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How to use Flickr for iOS' new live and custom filters

The updated Flickr iPhone app has a whole new look. Find out how to access and use its new features, including filters you can apply before you snap a shot and customize afterward.

Yahoo updated its Flickr app for the iPhone yesterday, and the new app boasts an entirely new layout, thanks in large part, Yahoo says, to its acquisition of GhostBird Software (maker of KitCam) in June. The app features a new collection of filters, which you can now apply before you snap a shot. And after you have taken a picture, you can customize the look of your chosen filter in addition to tweaking its appearance with a number of editing tools.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Let's walk through the new filters, which you can now access in camera mode as you are lining up your shot. If you don't like the result, don't worry: you can switch to another photo after snapping the shot or go no filter. In camera mode, tap the filter button in the lower-right corner to bring up the filter options, which are fairly sizable thumbnails as far as filter thumbnails go. Once you have perused the options -- there are 14 filters in all -- you can tap the filter button again to hide the filter thumbnails to finish lining up your shot.

Camera mode also gives you the ability to zoom, lock focus and exposure points, and use grid lines to compose your shot. Swipe sideways to swipe through the collection of grid patterns. Pinch to call up the slider to use to set your zoom level. Lastly, tap with two fingers to call up focus and exposure points, which you can then drag to move.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

After you have snapped a shot or selected a photo from your iPhone, you can access the customization options for all of the filters. Well, all but ColorVibe, whose look I could not find a way to tweak. For most filters, you can pinch to adjust the intensity of the effect. Two filters -- Throwback and Lomo -- require you to twist with two fingers instead of pinching to customize their look. Also, you can tap the pencil icon on the filter you are previewing to access additional effects: vignette, tilt-shift, burst, and worn. The burst tool is akin to light leaks, and the worn tool adds texture. With each added effect, you can pinch or twist to alter its look.

In addition to the live and customizable filters, there a number of editing tools at your disposal. In edit mode, there are two buttons next to the filter button at the bottom of the screen. One is a one-touch enhance button, while the other lets you crop, straighten, rotate, and flip your photo. Tap the triple-dot button on the right to access four more edit buttons to adjust brightness, contrast, saturation, exposure, white balance, color balance, color levels, and sharpness.

What do you think of the new Flickr iPhone app? Does it bring anything to the table that would have you ditch Instagram or at least use it alongside the current photo-sharing champ? Let your thoughts be known in the comments below.