Elegant Photo Editing with CameraBag 2

With apps like Instagram and services like Facebook, it seems everyone now is taking pictures and submitting them out to the world via the Internet. Taking pictures is just one part of the equation though. Those who want a perfect picture know that editing typically follows the capture. Manipulating light and color temperatures can really enhance the artistic quality of your photographs. To a small degree, Instagram began making regular people think about enhancing their photos with filters, but it needs to go farther than that. There are many very expensive tools to edit photos and some that are not even worth your time.

What is needed is an app with the perfect balance of features, price, ease of use and performance. CameraBag 2 may just be the perfect app to fit the bill. Follow along as we take a journey through the mystical lands of photo editing with CameraBag 2 and compare it with iPhoto to see if it has what it takes to earn a coveted spot in your collection!

Getting Started

CameraBag 2

CameraBag 2

Getting started with CameraBag is not complicated. To purchase CameraBag 2, you can visit the Mac App Store or visit www.nevercenter.com/. If you would like to try the app first for thirty days with no commitment, you must visit their website.

Once you have CameraBag, the process to get a photo in to start editing is simple; all you have to do is drag and drop your image onto the blank area and it will load. Now that the photograph is in, we can start working on our masterpiece!

Features

To be useful, an app must have the right combination of features to the other components, and CameraBag 2 certainly delivers on features! It comes with dozens and dozens of filters and built in styles, which we will cover shortly. Along with the prebuilt filters and styles, you also have manual control over image adjustments.

To start, you have your basic crop, exposure, contrast, and saturation tools. Along with those standard options, you get some tools not normally included in apps this price. For instance, curve controls for RGB and luminance, controls for shadows and highlights, and in depth color adjustment tools. All of these are here to help you make the most of your photographs.

As icing on the cake, you get various borders thrown in to complement the extensive set of tools. Have a look you like? No problem, you can save it to your favorites and it will always be just a click away. When it comes to features, CameraBag is stacked and there really is not much more that you could ask for from an app like this.

Adjustment Tools

Adjustment Tools

Interface & Design

Unlike programs like Photoshop, CameraBag 2 takes a minimalistic and clean approach to its design. It creates a soothing gray palette along with the now infamous Apple fabric or cloth background. The design is one that fits with the latest wave of iOS and Mac applications using the same styling ideas.

If there is one negative to the design it would be the color. The palette of gray is overdone and I would have liked a little more color or an option to change to a clean white interface along with this dark gray UI. Instead of many different boxes and tool trays, CameraBag uses a unique interface that allows the tools to be hidden from view and makes the photo the main attraction.

Main Interface

Main Interface

Running along the bottom is a tray where all of your active filters, presets, and adjustments sit. If you do not like a certain filter or adjustment, simply use the handy “X” to delete it from the image. CameraBag 2 does not destroy the original image, it stays in tact.

Effects Tray

Effects Tray

Filters & Editing

Let’s talk about the filters in CameraBag 2 and actually edit a photo to show you the before and after. CameraBag has its version of filters, which are called “styles.” These styles put together a certain look and add it to your photo. Once you have selected a style, you can alter the amount of the effect or remix it.

You can also stack the styles and mix and match to find your perfect look. Once you are done with the styles, shimmy your way on over the the adjust tab. Here you can fine tune the look of many different options and tailor make the effect.

Editing

Editing

Editing and coming up with a specific look was simple and easy. Since I am not destroying the original image, I can just go nuts without fear of losing anything. At any point, if I do not like the look, I simply remove the unwanted effect. Below are the results of my work. Remember, these were quick photos I took with a regular point and shoot camera around my neighborhood in the Financial District of New York City. Take a look, I love the old world charm it has. I have applied 11 different styles and adjustments.

George Washington NYC Original

George Washington NYC Original

George Washington NYC

George Washington NYC

CameraBag 2 v. iPhoto

Everyone who has purchased a Mac in recent years has iPhoto, it comes bundled as a standard along with iLife. So many may be tempted to think of this as a replacement. The short answer is if I had to choose between the two products, I would choose CameraBag 2. Of course that answer is only taking photo editing into consideration. iPhoto is more than photo editing as it is also a hub for all of your pictures. For the sake of this comparison, I will only be comparing the editing capabilities.

iPhoto is good with straight forward operations such as cropping, red eye removal, and small color changes. When it comes to further processing, it really cannot hold a candle to CameraBag 2. CameraBag 2 has a wealth of filters and in depth adjustments that give ultimate control over your image’s look. That is over the other basic features the two share in common.

The best way to look at CameraBag vs. iPhoto is to think of the two as complementary products rather than substitutes. Use iPhoto for storing and organizing your images, then take them into CameraBag 2 to process and edit them. This way you get the best of both worlds and you do not have to compromise. So the winner of this battle is a tie, they both win in their own areas.

Conclusion

CameraBag 2 is a show stopper. At only $23.99, it’s a worth while addition to your app library. CameraBag 2 performs like a champ and uses little of your computers resources. With its wealth of filters, it allows you ultimate control over the art side of your photographs.

Along with the filters you get amazing manual control with 25 different tools. The layering of the effects allows you to easily remove unwanted results without destroying the photo. One of the big cons for me is the design. The gray color scheme may work for some but for me, I would like a lighter, more diverse design that is easier on the eyes. Other than the minor design quirks, CameraBag 2 is a solid app that brings the maximum bang for the buck.


Summary

CameraBag 2 is a desktop photo app with a whole new approach to photos.

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  • Sigilist

    Hmmm… I’m pretty much a Photoshop fanatic and don’t care for iPhoto, but for the wouldbe photographers in the family, this seems like it would work well. Good enough for those who don’t / can’t handle complex photo programs… with our without iPhoto… and still desperately want to tweak a shot.

    • Sigilist

      Oh, and you’re wrong about the gray from a photogapher’s perspective. It is exactly suitable so that in studying the image the interface minimizes ambient visual influence upon judging the effects applied. Minimized gui design fits that as well. The interface is exactly as it should be for its visuals.

      • http://www.twitter.com/jooak Josiah Oakley

        I can see where you are coming from with the gray. For me, I would like a choice. There are quite a few programs that offer the dark and light options for the interface. I just want an option. I love this program for simple to mid range editing without getting to complex.

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