Pinworthy: 5 essential photo apps for Windows Phone

It seemed only natural to follow up today’s post on photo-related changes coming in Windows Phone 7.5—aka Mango—with one about some of the fantastic photo apps available right now in Marketplace.

From Facebook to Flickr, smartphones are quickly becoming the primary way people capture and share pictures. So it’s probably no surprise that an explosion of photo apps has followed—apps which make it possible to bypass your PC and do most fixing and fussing directly on your Windows Phone.

Here are some of my own favorite tools in Marketplace for phone-based touch-ups. (For fun, I also polled some of the designers and engineers who work on the Pictures Hub to get their take.)  Since Mango hands app makers a bunch of juicy new programming options—including for the first time direct access to the camera—I’m expecting even more creative photography apps to arrive in the months ahead.

Thumba Photo Editor

Thumba Photo EditorThumba Photo Editor

You’ll be hard-pressed to find another app tricked out with more image editing tools—and all for just 99 cents. Packed with more than 70 tools and tweaks, Thumba Photo Editor lets you resize, crop, rotate, flip, remove red eye, and sharpen your photos. You can edit embedded GPS info and add protective watermarks. There’s also impressive selection of filters and special effects. Several shutterbugs here swear by it. “It’s like having a mini-Photoshop on the phone,” one says.  A worthy competitor is Pictures Lab ($1.99), another full-featured photo editing app with an enthusiastic fan base.

Download Thumba Photo Editor | Download Pictures Lab

PhotoFunia

PhotoFuniaPhotoFunia

Generally speaking, I’m not a fan of gimmicky photo-morphing apps. But PhotoFunia is in a class by itself. This entertaining app boasts more than 225 effects. Sure there are the standard ones that let you turn your face shot into a charcoal sketch or watercolor. But there’s also unexpected options to put your face on a billboard, a stamp, or the wall of the Louvre. The end result is often shockingly believable, like it was professionally doctored. PhotoFunia is also just plain fun. As one fan here said: “Who doesn’t want to see their face as the billboard on Times Square?” Free.

Download PhotoFunia

PhotoSafe

PhotoSafePhotoSafe

PhotoSafe serves as a password-protected virtual vault for any photos on your phone that you want to keep hidden from prying eyes. It’s also a handy way to prevent Angry Birds-addicted kids from accidentally deleting important shots while messing with your phone. The app is straightforward: Pick a password, then just copy over images from the Pictures Hub into protected folders (or snap photos directly with the camera). Images sequestered in PhotoSafe won’t be transferred automatically to your PC when you sync with the Zune software, either. $1.99 + free trial

Download PhotoSafe

Fantasia Painter Free

Fantasia Painter FreeFantasia Painter Free

If finger painting is your thing, Fantasia Painter Free provides 12 brushes and bunch of cool effects to add Van Gogh-like flourishes to your shots. My kids love this app. But it should also appeal to artists and anybody with kid-like tendencies. Free

Download Fantasia Painter Free

Ztitch

Ztitch

When I’m walking around Seattle, I often have the urge to capture the sweeping Space Needle-pointed skyline. But creating panoramas is notoriously tricky, and my previous attempts looked like they were assembled by Dr. Frankenstein. Then I discovered Ztitch. What’s cool about Ztitch isn’t just that it brings drag-and-drop simplicity to the pano-making process. But it goes a step further, creating full 360º panoramas that provide the uncanny you-are-there illusion. Free

Download Ztitch