How To Use Adobe’s New Photoshop Camera App

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How To Use Adobe’s New Photoshop Camera App
Photo: Brendan Hesse

Adobe launched its new Photoshop Camera app today, and while it’s definitely not a replacement for Photoshop or Lightroom, it can get your photos close to the “Photoshopped” look without needing to know what transparency masks are or what dodging and burning means.

The app is available now for Android and iOS devices, though you’ll need a newer and/or more powerful device in order to run it. For example, my Pixel 3a XL isn’t compatible, but my iPad Pro is—albeit with some slight input latency.

Compatibility limitations aside, I found Photoshop Camera easy to use, and the effects you can create should make any Instagrammer’s heart soar.

Screenshot: Brendan Hesse

The app’s interface looks like most other camera apps; there’s a shutter button, icons for adjusting settings like aspect ratio or flash, and a shortcut for swapping between your device’s front- or rear-facing cameras.

The triple-star icon to the left of the shutter button opens a slider menu at the bottom of the screen that lets you quick-select lenses (Photoshop Camera’s word for “filters”) so you can see how it looks while lining up your shots. Each filter has to be downloaded the first time you use it, but it only takes a couple of moments, and you can tap the globe icon in the upper left to manage saved lenses or browse for new ones.

There are quite a few lenses to choose from, and most are surprisingly good (if a little cheesy, in some cases). Available lenses range from your standard hue/saturation/contrast adjustments and blur effects, to full screen overlays with animated elements that out-do anything Instagram or Snapchat offer.

There’s even a portrait filter that can add a depth of field effect to photos shot on devices that don’t normally have those capabilities. Some, such as the Vibrancy lens, can crop out a subject from the background without any extra editing steps.

Left: The Portrait lens’s depth of field effect; Right: using the Vibrancy to isolate and crop the subject of your photo. (Photo: Brendan Hesse)

After taking a photo, you can tap the camera roll icon to the right of the shutter to see the photos you’ve taken, or import them from Adobe Lightroom. tap one to open the editor, which lets you add and edit even more lens effects and fine-tune the image’s appearance—though the magic wand tool will make automatic adjustments if you want a shortcut.

You can then save the edits and share the image on social media, or export the file directly to Photoshop Express or Lightroom if you want to work on it even more.

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