iPhoto vs. Photogene: Which is Best?

When Apple announced the release of iPhoto for iPad last year, many people, including myself, ditched their current image editing app in favor of the newcomer, simply because of the prestigious reputation of the software itself. But, the question is, how does iPhoto for iPad compare to the likes of Photogene, an application that has been an App Store favorite for over half a decade? Read on to find out!


iPhoto is an Apple-developed image editing application which was originally released on OS X in 2002. With iPhoto, editing and sharing photographs is a breeze, and there is no wonder why it is one of the App Store’s top 25 apps of all time.

AppStorm’s editor James Cull awarded iPhoto for iPad a perfect score of 10/10.

iPhoto is an Apple-developed image editing application.

iPhoto is an Apple-developed image editing application.

Developed by Omer Shoor, Photogene is described as the ‘ultimate’ image editing app for iPad and iPhone, and it is clear to see why. Boasting powerful editing capabilities and the ability to handle large files, Photogene is a great non-Apple alternative to iPhoto and, along with Photoshop Touch, its biggest rival, too.

AppStorm’s contributor Mark Myerson gave Photogene a score of 9/10.

Photogene is described as the 'ultimate' image editing app for iPad and iPhone.

Photogene is described as the ‘ultimate’ image editing app for iPad and iPhone.


Let us take a closer look at what each app has to offer, starting with basic image editing.

Basic Image Editing

From cropping and rotation to exposure and retouching, both iPhoto and Photogene have basic image editing covered. Photographs can be edited just as quick, if not quicker, than on a computer and each app includes similar tools to one another, with the exception of the clone tool, which is only present in Photogene.

One thing that iPhoto is unfortunately lacking is the ability to fine-tune a photograph like you can with Photogene. Photogene includes a curves adjustment, sharpness scale, red, green, and blue offset, and much more besides to edit an image to your exact specification. Naturally, if you are a point-and-shoot kind of person then these additional features won’t be of interest to you, but for a professional photographer, they can be of great help.

Filters and Frames

Since Instagram exploded in popularity, filters and frames have been all the rage, and it is rare to see a photograph nowadays that has not been tinkered with somehow.

iPhoto and Photogene include a large selection of filters, both monochrome and color, as well as a modest collection of frames. More frames can be purchased in-app via Photogene, although there are more than enough to get started.

iPhoto and Photogene include a large selection of filters and frames.

iPhoto and Photogene include a large selection of filters and frames.

Image Sharing

Sharing images on an iPad with family and friends is a simple process, made even easier by the ability export in-app. With iPhoto, you can upload your images to the usual places such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as Flickr, iTunes, iMovie, and other iDevices using Beam.

Photogene, on the other hand, is capable of exporting your work to even more websites and apps than its competitor, most notably Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Dropbox, Evernote, Picasa, and Tumblr, as well as other iDevices and to your own website via FTP.

Photo Journaling

iPhoto can produce high-quality journals, books, and slideshows at the touch of a button, which is an especially useful feature for those of us with a hard drive full of images and nothing physical to show for it — something which I am incredibly guilty of.

Photogene can create three different types of collage, with additional templates available to purchase in-app. Each collage can be arranged however you desire, although, let’s face it, there is only so much you can do with a collage, and the ability to produce additional products would be welcome here.

iPhoto can produce high-quality journals, books, and slideshows.

iPhoto can produce high-quality journals, books, and slideshows.

Technical Talk

Unlike iPhoto, Photogene includes the metadata for each image, displaying important information pertaining to that particular photograph, like the shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and the date that it was taken.

With its latest update, iPhoto is now capable of handling images of up to 36.5 megapixels in resolution, as opposed to the 21-megapixel limit in Photogene. iPhoto and Photogene can also open and edit RAW image files, which will give you infinitely more control over the final article.


Like every Apple-developed app, iPhoto is sleek and sophisticated, and would not look out of place in the photography studio of, say, Annie Leibovitz, for example.

Photogene? Not so much.

When compared side-by-side, Photogene is a bit, well, ugly.

When compared side-by-side, Photogene is a bit, well, ugly.

When compared side-by-side, Photogene is a bit, well, ugly. It simply does not possess the same polished-looking user interface as iPhoto, which is a shame considering the amount of effort that has gone into developing such a powerful application.


If you have experienced iPhoto for OS X previously, then iPhoto for iPad will not take much getting used to — aside from the fact that you must use your fingers to navigate the app instead of a cursor, of course! In fact, even new users should find iPhoto easy to navigate as the interface is both user-friendly and intuitive.

Photogene is simple to navigate also, and its minimalist interface makes editing your images a pleasure instead of a chore, with every tool you need laid out right in front of you.


iPhoto is currently priced at $4.99, while Photogene is $0.99. If you purchased your iPad anytime after September 1st, however, then you are eligible to download iPhoto for free, along with Pages, Keynote, Numbers, and iMovie.

Photogene includes a handful of in-app purchases, comprising mainly of collage templates and frames, whereas with iPhoto, what you see is what you get for the price.


If you are looking for a basic image editor then iPhoto is the app for you. It is incredibly simple to use and ideal for quick and dirty editing on the go, without the need to power-up a computer.

For those wanting more control over their images, however, Photogene is a must-have. It is one of the most powerful apps of its kind in the App Store right now, not to mention less than a quarter of the price of iPhoto, and a significant amount less than Photoshop Touch!

Overall, both iPhoto and Photogene are well-worth buying but, for me, Photogene has the edge simply due to the sheer power of the app. What about you? Are you a longtime fan of iPhoto or is Photogene your image editor of choice? Leave a comment and let me know!