As more and more digital photographers are using their iPhone as their primary method of capture people, places and things, more and more apps are hitting the marketplace to enhance the photographer’s toolkit. There are the ‘essentials’ like iPhoto and Instagram that allow users to edit photos with ease. Photo editing apps are getting close to being a ‘dime a dozen’ and it can be a struggle for developers to come up with something unique. Earlier this month, developers Artware, Inc. released Layrs, an iOS photo editing app.

So, what make Layrs so special? It allows users to mark the foreground and background with a masking tool. Those who are familiar with photo editing know that a masking tool can be invaluable when dividing layers. Layrs makes this division of a single-layered photograph surprisingly easy. The first step when opening the app is to select a photo. You can either do this by searching through your camera roll or taking a new photo. Once you have selected a photo, the app prompts you to select the foreground from the background. You do this by moving your finger around on the screen. Once the two layers are selected, you are taken through a process for each layer that allows you to select different editing tools such as blurring or color saturation to enhance your photograph.

While testing this app, I discovered that using the masking tool wasn’t the easiest task in the world. Manipulating the mask is precise work and a finger is not a precision tool. I would suspect that using a stylus might make the task a bit easier, but since I don’t use a stylus, I cannot say that for certain. Even though the app has a precision method to it, it’s not built with that intention. Layrs was meant to give digital photographers the option of a quick layer editing tool on their iPhone. And that is exactly what Layrs is.

I do recommend this app. I believe that with practice that one might get quite good at editing layers of a photo on the fly. Here are a couple of quick examples I did using Layrs.


The original picture


Layrs Edit #1


Layrs Edit #2