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Alt Photo provides a solid approach to image filtering for iPhone

There are so many photo filter apps for the iPhone, it's easy to get overwhelmed. Among the crowd, Alt Photo from Alien Skin Software stands out as worthy of a second look. This US $0.99 app emulates the style of several different film stocks, from Kodachrome to old aged black and white film.

Some filter apps are all-or-nothing affairs, but Alt Photo lets you play with the intensity of each effect so you can adjust it to your liking. When editing images, subtlety can be a good thing, and the range of effects with this app leaves you free to experiment and not overdo it.

Alt Photo also lets you use shoot with the iPhone camera from within the app, and it has the usual image sharing options like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and email.

Beyond the film styles, the app offers a selection of frames for your photos, and the usual ability to adjust brightness. There is no overall contrast adjustment, however; contrast is controlled by the individual filters. Images are not reduced in resolution after they are edited, which is a plus. I also like the ability to add a caption to an image when you send it, along with location information. Any of your last 50 images can be re-edited, which could prove to be very handy.

Alt Photo has an original GUI that takes a moment to learn, but it then is very intuitive. It lacks any kind of built-in help, and I think apps should always include that. Overall, I put this app in the same category as Snapseed, which is also excellent.

Alt Photo is not just another 'me too' app, but an original approach at a reasonable price. Alien Skin software is well known to pro and semi-pro photographers who use its filters in Photoshop, so it's nice to see some of that expertise passed along to the iPhone. The app requires iOS 5, and is not universal, which I hope will be remedied soon. It is optimized for the iPhone 5 Check the gallery for some screen grabs.

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