iPhone photo filterYou know a regular picture just isn’t enough when there are so many iPhone photo filter apps that are readily available. Yes, you could share the unedited photos that you take with your Apple iPhone, but there’s just something about adding a little extra by way of unique filters and effects.

The good news is that you don’t need to be a professional photographer or have a deep understanding of photo editing to make use of these apps. They’re meant to be simple and straightforward, just like the apps you already use to organize your life. While this list is geared toward the iPhone, most of them also work on the Apple iPad. Get out there and start exercising your creative prowess.

Instagram

We have to start off this list with the elephant in the room. Instagram is not only a photo filter app for the iPhone (and Android), it’s also its own social network. Your friends can “like” and comment on your squared-off and filtered photos, and you can share them on Facebook and Twitter. There are over a dozen filters, plus tilt-shift and auto-contrast functions.

Download: iTunes App Store (Free)

Camera Awesome

Camera Awesome (iPhone photo filter app)

Camera Awesome for iPhone

Sure, you could have regular pictures, but wouldn’t it be better if you had photos that were awesome instead? This iPhone app provides a series of utilities for adjusting your exposure and perfecting your composition, like showing guidelines for the rule of thirds and the golden rule. Of course, there are several photo filters and effects that you can use too.

Download: iTunes App Store (Free)

Hipstamatic Photo Filter App

Meant to bring back the “fun of plastic toy cameras of the past,” Hipstamatic comes loaded with a number of filters that mimic the look of old school lenses and film. Among the list are the Kaimal Mark II lens, Ina’s 1969 film, Kodot Verichrome film and Dreampop flash. There are additional HipstaPaks for more faux lenses and effects available for purchase and they cost 99 cents each.

Download: iTunes App Store ($1.99)

Facebook Camera

It was right around the time that Facebook acquired Instagram that it released the Facebook Camera app of its own. There’s no denying that there was a lot of “inspiration” there, utilizing similar photo filter and cropping functions. The plus here is that it’s easier to share your creations on Facebook, as well as tag your friends and add captions.

Download: iTunes App Store (Free)

Camera+

The regular iPhone camera is just a camera, but as its name implies, Camera+ gives it a little more. You get touch exposure, touch focus, 6x digital zoom, and cropping. You can also apply dozens of effects, which are like photo filters, that were developed in partnership with professional photography Lisa Bettany. Finish off the creative process with one of the available borders and your digital masterpiece is complete.

Download: iTunes App Store ($0.99)

Retro Camera Plus

Retro Camera Plus app for iPhone

Apply Photo Filters with Retro Camera Plus

Creating retro-themed photos is only part of the picture. With this app, you actually get five different interfaces for the five different virtual cameras, plus five sets of vintage vignetting. The nostalgic looks of the filters are inspired by Lomo, Holga, Polaroid, Diana and toy cameras.

Download: iTunes App Store (Free)

PhotoCurvesFree

If you don’t want pre-conceived filters and you want a little more flexibility, this app is actually quite intriguing. You open up a pic, bend the RGB tonal curves, and completely alter the way the colors are treated. You can even stack the curves and effects!

Download: iTunes App Store (Free)

InstaCRT

What’s fascinating about this app is that you’re not applying a photo filter at all. Instead, you upload a photo from your iPhone, a machine in Stockholm receives the image and projects it onto a CRT screen, a real SLR takes a photo of the screen, and that image is sent to you. It’s a real photo of a real CRT that you can then easily share through Instagram or other social networks.

Download: iTunes App Store ($1.99)

Image credit: geeky-gadgets.com

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