Review: Tiffen Photo fx For iPhone

I consider myself quite the iPhone photo enthusiast with folders of apps and lenses. Amongst the large quantity of apps that I already own, this app, surprisingly, wasn’t one of them. I have spent a bit of time with Photo FX and I will share my opinion on its editing abilities.


– Choose from 76 filters organized into 8 different filter groups
– Select from a total of 878 presets
– Try one of the 62 different color or black and white film looks
– Add realistic diffusion to photos using a library of 50 interesting textures
– Create natural lighting effects using 117 different patterns
– Choose from 27 grain presets to simulate popular motion picture film stocks
– Paint on the image using Color, Clone, Blur, Black and White, Mosaic, Red Eye, Repair, Scatter and Eraser brushes
– Crop, Rotate, Straighten
– Zoom into the image with the Close-Up Lens filter
– Add multiple filters without saving
– Selectively apply filters by painting a mask
– Modify filters with sliders, on-screen controls or presets
– Shake on the filter selection or preset screens to choose a random filter
– Shake on the image editing screen to reset controls
– Edit in portrait or landscape mode
– Compatibility with the still image editions of the Tiffen Dfx Digital Filter Suite
– Quickly search for filters and presets
– Integrated Help
– Native retina support
– Share your images. You can choose from Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, the Sincerely Ship & Print service as well as Email, Print, Copy and Open In.


When you start the app it gives the usual options to choose an existing photo or to take a new picture to edit. Also on the screen is a settings button and inside is a single option to select which size of a file you would like to output.

When you load an image into the app is when it gets interesting, and for some, simply confusing. The options available in this app is like comparing WordPress to Tumblr, similar to WordPress I feel that there may just be too many options. There are pages and pages of presets and different types of editing. This like the Walmart of photo apps… had enough of the dumb comparisons yet?

Honestly, though, it’s the one stop shop for most of your image editing needs.

The app has a few categories of different types of edits you can do. These categories include: Film Lab, Diffusion, Grads/Tints, Image (basic adjustments), Lens fx, Light fx, Photographic and Special fx. These options line the bottom of the app and can either be swiped through or you can press the “more” option on either the left and right sides to view the different editing categories.

I know this is an iPhone app but prepare yourself because it may start to get a bit complicated from here to follow. For each category of effect there are 6 or more thumbnails representing the category. If you were to tap on the Diffusion category it then displays 12 thumbnails to choose from. If you were to choose one of those effects for example High Contrast you would be led to a new page with 9 versions of your image with different high contrast effects.

After you choose a certain version of that effect you are led to a fine editing screen where you are first prompted by what amount you want of that effect on your image. The bottom of the screen also has a cancel button, brush, crop and save / add layer button. The brush icon will allow you to either brush in or brush out an effect. You are even allowed to fine tune your brush changing size, softness and opacity. On the screen of your iPhone you can pinch to zoom to brush a very specific part of the image.

Photo fx allows you to stack layers together and combine different effects to get one that you like. This along with brushing effects in and out should allow a level of flexibility like no other app out there. There are some really good effects like some of the ones hidden away in the Light fx tab, with this adjustment you are able to place an area of light into the scene. Meaning if you were working with an image that only had one light source the effect would make it seem like you originally had more light coming from that source, instead of brightening the entire scene you would get a natural rise and fall of light from the source. All the adjustments seem to work in real time but I find it hard from time to time to grab certain sliders with my finger.

I know I mentioned how many effects there were but I wanted to take you on a quick tour and show off the mass amounts of options you have with Photo fx.


All in all Tiffen has produced an app that a lot of people love. I have seen it on numerous people’s devices and a few of them swear by it being the best photo app. In my limited use, though, I don’t quite agree, I find it a bit over the top and excessive. It is more quantity than quality, but then again it does have quite a few stellar features and effects. This is also coming from a guy who has close to 70 photo related apps on his phone, so I may just know quantity over quality a bit better than the other.

Useful features? Heck yes! A lot of features? A big loud yes. If you like spending a lot of time with each image and hate leaving an app just to go to another for a single effect or filter this is probably the app for you. Will this replace Snapseed on my phone as the all time king of photo editing apps? Not anytime soon. I really expected it to crash after I kept adding layer after layer and during the whole time I was testing it out I didn’t have a single crash. Thank you Tiffen for letting me try out your app and I look forward to what you have to share in the future.

The app is available on the App Store for $2.99.

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