Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement
Photo Punch is a fun, whimsical app that lets you combine elements from and add effects to photos. It's nowhere near the most powerful photo-effects app on the market, but it is really good at a few specific functions.
Everything starts with a "Punch Shot," which is essentially a cut-out foreground element of a photo. You can cut out people, objects, and pretty much anything else from a photo, and save them to your Punch Shot folder, to be pasted onto a background at your convenience. This means you can do things like put yourself on a beach or place funny objects in your hand. The possibilities are endless. And once you're done, you can share your finished photos with other Photo Punch users, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
To create a Punch Shot, just hit the Punch button, pick a photo (or take a new one), and start tracing around the object you want to cut out. The more accurate you are here, the better, as once you're done tracing, Photo Punch's autoselection feature will kick in and make adjustments to improve your selection. This is Photo Punch's biggest selling point.
While I was impressed by Photo Punch's autoselection feature, I did notice some of its weaknesses. As expected, it had particular difficulty tracing foreground items that closely matched (in color) their background. Also, I found the manual fine-tuning tools to be unpredictable and difficult to use. Still, even with these problems, I'm convinced that Photo Punch's magical autoselection did a lot better than I could have using just my finger and my touch screen.
When your Punch Shot is ready, choose a photo to paste it on. You can choose one of Photo Punch's generic backgrounds, pull one from your own gallery, or even find one on the Web with the built-in search tool.
One thing I noticed is that you can only add three Punch Shots to a single background. After that, the app seems to break down and close -- or at least it did so for me. In fact, I experienced several such forced shutdowns while using the app, which made the whole thing incredibly frustrating.
Lastly, Photo Punch does more than just create Punch Shots. It lets you add borders, filters, or even clip-art-like images like sunglasses and mustaches to your photos. One thing the app is missing, though, is adjustment sliders, similar to Photoshop's. Sliders for things like color, brightness, and saturation would be help significantly in blending pasted foreground items with their new backgrounds.
Overall, Photo Punch seems like it has tremendous potential. Its autoselection capability isn't perfect, but it works fairly well, and the app's interface is straightforward. At the same time, I do have to give the app low marks for its poor performance, as it froze and force-closed several times while I attempted to use it.