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Five great photo sharing apps for your iPhone

Photo sharing apps for iPhone
Ever since the introduction of cameras to mobile phones people have been snapping photos of just about everything on their daily travels. The dawn of the smartphone brought the ability to share things to a wider audience than MMS could reach, and when the smartphone collided with decent-enough camera modules, the social photo sharing craze kicked off.

The iPhone hasn't escaped the deluge of photo sharing apps -- in fact you could say that the hotbed of social photo sharing has focused somewhat around Apple's idea of the perfect phone, with more and more apps and services cropping up each day. So it's about time we had a little round up of the best photo sharing apps and services available for the iPhone, to cut through the tripe and show you the goods.


InstagramInstagram probably has the most hype revolving around it (even we've covered it a few times), which is surprising considering it's an iPhone-only photo sharing service that doesn't really even have a desktop Web component. Is the hype justified though? Well, Instagram takes the best of the original iPhone photo modification apps like Hipstamatic, and blends it in with a very Twitter-like follower system. You post your best 'artistic' photos, aided by 14 photo-effect filters, for others to view, comment on, like and share. You can spread the photo love out to the more traditional social networks including Facebook and Twitter, too, by means of a simple link to the photo on the Instagram website.

The app and service are free, and if all you're interested in is taking photos, applying some pretty decent filters, and sharing them with your friends who all have iPhones, then Instagram is a great choice.

Instagram [iTunes] - Free


PicPlzIf you can get over the rubbish name, then PicPlz offers something Instagram can't -- cross-platform photo sharing. Currently supporting both the iPhone and Android, plus actually having a desktop Web experience, PicPlz works along the same lines as Instagram. You can snap photos, apply one of the seven included filters and share your photos with friends. Friends without an iPhone or Android device can view your photos on your profile, or you can connect the app with the more traditional social networks, including Facebook and Twitter, to post photos outside of the PicPlz-network.

PicPlz is free, has promise, and some momentum behind it, but most of its photo filters aren't a scratch on Instagram's or other photo modification apps. It's great, however, if you want to share some photos with Android wielding friends, and want that in-app social photo sharing experience.

PicPlz [iTunes] - Free


BurstnBurstn is one of the newer photo sharing services on the scene. It's another iPhone-only photo sharing service, but it tops out the list for total number of photo enhancing filters with a hefty 26. It even includes a tilt-shift effect, going beyond the mere coloration filters the other apps have.

The rest of the app functions much the same as the others -- snap a photo, apply a filter in the 'Dark Room,' upload it and share it. Like the other two you can post the photo to traditional social networks, Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook, but also to your photo stream. You can control who you share with, using lists for friends, family, or everyone on a photo-by-photo basis, which is handy if you have some more private shots you only want to share with a select few.

It's free and has the most filters, with a quality somewhere in between PicPlz and Instagram; but it's not as popular as the other two and doesn't have a cross-platform edge to it.

Burstn [iTunes] - Free


PathThe hype machine was in overdrive when Path first launched, and just recently it turned down a $100 million Google buyout, but the anti-social photo sharing app has some different features that might entice you away from other options. For starters, Path is all about sharing things with only your closest friends. Unlike the other applications we've showcased, Path limits you to 50 friends, and is geared up for far fewer than that. The app wants you to share more intimate, more private things, safe in the knowledge that only your closest friends will see them.

The app itself is fairly simple, take a photo, tag people, places and things in it, and upload it to your stream. People can then comment on your 'moments,' while you can view others photo streams in a traditional news feed, or on a map of geo-tagged locations.

Path is currently only available on iOS, but there is a Web experience that you can view from the desktop. Like the other photo sharing services it'll also cost you nothing. It doesn't have any photo modification features, but if you're looking for a more private photo sharing solution, perhaps Path is it, even if it does seem a little counter intuitive at first glance.

Path [iTunes] - Free


FlickrFlickr, the original photo sharing site; surely it isn't to be out-done by these young upstarts?! Although, most of the other apps will let you upload to Flickr when posting photos, why not skip out the middleman and upload your photos straight to Flickr?

The Flickr iPhone app does just that. It'll let you snap and upload photos in their original or a reduced size, as you go traipsing about your daily business. You can also view your stream of Flickr photos, recent activity, or browse through the streams of others. When you first fire up the app, you're treated to a sample of exquisite and popular photos presented to you with a good dollop of Ken Burns. Drilling down you can search for photos from all uploads, your Flickr contacts, or your own photo stream, something the other apps don't offer. Once you've seen a photo you like you can comment on it, star it for later, save the image to your Camera Roll, or email the photo right from within the app.

OK, the app doesn't operate like the other mobile-only photo sharing apps, but Flickr allows you share, view, comment and save photos from your iPhone and still be integrated with the rest of the Flickr universe. It'd be nice to have a few photo filters built-in, but if you're a Flickr user, then you should seriously consider going with your existing service rather than another one.

Flickr [iTunes] - Free

The also-rans

This photo sharing malarkey isn't limited to dedicated photo sharing services. It's worth mentioning that you don't need another photo app to share your iPhone snaps; Facebook and Twitter make for excellent photo sharing services, and if you happen to have an account, that's all you need.

The Facebook app itself is pretty good at sharing photos. Snap a pic, or pick one from your library, hit upload, add a caption and hey presto it's added to your Facebook stream and photo album. It hasn't got any filters, or fancy effects, but your friends can comment on and like your photos, and you don't even have to persuade anyone to start using a new service.

Uploading photos to Twitter is even simpler. Most Twitter iPhone clients will allow you to snap and upload your photos, posting them in your Twitter stream for everyone to view. Unlike most of the others however, Twitter is a much more transitory sharing service, and although you can go back and find your old tweets and photos, it's more of a post it and forget it kind of service.

So there we have it, five photo sharing applications for your iPhone, and two alternatives just because. Whichever you choose, or don't, it's clear that photo sharing is the new craze, and many, many people seem to love it. Whether the new startups like Instagram will survive and thrive as long as Flickr has, who knows. But if you're handy with your iPhone camera and fancy playing around with some effects, you can't go far wrong with any of the above.

Tags: apps, burstn, cellphones, features, flickr, instagram, iOS, iPhone, lists, path, photo sharing, photography, PhotoSharing, picplz, social networking, SocialNetworking