Gray’s Anatomy – At The Android Party – By Richard Gray

One of the first things I did after setting up my new Galaxy was to check out the photo apps available on Android. Of all my friends’ reservations about THE MOVE, this was the one that came up the most. It was a bit like going to a party and looking around the room for familiar faces. Ah Snapseed old chum, good to see you! But there’s something different about you, Snap. Like you’ve got your tie on too tight. Oh right, you downsized on Android. Can you get pills for that? OK, but you’ve got more energy. That’s nice.

Other friendly faces in the crowd were Touch Retouch (thank god you’re here!), Pro HDR (useful given the native camera’s lack of exposure control), Instagram (he gets everywhere), Flickr (looking as full res as ever), Pixlr-o-matic and PS Touch. I’d recently had a mild flirtation on iOS with this last app, but she was so tetchy. We had some good times, but also quite heated arguments. She’s a complex character but I think part of the problem with our relationship was lack of space. With the extra space on Galaxy, I’m hoping we can pick up where we left off and get on a whole lot better together.

But some of my closest app friends were sadly missing. For advanced functions, PS Touch may have to fill the void left by Filterstorm. The (Photo) Wizard was conspicuous by his absence – I love that guy – as was my old friend Image Blender. And that slightly weird but loveable maverick, Slow Shutter Cam, was never going to turn up. He probably got the wrong address. Perhaps worst of all, the Hipsta didn’t make it. But someone said his younger sister, Oggl, was definitely going to show up later.

But going to a party is about meeting new people too. Some of these guys look a bit geeky but you never know what they might be able to do. And I don’t want to seem too callous about it, but I’m sure I can get a lot of the things I used to get from my old friends from my new ones. Squaready (he’s so square) wasn’t there but I met a guy called Photo Squarer who reckoned he can do everything Eddy used to do. I’ve just got to break the ice and get to know them a bit. And it’s still only 9pm: I’m sure some of usual crowd will be turning up fashionably late. And you never know Snap might even loosen his tie.



‘Not many at the Android party’ – ©Richard Gray

Richard's mobile photography has been exhibited around the world and published in various magazines and on many websites. He launched the world's first live course in iPhone photography in early 2012 with Kensington and Chelsea College. He has given workshops with The Photographers' Gallery and British Journal of Photography. Sport England recently commissioned him to cover various of its Sportivate initiatives with the iPhone. A keen observer of this new photographic genre, his writing has been widely published (most notably in The Guardian) and he writes a blog (iphoggy-bloggy). With a big camera, he specialises in music photography ( and syndicates to Press Association (with both big and small cameras).


  • José Freitas

    Between the iPhone and an Android flagship device, the main advantage of the iPhone is the diversity and, above all, the quality of apps. Especially in photography.
    The Android platform has greatly improved in this regard over the last year but is, and will continue to be in the near future, behind iOS in this matter.
    Is the personal choice of the developers, of course, but also the fact that iOS have only a couple of relevant versions and not four or five, like Android. It is also an economic issue. So far, iOS users are more receptive to pay for apps than Android users.

    • Richard Gray

      You’re totally right Jose. The apps do seem to be the main disadvantage v iOS. But I’m really enjoying the extra screen space. And there are quite a lot of really good photo functions that the iPhone doesnt have (being able to access dropbox direct via the Gallery, editing within the camera app, more pixels) and a lot of non-photo functions (love the swype function). And in a way, it’s quite challenging working within new photographic limitations. That’s really interesting what you say about the reasons why app developers don’t go as quickly with Android. Thanks for your stopping by.

  • Stef LP

    Really appreciate these articles. I am up for an upgrade in a month, I have an android but love the iOS apps. I use them with my iPad which isn’t practical …
    I can do without the editing apps as I can edit on iPad…my main concern is the camera.
    U say there isn’t exposure control on the galaxy? What exactly do u mean?

    • Richard Gray

      Hi Stef. By exposure control, I mean that when you line up a photo on the iPhone you tap on a part of the screen and the camera adjusts the exposure for that part (so the picture goes brighter if it’s a dark part). I haven’t found a way of doing that yet on the Galaxy camera (though I haven’t really looked hard yet). Perhaps you know how? You can get this if you use a camera replacement app but it’s nice to have it on the iPhone camera itself.

  • José Freitas

    After my previous comment, some things have changed. Hipstamatic is no longer ‘just iPhone’ and launched a dedicated app for the new Nokia Lumia 1020, to explore the potential of the device. And VSCO Cam will soon arrive to Android. That’s good news. But in regards to photography, Android still has a long way to go until gets iOS.