Photogene2: An iPhoneography Tutorial

Photogene2—A Quiet Gem of An App!

In this iPhoneography tutorial, David Hayes shares how he “finally took a look at this app and was delightfully surprised” by what he found. These detailed step-by-step directions will give you something new to play with on your iPhone and possibly open your eyes to the capabilities of an app you already own but haven’t fully explored.


When the folks at Create Mixed Media asked me what I thought about Photogene2, I had to tell that I didn’t know much about it! Now, I have looked at hundreds of apps—and own more than I care to admit—so to have to say to someone that I didn’t know much about an app, was a little embarrassing . . . It’s not that I had never heard of Photogene2, it’s just that I never took a real close look at it. I figured it was time that I did explore Photogene2 and once I did, was surprised with what this app will do! If you are a long-time user of Photogene2, this article may not show you anything new. However, if you’re looking for a good all-in-one app I invite you to read on while I discuss what I found.


When you first open Photogene2, you are given a screen which shows your Albums. (It seems to me that it would open on its camera function, but there you are.) What I want to tell you about first is how to get to the apps settings and tutorial—accessed by clicking on the button on the top right of your phone screen. (A). (The camera function is activated by clicking on the camera icon.) After clicking there, you’ll find access to the settings and to the tutorial. The tutorial is pretty good. I highly suggest that you give it a read before going on. (I don’t typically do this, but that’s me.)

After closing the “tutorial” screens, I returned to Albums via the “Back” button (top left) and then clicked on the camera icon. Now I’m ready to take some pictures! As a camera app, Photogene2 isn’t any better or worse than your native camera app. It does have a couple of features that are worth mentioning.

First, just left of the shutter button is a stabilizer function (A) that lets you know if you’re steady enough to take a picture. (The camera icon changes colors: red to green depending on your steadiness!)

Second, next to the stabilizer indicator is the filter button (B) that let’s you chose from all of Photogene’s filters to use while taking your images. This is cool, as long as you keep in mind that you can’t remove the filter effect later on!

In addition to the filters in the shot above, the two shots below, provide a look at all the filters Photogene2 has to offer.

Cool filters, huh? Lots to choose from, however one problem I discovered is that you can’t control how intense you’d like any filter—what you see is what you get!

Below, you can see what the “Morning” filter and the “Psychodelic” filter does to this shot. Notice it does give you the name of the filter chosen…nice touch! And then the third example is “Psychodelic” again—this time used on the obligatory shot of my feet! (I have thousands of these shots taken while I’m trying something out!)

What I found nice about this app is that it has a nice post-production package built in. Nothing fancy, but enough that one could take a snap, do a quick edit, and post an image without having to leave the app. Good to have sometimes!

Okay, so now I’ve gone back to my Albums, and picked this snap of one of my grandmother’s dolls. Click on the wrench icon to activate the edit package, and up comes Photogene2’s selection wheel! The first thing I wanted to do to the doll image was a little cropping, so I clicked on “Crop.”


I played with the selection points until I was happy, then clicked on the “crop” button in the top left corner. This activated the crop and brought me back to the selection screen. This time I chose “adjust” to do some fine tuning to the image’s brightness, contrast, and the like. Using the sliders, I did a little adjusting of the exposure and contrast.

Then, spinning the selection wheel . . . I tweaked the sharpness (A) a bit. Done with all the “adjustments,” I clicked on its icon (B), which brought me back to main menu. Then it was time to apply some filters! You do that by clicking on “Presets” which will bring up the same selection of filters I showed you before, but this time they are presented in a selection wheel vs. a grid.

This time, I chose “Bleach” which is in the “Colors” category. This done, I clicked on “Apply” in the top left corner.

Back to the main menu, I now clicked on “Enhance.” Spinning the wheel once again, I picked the “Center Focus” tool (A) and applied this to my doll. To put this into place—and move on to another effect—I clicked on this tool’s icon (B) which will bring me back to the main menu.

(I will have to admit that I find working Photogene2’s interface a bit awkward at times, but it is what it is. In any case . . .) I once again clicked on the “Enhance” button…and this time applied a bit of Posterize (B) from the “Filter” menu (A). And, to then go back to the main menu, I had to click the center icon (C).

This is what the doll looked like at this point. What a cutie!!


I discovered that one of the little features that comes with Photogene2 is its Collage Maker function. This allows you to put together quick collages using the photos in your albums. It doesn’t have much in the way of controls—like once you select your photos, you can’t change them (or the collage windows they appear in) but, it’s a nice little package for what it does. So, to show you how it works, I needed some more images of my doll. I created two more to use with “bleach doll” (“Presets” (A), Vintage (B), Noir (C), and Apply (D).

And, the image above, “Noir Doll”.

To create the third image, I went to “Enhance” in the main menu, then Filters (A), Rainbow (B), then clicked on (C) to finish up. And . . . I had created “Rainbow Doll.”

Then it was time to build a collage! Like the first shot below shows, I first had to hit the “Back” button.

Once in the opening screen, I clicked on the “Collage” icon. Now…I didn’t realize this at first, but clicking on this icon does activate the process. So now you can start clicking on the photos you want in your collage. What I also figured out is that the order you select the photos is important to where they appear in the collage, and that you can’t change this later. (Probably would have helped if I had read the tutorial more thoroughly first…but hey….) I started with the original image.

Then I added Bleach Doll, Noir Doll and Rainbow Doll. Clicking on the collage icon (B) brings you back to the Collage Maker. Going to “Templates”, I chose the one you see in this screen shot. Notice that the original image is the base image as I selected it first, and the other versions appear in the side boxes in the order I chose them.

Going to “Design”, I then adjusted the width of the outline around each image, then to “Line Color,” I selected black for the outline color. Done!! There are other controls available in Collage Maker…but I’ll let you play around with those on your own!!

Here’s the final product. A nice little collage showing my doll from beginning…to end!

I hope you found this tutorial informative and enjoyable. Please don’t be shy about asking questions or leaving comments. I do appreciate hearing from you!!


Check out David’s previous iPhoneography tutorials:

Leaf: An iPhoneography Tutorial

Exposed: An iPhoneography Tutorial Using “Picture Show”

Once Upon a Time: An iPhoneography Tutorial for Altering Photos

You might also enjoy:

Photo Craft

Photo Craft by Susan Tuttle and Christy Hydeck, available now for pre-order through the North Light Shop.




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2 Responses to Photogene2: An iPhoneography Tutorial

  1. Seth says:

    Thanks for all the detail (and hard work) that you put into this post.