Caption your pictures with Loudpix

mzl.acqjhmly.320x480-75Loudpix is a new iOS app from independent developer James Morris. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store, and is currently listed in the New section of the store’s Photography category.

Loudpix’s rather straightforward aim is to allow users to take photographs and then embed caption or tagging information into the resulting image file itself rather than sharing that information as plain text on social media. There is no obligation to use the app with social media, nor does it have its own built-in mobile-social network, but the app suggests that users log in to Facebook and/or Twitter upon first starting in order to get the most out of the app.

Using Loudpix is simple. The main screen presents users with just two options: take a new photograph with the camera, or use an image from the camera roll. From here, the user may apply several simple adjustments to the image (brightness, contrast and optionally making the image grayscale) and then move on to adding the captions. Captions may include simple text and optionally also time and date information, location data, Twitter usernames and hashtags. Once the user has entered the information they would like to add to their image, they are shown a preview of how the resulting image will look, and can then share it to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, or simply share it to their camera roll. The image may only be shared to one place at a time rather than submitted to all simultaneously.

Loudpix is, in theory, a sensible idea — being able to add captions that are part of the image is likely to be particularly useful for those who occasionally look back on photos and can’t remember what the context was. However, a few flaws in the way it does things prevent this from being as practical as it could be. For starters, the images may only be square, and the captions crop off part of that square by “letterboxing” the image, which can spoil good composition. Perhaps more serious, though, is the fact that by embedding captions and other metadata as part of the bitmap image rather than separate text, the images actually become less searchable rather than more, since Loudpix does not embed any EXIF information into the PNG files it outputs — largely because PNG files do not support embedded metadata. This means that rather than being able to, say, search Facebook for all photos with a particular tag, the user will instead have to browse through them manually until they find what they are looking for.

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This situation is a little better when sharing to Twitter, as the resulting posts can include hashtags and usernames to make them more easily searchable, but it’s certainly something of a flaw in the design of this app. A better implementation would have perhaps been to not only embed the captions and information in the image itself, but also to include them in the resulting post on social media — or at least to save them in a format that supports embedded EXIF metadata.

Other issues include a lack of user feedback throughout the app. This begins with the “sign in” screen at the beginning, which gives no visual confirmation that the user has successfully signed in to Twitter or Facebook, and continues right up to posting the images to the various networks — again, no confirmation is provided.

As it stands, Loudpix is a decent idea with some execution that needs work. Some users may find it a useful addition to their social photography arsenal, while others may prefer something a little more fully-featured in their virtual camera bag — since the app is free, however, there’s little risk in anyone trying it for themselves, at least. It will be interesting to see how well the developer supports the app with new updates and features over time.

You can follow Loudpix’s progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social apps and developers.