Taking photos is what we all periodically use our iPhones and even iPads for. To make them more expressive or to add some special effects we can rely on built-in apps or generic purpose services, but specialized ones do it better. Photo Lab is of that sort. It combines an image processor and a social network you can upload your photos to and share them with other users. The network doesn’t require creating a separate account, relying instead on Facebook and Instagram engines.
First of all, the app asks about your gender and age. Not that features you get depend on this; the developers rather fetch stats to define further development. Maybe it also affects the content it shows to you; the reviewer, being a man, was shown pictures of pretty girls and women. Maybe a girl would have seen a different feed.
To apply an effect or a combo to your photo, use Combo Constructor. Then select the context you want your picture inserted to. It can be a magazine cover, a mirror in a luxurious room, a famous picture, or just replaced background. The app has even more in store: you can create GIF animations out of your pictures, making your selfie shake your head, adding flying hearts, snow or petals around, to some jolly music. I tried these effects on a photo I took while smoking a hookah in a bar. The effects even made the smoke seem moving (and no, it was no Live Photo my iPhone can do).
The effects also include drawing stylization, combination effects, animal merging, magazine covers, flags of various countries, psychedelic fantasy filters, monsters, simple and advanced frames, and Instagram-like filters (though not so dull and sickening as those). We’d recommend paying more attention to Emotion Swap: the app draws anger or joy, courage or laughing, dullness or relaxed smile, and your face remains almost undistorted.
There are also combos that require three or more pictures. The collages are made of several photos, and you better select those very similar to each other, but don’t be surprised if what you see makes you feel uncomfortable due to uncanny valley effect.
As you select the effect you want, it will take several seconds, and you’ll be shown an ad until the photo is processed. Then you see the result you can share or save in your gallery, to share them whenever you want to.
As for purchases, there is a Premium subscription that unlocks the full potential with features like 100+ effects, regular updates, and finally no ads and no watermarks on pictures. The subscription is $4.99/mo or $9.99/yr, and it doesn’t seem that much for those running popular blogs or public pages.
It’s a great app for applying filters, backgrounds, living 3D effects, and other lightminded stuff, if you’re up for this. It lacks manual processing, but it can be fixed by using a more traditional editor along with this one. So Photo Lab is irreplaceable when you need to build a fairy celebration upon your own picture.
- Preinstalled numerous effects;
- Good processing quality;
- Social features;
- Fast processing.
- Most advanced features are only unlocked with a subscription;
- The app lacks manual adjustments.