing/sharing app wouldn't provide a way to achieve that last step, but then maybe PhotoMagic was determined to be a kind of anti-Instagram right from the start. What do you think?

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