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Photoshop has become part of the furniture for digital creatives. Nobody talks about manipulating a digital image, they talk about Photoshopping it.
You don’t tend to get that level of ubiquity without being good. Adobe knows what it’s doing in this field, which makes the arrival of the Photoshop Camera app particularly exciting.
Despite the name, though, this isn’t some pro camera tool for your iPhone. It’s aimed at a distinctly casual, Instagram-savvy crowd who want to lift their social media posts to the next level without signing up for a computer science course.
That’s evident from the moment you boot up the app, when the viewfinder defaults to the front-facing selfie camera. And also by the fact that the live filter carousel that lives below the viewfinder is permanently oriented towards portrait use.
On these terms, though, Photoshop Camera is a phenomenally effective piece of software. Yes, it’s essentially another live filter app that does creative things with backgrounds, like Prisma or Apple’s own Clips video editor. But Adobe’s AI smarts are really something.
The way the Blue Skies filter effortlessly and seamlessly replaces the drab grey sky outside your window feels faintly magical. Sure, such effects won’t stand up to close scrutiny on your computer. But they’re immediately convincing in the cold hard glare of an Insta-post.
Just as importantly, the live execution is totally jank-free. You point, select your lens and specific effect within that lens (a simple lateral swipe on the viewfinder), then hit the shutter button. The results are immediate and tend to be precisely as advertised.
Brightening up the sky is just one of many filters available. Photoshop Camera also lets you get creative with filters that turn your shot into a work of art (pop or traditional), surrounding your subject with swirls of color. It’ll also enhance the tone of your food pics, or supply a trippy color-spectrum effect.
The Original lens is essentially a replacement for the stock Camera app, with the AI on auto-correction and lens-recommendation duties. You can also do some light manual editing here for things like Shadow, Exposure, and Saturation. For anything more intensive, there’s a link to the Photoshop Express app.
You can access more filters from an online Lens Library, which also curates and surfaces collaborations with photographers and artists. Some of these will give you a measure of extra control over regular shots, such as the Studio Light lens, or supply some classic filters for changing the tone of your snaps.
All are free to download, and fresh examples are promised weekly. The adjacent Manage Lenses tab lets you shuffle the order of the effects in your growing library, as well as delete them.
Photoshop Camera might not be a particularly fresh idea. but this is undoubtedly one of the most potent and seamless Live Photo filter apps we’ve ever used. And thanks to the Photoshop name, it’s all provided free of charge with no IAP in sight.
- Extremely intuitive
- AI very effective and reliable
- Wide range of free lenses
- A little late to the AI camera party
- Photoshop branding a little misleading