Paper Camera

App review by
Leslie Crenna, Common Sense Media
Paper Camera App Poster Image
Hip photo and video tool has cool, creative features.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn to play with images, either creating them real-time or loading from the device gallery. As they adjust effects and properties, they'll be motivated to imagine and present new digital content. Plus, they'll have the opportunity to reflect on their subjects (including themselves). If kids are allowed to share their creations, they'll learn about different perspectives and viewpoints. If only the developers had perfected the interface and functionality! Paper Camera is a fun, hip photo effects tool, but it still needs a bit of smoothing.

Ease of Play

It's fairly easy to use, but the but buttons and icons can be a tad confusing.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know Paper Camera is a super hip and fun way to add effects to your photos before or after you take them. The interface -- though sketchpad-style cool -- has icons that may be confusing at first. Younger kids might need a little guidance to avoid frustration, and you may want to supervise older kids posting to share sites or sending photos via email. Facebook login allows the app to access the user's public profile, friend list, and photos if the user agrees to the prompt.

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What's it about?

Tap arrow buttons to cycle through more than a dozen effects, sliding bars to adjust contrast, brightness, lines, and edges, plus two unique controls for each effect. Settings allow users to control quality, enable or disable video, invert views, and switch cameras (front or back). Tap to toggle between camera or video modes, and download shots from cloud sites or device gallery. Kids can share their creations through social media or send via email.

Is it any good?

Though a bit confusing at first, PAPER CAMERA has some super-cool features and lots of flexibility. Effects and adjustments are displayed in real time so it's fun just to walk around examining the world through different lenses. The Andy Pop effect divides images into four panels in four distinct colors, and Old Printer gives that retro black-and-white dot matrix look. The app uses both front and back cameras and can pull photos from the gallery and installed cloud apps as well as share to Facebook, Google Drive, Twitter, email, and more. Paper Camera is a fun way for kids to get creative with their photos.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Encourage kids to create either a thematic collection or one that demonstrates each effect using the same subject.

  • Introduce your kids to a gallery slideshow function in their device to display their work.

  • Challenge older kids to find the historic or artistic origins of effects like Contours, Gotham Noir, or Granny's Paper.

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire
  • Subjects: Arts: photography
  • Skills: Tech Skills: digital creation, using and applying technology
    Creativity: imagination, producing new content
  • Price: $.99-$1.99
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Release date: April 11, 2013
  • Category: Photo & Video
  • Size: 10.00 MB
  • Publisher: JFDP Labs
  • Version: Android 3.4.2; iOS 2.2.0
  • Minimum software requirements: Android 2.1 and up; iOS 4.0 or later

For kids who love creativity

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