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Retro Photo Apps

The retro photo trend that was kicked off by Hipstamatic continues, with tons of retro photo apps flooding the app store. We just can’t get enough of taking photos in the digital era and making them look artfully analog, aged, and even faux damaged. There are far too many apps in the app store to include them all on this list, but here are a few of our favorite apps for taking modern photography back in time.


by Hipstamatic, LLC

The one that started it all, Hipstamatic is a charming app that lets you choose from various “camera lenses” and “films” (with more available to purchase in-app) and shoot old-fashioned analog-style photographs. What some call kitschy, others call art, but I think everyone agrees this app is a lot of fun. You can only shoot from inside the app, no post-processing here. Some people feel this unpredictability is part of Hipstamatic’s charm, while others are frustrated by the lack of control.


by Nevercenter Ltd. Co.

This is another of the first camera apps to blaze the retro photography trail. This is a simple post-processing app. Simply import a photo and add one of their 14 fun retro filters, like Helga, Instant, Colorcross, 1962, 1974, Plastic, and more.

Retro Camera Plus

by Urbian, Inc.

Retro Camera Plus works much the same way as Hipstamatic. You can choose from five different analog “cameras” and shoot with them from inside the app. Like Hipstamatic, more cameras are available to purchase in-app. It has the same pros and cons as Hipstamatic, except this app is free. It’s a great way to start if you’re considering Hipstamatic but aren’t sure if you want to spend the money.


by Nevercenter Ltd. Co.

This is a fantastic app for those that prefer their retro effects added after the fact. You can mix and match the filters and effects to your specifications, or roll the dice for those charming unpredictable effects. Happen across a favorite combination of effects? Save that exact “recipe” in your Favorites for future use.


by Stepcase

This fun, free post-processing app comes with 9 filters. Each one has a different fun retro artsy look. If you want more, you can buy additional filters in-app. The cool thing is that you can actually test out the paid filters before you buy.

Pic Grunger Free

by Stephen Spring

This app is just what it sounds like - it makes your photos look dirty! You can even choose the type and intensity of dirtiness. It’s not for everyone, but for those looking to grunge up their photos, this is the way to go. If you need more ways to make your photos look abused, step up to the paid version.


by Banana Camera Co.

This app mimics the experience of using an old instant Polaroid Camera. You get the white frame and distinctive coloration. You even get the proper sound effects. After taking the picture, shake your iPhone to make it "develop" faster.

Pinhole Camera

by iA

This is another shoot-from-in-the-app app, with three different “films” you can use. What makes this one a bit different is that you can take double exposure pictures if you like. This is a really fun feature to experiment with.

Plastiq Camera

by HelloTeq Pty Limited

Shoot from within the app using five different “lenses”, three “viewfinders” and 11 different “films”, some of which are adjustable. Mix and match for the effect of your choice.

Vintage Scene

by JixiPix Software

Whereas most of the retro apps focus on looks from about the 1950s through the 1980s, Vintage Scene goes back even farther. Make your photos looks like they were taken in different eras going all the way back to the birth of photography.


by graf

This app showcases 28 different cool filters, frames, light leaks, noise, and other effects to mix and match. You can write right on the photos as well.


by Burbn, Inc.

I can’t say enough about Instagram. Sure, it has a dozen cool filters you can add to your photos, much like Picture Show and Camera Bag have, but there is a whole photo sharing and social networking element to the app as well. I mean, what good is it to create cool retro photos if they just sit in your camera roll? Instagram gets them out there for the world to see.