Paper Camera

Ultra-hip photo effects with slightly unintuitive interface

Learning rating

Community rating

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Expert evaluation by Common Sense



Subjects & Skills

Arts, Creativity

Great for

Creating Media, Social Media

Price: Paid
Platforms: Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Kindle Fire

Pros: Stylish and flexible effects grounded in art history and real photo techniques.

Cons: Unintuitive interface and functions may frustrate kid users.

Bottom Line: It's a really cool, versatile tool that could use a few UI tweaks.

Students might enjoy creating either a thematic collection or one that demonstrates each effect using the same subject. Students should have access to a slideshow application like PowerPoint or via the device gallery to display their work. Challenge them to find the historic or artistic origins of effects like Contours, Gotham Noir, or Granny's Paper.

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.

Paper Camera is a hip and fun way to add effects to your photos before or after you take them. Though a bit confusing at first, it 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.

Tap arrow buttons to cycle through more than a dozen effects, sliding bars to adjust contrast, brightness, lines, and edges, plus two unique controls each. Settings allow users to control quality, enable or disable video, invert views, and switch cameras (front or back). Users tap to toggle camera or video modes, download shots from cloud sites or a device gallery, or share or send via email. 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. Final products are saved to Pictures/Paper Pictures folder in .jpg format.

The ability to experiment with image manipulation and filters as they're taking photos can be really exciting and fun for kids. They can learn to play with images either by creating them in real-time or loading from the device gallery. As they adjust effects and properties, kids will be motivated to imagine and present new digital content and reflect on their subjects, including themselves. If kids are allowed to share their creations, they'll learn about different perspectives and viewpoints.

Learning Rating

Overall Rating

Effects are flexible and fascinating, and kids will certainly have fun experimenting. The interface is visually appealing but not always intuitive, especially for kid users. 


Kids will get grounding in the results of various photography techniques. While terminology is accurate, there are no explanations or interpretations other than the results seen through the lens. 


Hardly any instruction, and what little navigation there is can be a bit confusing. Button icons are sometimes vague. 

Common Sense reviewer

Community Rating

Snap I just created a drawing!

Used with the IPADS camera and students can create illustrations for projects and reports. Helps encourage creativity.

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