Being the Apple Fan Boy that I am, I was really looking forward to iPhoto in iOS. Apple did a pretty decent job with it and has added some unique features that I think are really cool, but at the end of the day, Snapseed still reigns supreme. I thought I’d share some experiements.

Here’s the original image taken from my iPhone 4s just for comparison sake:

1st test | Duotones

Duotones are a little easier to do in iPhoto (left image) since they pre-package it as one of the image enhancement options. It’s hard to tell, but I also sharpened the face and tie, just to bring a little extra emphasis in those areas. The ability to isolate certain areas for editing is a great feature in iPhoto. Snapseed (right image) adds Tilt-shift, vignette and grain capabilities which helps reinforce the vintage camera look. It’s a bit difficult to get match the colors exactly right between two images when you’re working on a device that can only show one app at a time (I used my iPad 2 since it’s a larger screen than the iPhone), but this gives a general idea of the differences:

2nd test | Sepia

Again, iPhoto (first image) deals with presets and is relatively easy to pull off. The B&W effect also has a vignetting option which helps, whereas Duotone does not. One nice feature is that it’s able to retain the settings from the previous edit, but it appears you can only add one “effect” with each edit. Unfortunately, you can see that the highlights are a bit blown out which makes the face not look so good. iPhoto gives you the ability to adjust the B&W filter pretty easily, but you can’t isolate areas like you can with some of the other filters, so I wasn’t able to hold the exposure in one area and not another. You can do it by going back to the exposure setting, but it’s a little cumbersome since it removes the sepia effect until you re-apply it so it’s difficult to see exactly how your edit will affect the final image. The Snapseed version (second image) has much more control so I was able to make sure the most important part of the image (the face) was well preserved. In some cases, I prefer crisper images, so I also tried another version in Snapseed (third image) where I didn’t do any of the Tilt-shift or grain effects, just for comparison. The downside here is, in Snapseed, vignetting is usually a part of another effect, so if you want to keep it relatively clean, there isn’t a real easy option to add just a vignette.

Since I’ve been using Snapseed for awhile now, I’m pretty fast with it. Factoring out the learning curve for iPhoto, it still seems like the amount of time needed to edit the images was a lot longer and a little less intuitive. This is where Snapseed really shines. It’s such a quick, simple app that editing is not a chore. One negative though, is that it’s pretty much a linear process, whereas in iPhoto, it seems you can go back and adjust previous edits fairly easily. Love that feature.

Just for fun, I tried another version in Snapseed without taking all of the color out of it. I’m a sucker for desaturated images.

In conclusion, both apps are quite good. Way better than the multitude of iOS photo apps out there. I’ve tried a ton of them and while some have interesting aspects and decent filters, I always find that I come back to Snapseed. If I didn’t have Snapseed, iPhoto probably would take it’s place.