App Review: A Beautiful Mess
Last week while discussing the Candy Camera app, suggested by The Tween and the Bestie, librarian Maria Selke reminded me of the A Beautiful Mess photo app. I am a huge fan of the A Beautiful Mess (ABM) blog, so I had actually purchased the app well over a year ago. The only problem is that I had an older device with an older operating system and it never worked for me. Fast forward to today and I had to get a newer device and I decided to re-load the app and it does indeed work. But would I love the app as much as I love the blog?
The short answer is, no.
A Beautiful Mess is a blog run by two women, Elsie and Emma, that focuses on crafts, DIY, food and photography. The crafts/DIY and photography tips section are the parts I love most. So I was looking forward to this photo app.
Availabe for both iTunes and Androids
$0.99 for the app itself. But you have to make a bunch of additional in app purchases if you want more functionality.
You can alter a photo or create a collage.
Using the backgrounds provided, you can also make whimsical quotes or create a background with a photo overlay.
There are about 25 filters in the version I have, which is the basic version.
You can add doodles and text overlays, which is the part of the app that excels.
Here are some pictures I created with the app:
For this picture, I used a photo that I had created and filtered in the Candy Camera app, as you can see the Candy Camera watermark there. I went in and added the whimsical elements, the border and wording, using the ABM app.
This last image is made using the background feature, for obvious reasons. It is my favorite part of the ABM app.
If I had to describe the A Beautiful Mess app in one word, it would be whimsy. This is obviously an app designed to help you create those whimsical photos with your cutesy borders and text overlays. It accomplishes that well, though I want an app that does a little more than that.
It has a list of some of the top in-app purchases, which I have not purchased:
- Font Pack$0.99
- Dainty Borders$0.99
- Mod Backgrounds$0.99
- New Phrases (One)$0.99
- New Phrases (two)$0.99
- Sketchbook & Shape Borders$0.99
- Arrow & Symbol Doodles$0.99
- Word Bubble Doodles$0.99
- Geo Backgrounds Pack$0.99
- Font Pack 2$0.99
So it’s possible that by making some additional purchases I could do more things and would be more impressed, but all those in app purchases add up and I am on a tight budget so this app is not the right app for me.
What Others are Saying:
This comparison chart allows you to look at the features of A Beautiful Mess that matter most to you and explore some other photo app options. It’s kind of a Consumer Reports feature on the ABM app.
C-Net called it “cute and crafty, but not much else.”
If you want to make cute, crafty, or whimsical pics, this app is probably for you. It definitely would make great blog pics for crafty/DIY blogs that were going for a certain type of audience. I think I still like OVER best for adding texts to my graphics. It’s a little costly to get the full functionality of the app, so it’s not my go to app by any means. It has a pretty decent overall rating on the iTunes store.
There is also this A Beautiful Mess Photo Ideas Book, published in 2013. I haven’t seen it, but they have great tips and ideas on their blog so it might be worth checking out.
My top 5 photo apps are:
- ComicBook – makes great comic book pages
- PhotoShake – I use it to make bookmarks and grid photos
- Over – for adding text
- Hipstamtic – for the various lens and film combinations
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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