Afterlight – Vintage Just Got Awesome.

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Opening this app is going to transport you back to the days when you owned a polaroid. Except I didn’t own a polaroid, ever, but it still had that effect. Believe it or not, I was actually attracted to the app icon alone to begin with, because for me that’s an important design aesthetic – if an icon is ugly, I generally don’t download the app. Thankfully, the design of the app is as beautiful as the icon.

The appearance is very understated, but the features are not. The first page is a self explanatory starting point, offering you the option to take a new picture or select one from your library. If you were to open the camera and take a photo within the app, the interface is not dissimilar to that of Camera+, in fact I may not be mistaken in thinking some of the graphics and fonts used are the same. Anyway, you are given the options of flash, front-facing camera compatibility and also a timer (which will go as high as 10 seconds, so say goodbye to those embarrassing “almost there” group shots) – you also have a grid option for those who just can’t seem to line their photos up right. Once your photo is taken, you move on to the editing screen and this is where the magic happens.

If at any point, you get too excited and over-edit your picture, you can undo or revert your picture at any time. But that’s not what we want to focus on so let’s jump in to what kind of editing options you’re offered with this app. Of course, you have your basics. You can expect to be able to crop, rotate, straighten, alter the brightness/contrast/saturation and add frames to your images. However, as an on-the-fly editor, this app does give you more bang for your buck and makes the 69p worth spending. You can also edit the highlights and shadows, even adding a certain colour tone to each, if they don’t look right or if the highlight is too extreme. You can also mess with the temperature, add grain and change the sharpness of the image (these options are great if you want to make your photography look even more vintage). Alternatively, hit the magic wand and it’ll do it all for you. After all, when you don’t have the time and you want to make a photo Facebook-worthy, why bother doing it yourself?

This image shows the home screen of the app, the editing pane and the following options for sharing your creation.

This image shows the home screen of the app, the editing pane and the following options for sharing your creation.

The filters in the app are beautiful. And, you can choose between guest-created filters or the developers’ original filters. What I couldn’t find, but would love to see, is the ability to submit your own defaults for filters. I think there is fantastic opportunity here for this app to almost become a public-enhanced digital suite where the developer approves user submissions and includes them in future updates. How likely this would be to be implemented is up for discussion… Nonetheless, you can be sure to find a filter in the sets that will suit almost any capture you take – the names even give an indication of when they may be more appropriate; for example “glacier” would be best for scenes that appear cooler (in colour, not great-ness).

Possibly one of the main ways in which this app tramples over other editors, is the amount of sharing options it offers you straight out of the imaginary box. You can see in the image above the comprehensive list of exportable places – it’s nice that they put camera roll right at the top, though, because I don’t use social networking sites and so it is appreciated that the standard way of saving is not gone with the dinosaurs, yet.

Now, “Postcard” is a very interesting option, that I haven’t been able to test out properly. Using a service named “Sincerely”, this app allows you to create a postcard of a size you choose, out of your image. Then, you are able to send it to your desired location at a charge. I was so impressed by the user interface of this section that I really want to give it a go, it is extremely promising and if you get chance to try it out, comment below to let me know how you get on.

Just as a side note, one thing that unfortunately doesn’t work in this app, is the t-shirt icon on the home screen. The app prompts you for a service that Afterlight offers – customised t-shirts. However, when you open it in Safari, this store apparently “no longer exists”.

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About Author

19. South Devon, England. Going on to study a diploma in Systems Support! Avid Technology fan.

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