Get photo filters from professional photographers with Priime

iPhone photo app Priime serves up professional-grade photo filters to give your Instagram feed a more varied look.

Matt Elliott Senior Editor
Matt Elliott is a senior editor at CNET with a focus on laptops and streaming services. Matt has more than 20 years of experience testing and reviewing laptops. He has worked for CNET in New York and San Francisco and now lives in New Hampshire. When he's not writing about laptops, Matt likes to play and watch sports. He loves to play tennis and hates the number of streaming services he has to subscribe to in order to watch the various sports he wants to watch.
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Matt Elliott
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Instagram added five new filters at the end of last year, bringing its total to 24. If you find yourself using the same handful of Instagram's filters, however, then take a look at Priime, a new iPhone photo app that serves up 74 photo filters inspired by professional photographers. Priime -- with two i's -- is free, though most of the filters require an in-app purchase. You get eight filters for free, while the other 66 are 99 cents each or $9.99 | £7.99 | AU$12.99 for the lot of them.

But I already spend too much time choosing from among Instagram's two dozen filters. Why would I want to throw open the doors and let 74 new photo filters into my life? Great question; glad you asked. Priime seeks to reduce overwhelming you with choice by suggesting five filters after analyzing your photo based on a number of aspects including its color palette, brightness, contrast, season and location. Sadly, the app doesn't share the details of its photo analysis for your photos. Instead, Priime simple states the general parameters in its introductory screens when you first launch the app.

After installing the app and letting it access your photos, it opens a grid of thumbnails of your All Photos folder. By tapping the All Photos label at the top, you can select another of your folders in the Photos app to view. Tap on a thumbnail to load a photo in Priime for editing. You cannot snap a shot with Priime.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

In editing mode, you'll see four buttons along the bottom: Style, Adjust, Compose and History. The Style button contains the filters, including the five suggested. The My Styles collection contains the free filters and any you purchased, while the All collection features all unlocked and locked filters. The My Styles and All collections become redundant should you plunk down the $10 to unlock all of the app's filters.

When applying a filter, tap the Adjust button to call up a slider to tweak the intensity of the filter, just as you can now with Instagram. The Info button shows you a description of the filter, suggestions for the types of situations and settings for which it's useful, and sample photographs from the photographer who inspired the filter. You can also get this same info from tapping on the filter's thumbnail after selecting it instead of the Info button.

The Adjust button features 11 tools to edit your photo that are very similar to Instagram's offerings, while the Compose button lets you rotate and straighten your photo. The History button shows you a list of your edits and lets you return to a point in your history before you made a regretful edit. One tool missing that I wish was included in the Compose menu is a cropping tool.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Priime lets you save an edited photo to your photo library or save a copy, should you want to keep the original alongside it. An edits made it Priime, however, are non-destructive and can be undone in Priime or the Photos app. There is also an option to open a photo from Priime in Instagram, though any photo exported this way starts you off with a #priime in the caption area, which can be deleted, of course, before posting.

You can work with non-square photos in Priime, but without a cropping tool, you can't select which part of it Instagram will select when you send it from Priime to Instagram and its square format.

So, the big question remains: is Priime's filter collection worth the $10? (And the price may increase since current pricing is described as a "launch sale.") Unfortunately, the short answer is, "It depends." For heavy Instagram users who feel their creativity is being stifled by Instagram's quiver of filters, then I'd say Priime is worth the money. I found Priime's filters to be subtle and varied enough to be useful and interesting. To casual and occasional Instagrammers, I'd say keep your money and dig into Instagram's editing tools that let you customize your photos beyond simply choosing a filter.