I love playing around with my photos to give it that dreamy, vintage-y, washed-out look produced by plastic toy cameras and Polaroids. I don’t own an iPhone (I’m much too in love with my Blackberry) so I can’t Instagram my phone pics. (The only thing I like about iPhone is Instagram). I drool over the Instagram photos that my iPhone-toting friends would post on their Facebook walls. I can’t get enough of the delicious vintage-ness.
Having no access to Instagram (I never figured out how to get the app into my Blackberry) I turned to downloading free Photoshop actions that promise to give a retro or vintage treatment to photos. But I soon found that to be a taxing affair – I was never satisfied with the final result, plus opening Photoshop – which takes ages to open – and running actions take too much time for me. My lazy butt wants something as easy as 1,2,3.
So imagine my delight when I learned about free, online photo editing programs PicMonkey and Pixlr-o-Matic, and offline, but not so free CameraBag and ToyCamera Analogcolor. All four softwares offer the ability to turn digital photos into works of vintage or retro goodness. I’ve tried all three for several weeks, taking turns giving my photos a spin on each one of them, but eventually settled one one that I now use regularly- Pentacom’s ToyCamera Analogcolor.
Both PicMonkey and Pixlr are fine, no doubt about it, especially since they’re free. I love that you can create collages with PicMonkey. Although it automatically re-sizes the photos when you drag them into the collage boxes, you still have the option to re-size the photos inside that box. Plus you can also control and re-arrange the collage layout. That’s so neat!
Of the four, I found that ToyCamera produces the most analog-like pictures. Plus you can tweak the settings for lens, light leaks, textures, grain, etc. You can do the same with CameraBag, too. Actually, CameraBag offers more customization for frames and borders. But that analog feel that I love the most about pictures from plastic toy cameras can only be replicated by ToyCamera. That’s the reason I caved in and shelled out $12 for ToyCamera (The free trial leaves a logo watermark on all photos).
Here’s a before-and-after collage of photos I treated with ToyCamera (Before on the left and After on the right):
More photos churned out by ToyCamera:
It’s easy to use as well (in fact, all four applications are easy to use). Just drag and drop the photo, click on the presets, or tweak the bar settings, and voila! For the love of retro, vintage, and analog!