Fx Photo Studio in Review – 181 dimensions of iPhoneography

If you brave the world of photography (or merely want to) armed with the all the bravado of a point-and-click iPhone, FX Photo Studio (FXPS) is for you. If you happen to run into the wind, with a 2000$ tripod strapped to your back with an iPhone in your front pocket, FX Photo Studio is still for you. Unlike some photo apps, FXPS’s is friendly, but despite is simplicity, offers a lot to even the seasonedest of photographers.

FX Photo Studio’s fulcrum is its array of artistic presets. Currently, you can choose from 181 presets in 17 categories. That number may grow, I have no idea. What is certain is how simple each is to manipulate. You can take a photo from the app or load photos from your iPhoto library and then apply the various filter presets to transform your photos into something like you see below.

These filters can be stacked one on top of another for added artsy-ness, or custom tweaked, for personality. The settings range from independent gamma, to contrast and brightness, to colour, and more – pretty much all the app-generated presets you use in Lightroom and Aperture. Of course, FX Photo Studio only plays catch-all; you won’t really be able to do any of the touch-up work that you can do in either of the big apps. What you can do (and what I think trumps even LR and Aperture) is crop the hell out of any photo. FXPS’s panning, twirling, pinching, cropping engine is a delight that should a beacon to other photo apps to Xerox.

But the main point is that anyone can take FX Photo Studio and make photos look great, or as I did above, forge pixel hell. Apart from colour filters, there are vignettes, frames, amazing textures, and lots more to play with. Textures, especially, are welcome; not many photo apps allow the inner artist to work, and to the creative, textures are like an instant easel. (Not to mention, iPhone users are working with a maximum of 5 megapixels, so every bit of ‘cool’ is important.) Kudos, MacPhun. To be honest, 181 presets sounds like a mountain to dig through, but that sandbox value is one of the points that really puts FX Photo Studio on top of the cost/performance map.

It also should awe you, at least a little. There is just SO much to play with in FX Photo Studio. It really is a bargain.

Recently, I was at CES and NAMM, and while I’d like to take my iPod touch and its AMAZING (not) camera out to Kyoto or Jeju island, I had to suffice myself with the nearlyl-as-cool Westone booth. The Coloradoans had some nice music playing, and loads of expensive goodies on display. So, while my subject may pander to portable audiophiles, the general feeling should tickle a few artistic iPhoneographers out there.

While ease of use and instant action are nice, I’ve found a few things I wish that FXPS had. One is bare photo retouching. Even with the low quality ipod touch camera, having the option to retouch a pimpled cheek, or grey-out red eyes would be great. I know that FX Photo Studio is a filter and texture app, but the Studio portion of the name is the part that irks me.

More pertinent, however, are layers, especially in preserving photo frames. FXPS allows great freedom with frame size and border style to spruce up your images. But if you apply additional filters to the photo after creating a frame, those filterseat up the frame. Considering that FX Photo Studio has loads of media upload options under the bonnet, and as such, should cater to people who want to quickly upload cool-looking photos (frames included), I would have expected some sort of layer preservation.

Where'd my frame go?

I don’t have a lot to complain about. PhotoStudio FX is well designed and easy to use. There are loads of things to do, and when you’ve found that perfect photo from mountain of presets, you can publish to loads of different social networks. Kudos. And thankfully, you can turn off the turkey trivia engine that pops up whilst processing. While, I’ve not even scratched the surface in this review, I can say without a doubt that FX Photo Studio is best-of-breed among a mountain of low-cost photo apps out there.

App Summary
Title: FX Photo Studio Developer: MacPhun LLC
Reviewed Ver: 3.1.0 Min OS Req:
Price: $1.99 App Size: 19.73MB
  • Amazing array of textures, filters, colours, presets
  • Easy to use
  • Good looking
  • Too much good stuff to do
  • Pricing is too good to be true
  • Where are my layers?


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