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The world of imaging apps for smartphones and tablets continues to expand and now,dare we say, even astound. It appears there is no limit to what you can do with your images through the thousands of photo apps that now populate the apps-sphere.

The really good news here is these apps are essentially helping to keep snap-shooters even more engaged with mobile imaging. Here are five super cool photo apps that we’ve eyed recently that will help take your smartphone shots to new heights.

Hands-Free Panoramas

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The new Cycloramic app allows you to take hands-free panoramic images simply by placing your smartphone on a flat, smooth surface and activating the app. The app uses vibrations from your smartphone to rotate the device and capture a panoramic video or photo. Popping your phone down on a table, for instance, will produce a quick panorama of everyone sitting there in seconds.

You’ll see when you go to download the app that results vary depending on the surface your smartphone is placed on and the app’s developers suggest smooth surfaces such as glass, marble and the like for best results. If it’s 360-degree madness you seek, check out the app for iOS & Android – $1.99

Stills From Movies

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Seattle-based Vhoto recently announced an app for the iPhone and iPad that will automatically capture any still of your choosing from the video footage you shoot. Using a technology dubbed “Computer Vision,” commonly used in military equipment and robots to analyze and understand images by scanning them for data, the app automatically scans the video footage and picks the best still frames.

As the company’s CEO, Noah Heller, explains Vhoto uses the power that is already inherent in video to capture that perfect still that lies within it’s many frames. The technology actually combines “Computer Vision” with what Heller calls machine learning, a tool that allows the application to understand user preferences by evaluating over 20 different dimensions within the images including blur, contrast, action/movement, faces, smiles, novelty and, perhaps most importantly, user intent to automatically pick the best still from your video clips. Very slick and slicker still….it’s free.

Face Dances

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This one plays to your vanity as Facetune brings a very professional level and fairly robust facial photo-fixing program to mobile shooters. Just name the change you’d like to make to a headshot and this app can do it – images can be mirror-flipped, smiles widened, skin smoothed, teeth whitened, circles around eyes removed, brow and jaw lines refines…you name it.

You can even go in the other direction and create some crazy looking alien and other horrifying faces and then, of course, instantly share your creations via your various social media channels or through email directly from the app. Fun stuff, particularly if you find yourself taking lots of portrait shots. Lightricks Ltd. – $2.99 – iOS & Android.


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Okay, so two million effects might be a bit much but Pixlr-o-matic is a cool, fun and free app that you’ll never get bored using. You’ll also never actually get to all the overlay and border combinations (including shades, tones and hues, neon, sparkle and light-leak effects) but the fact you can apply them in just three steps might just make you want to try. And if you find yourself a bit overwhelmed by the notion of that many effects, the app’s swipe-activated “randomizer” will auto select an effect/overlay/border combination for you.

All the usual social media sharing functions are included and the app is multi-platform with versions available for Windows and Mac OS X.


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Seeing as we’re all shooting more video than we ever thought we’d have the time for, Hyperlapse from Instagram is an app that works in tandem with the Facebook-owned photo-sharing app and allows you to shoot time-lapsed videos.

The app makes this process easier than ever and it also works as a video stabilizer, so the results are very polished looking. Hyperlapse is currently only available for iOS, is designed for both iPhone and iPad, and it’s free.

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