This is the story of how we created one of the most powerful iPhone camera apps in the world. But don’t just take my word for it, Mashable thinks so as well.
A few weeks ago, I wrote an article about Enfojer – a device used to develop analog photos taken with mobile phones. Well, for the client, Ilija Stjepic, developing analog photos from smartphones just wasn’t enough. Ilija is in love with photography, as well as full of fresh ideas, so he wanted to push things a bit further, this time into the digital domain.
Ilija wanted to build the most complete and feature rich photo application ever. This is how the Fojo iPhone application was born.
When I first sat down with Ilija to discuss his idea for the app, he showed me a pretty long and detailed list of features. Some of the stuff he had on the list was unnecessary for this kind of application (e.g. Voice over IP calls between users). Fortunately, he was open to my suggestions and, in general, incredibly easy to work with, so we quickly trimmed down features to an acceptable level.
Even then, it wasn’t exactly a minimum viable product, but it was a complete, well rounded idea, ready for implementation.
Fojo is primarily a camera application. It’s packed with multiple features interesting to more demanding (photo) shooters, including manual focus and exposure, white balance fine tuning, multiple exposures option, histogram etc. It also includes a photo editor which has some Photoshop style tools like channel mixer, curves and levels.
In general, the Fojo app is split into four main modules:
- Camera mode
This is the interface for taking pictures. With it, you can take photos with automatic settings or spice things up with various manual settings. One of the cool features is an option to apply Films – something Instagram and many similar apps call filters. We are especially proud of a live preview of Films. The same feature was added to the standard Camera app with iOS 7, but we actually had it implemented before the new version of the iOS was officially launched.
Another very unique feature, which is turned on by default, is the physical shutter button. Here we had to resort to a little trick – we disabled sound control within the app and reassigned volume up button to function as a shutter.
- Film Factory
A Film editor called Film Factory gives users complete control over the creative process. In Film Factory, users can create new Films or edit existing ones. You can check your results with a real time preview using live feed from the camera itself or by using one of the existing photos stored on your phone.
When we gave users the ability to unleash their creativity by creating Films, we needed to give them an opportunity to share their creations with the world. This is how the social part of the app was born. Not to take all of the credit, our good friends from GoodCode built the feature rich and beautiful REST API for the social part of the app. Despite the fact that guys building mobile apps usually complain about the guys building the API, working with GoodCode was absolutely delightful, so kudos to Senko and the team.
This is the collection of photos taken with the Fojo app or imported from iOS Camera Roll. Here you can edit your photos with the powerful built-in editor, share them with other Fojo users or share them via Facebook, Twitter or email.
In the end, we built something one of the Fojo users described as a DSLR camera with built-in Photoshop and Facebook. If you consider yourself to be a bit of a photo enthusiast, this probably sounds incredibly cool to you.
I’m very proud of this application. All of my other camera apps like Camera+, ProCam, Hipstamatic, PS Express are now gone, and I use Fojo on a daily basis. I like it very much and I’m actually pretty sure you will too.