A few years ago I purchased my first ever iPhone phone editing app, and it happened to be the original CameraBag. At the time it felt completely revolutionary and simple to select an image from my photo library, run it through the app and end up with a completely edited image; to me it was simply amazing! This was the dawn of the iPhone camera apps, and the concept was different than what I (let's face it, all of us) was used to. Over the years, phone camera apps have come a very long way, and they seem to be getting better with each passing release.
Nevercenter, the creators of CameraBag, have created another revolution for photo editing, but this time for processing images on your computer. CameraBag 2 is an endlessly customizable, simple, cost-effective way to process images outside of the usual editing environment (for me – Photoshop CS3). I liked the program enough to envision using CameraBag 2 time after time to create fun processes with all my unedited point-and-shoot images, and even occasionally for use in customizing personal images taken with my DSLR.
Enough raving about CameraBag 2, the real question is, "What can it do?" Short answer? A lot! It can do a lot!
We all have them (you know you do, too): Those images in which the white balance is less than perfect. What many photographers do is mask that unbalanced color with another color via a “vintage” process. I admit that’s tempting, but I like to work with a more balanced image before doing crazy processing techniques to it. CameraBag 2 has the ability to color correct any image right inside the app itself. Take for example this image (left), noisy, underexposed with ambient tungsten lighting from a table lamp over 10 feet away, it’s a fun image taken with my Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II and my Lensbaby. I did a quick color correct to just make the image less orange (below). It was a quick fix with the Color Corrector tool under CameraBag 2's Adjust tab. The curve was pulled below the midline to correct for the orange color. I pulled the orange out from the shadows and midtones. Pulling the points below the horizontal set line desaturates your chosen color out of the image. The left-hand point on the line indicates shadows, the right point highlights. This is a quick way to do an overall color correct, and it's very effective in getting out whatever heavy cast you want.
For this before shot I’m using a quick point-and-shoot image shot with my Canon S95. It’s an image of my daughter before an annual father-daughter dance with an ’80s theme (below). I wanted to find my favorite variation in the Styles menu, CameraBag 2’s base styles, which you can create and add additional variations to. It’s easy to determine what style looks best; the options pop up when you hit the Quicklook Button above the Styles options (below). Here you can preview all the options from CameraBag’s base styles.
After selecting the look you want from the Quicklook options, you can click on the Adjust tab to adjust colors individually. Initially, I picked the 1983 style, but I didn't like the green cast (below), so I ended up choosing the Helga filter and adding a custom border.
Under the Borders tab, I selected Custom Rounded and then picked a color for the border. I chose a color complementary to the image; I didn’t want anything stark. There are a multitude of border options in CameraBag 2—the image above illustrates the many preset border options. I love the analog film-style borders for these vintage type processes, but Custom Rounded worked best for this occasion.
In addition to the large selection of basic styles that CameraBag 2 offers, there are many even more customized presets. CameraBag includes about 75 Favorite Presets, and you can, of course, customize your own and add it to the Favorites menu pretty easily. For my image below, I chose the Blowout B&W Favorite preset and clicked on the Luminance Curve tile to correct midtones (the preset version was way too blown-out, but I liked the overall tone of the black and white). It was very easy to execute. As this point, I took the image to Borders and opted for the 47mm square border. CameraBag 2 cropped and bordered the image for me; all I had to do was go to File>Save As and save it in whatever folder I choose.
My opinion? CameraBag 2 is simple to use, undoubtedly fun, and a great value. How will I, a working pro, use this app? I’m not certain if I’ll ever use it for session work, but I admit that I loved pulling my personal images in for a quick, fun edit. CameraBag 2 is fast and it’s a stand-alone application, plus it doesn’t bog down my computer while it’s running these quick conversions. The program processes in its analog engine, a 32-bits per channel, multi-threaded, non-destructive processing technique. While CameraBag 2 is pretty effective at processing JPGs quickly, it’s a bit slow at pulling my Canon raw CR2 files out and processing them (yes, it processes raw files directly out of camera without conversion).
I may consider using CameraBag 2 for more artistic renderings that I need cohesive processing on. I like that I can save my favorite settings and that I can take any number of images in a file folder and scroll through them by simply clicking the arrow keys on my keyboard to go through each image individually in any setting. To change the selected processing action, all I have to do is hit the up/down key on my keyboard and it changes the look.
If you’re a blogger or Facebook and Pinterest fanatic, using CameraBag 2 with your personal fun images could keep your name in front of all your client/follower’s eyes. Since you can't add text, make an action in Photoshop that slaps your logo on them before you post.
There is so much more to this app then I can detail in a short review. Nevercenter has done a remarkable job in bringing this awesome little app to the market. It’s a terrific value for $29. There's also a free 30-day trial. You can find the app, more details and how-to instructions on their site at http://nevercenter.com/camerabag/desktop/.