Symmetry is beautiful in Mirrorgram

Mirrorgram is a new free iOS photography application from StageBloc, Inc. It’s currently listed in the “New and Noteworthy” section on the front page of the App Store.

Mirrorgram is, as its name suggests, a photography app that centers around the idea of symmetry. Users are able to either apply a “mirroring” effect to a picture from their camera roll, or in real-time via the built-in camera.

By pressing and holding on the screen, users may move the “mirror” around to various positions, allowing for the creation of horizontal, vertical, diagonal and four-way lines of symmetry. The “mirror” may also be removed entirely by tapping with two fingers on the screen.

Once a photograph has been taken — with or without the mirror — it may then have a number of Instagram-style filters applied to it and an optional circular or linear “tilt-shift” effect applied to it. At this point, the user may advance to the “share” screen, at which point it can be captioned, tagged with a “#mirrorgram” hashtag and then shared to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and/or StageBloc’s own service. The photo may also optionally be saved to the device. Twitter functionality uses iOS 5+’s built-in social features, while Facebook requires login via the external app. Meanwhile, Instagram compatibility uses iOS’ “Open With…” feature to send the picture to the relevant external app — which must be installed beforehand. It’s a slightly clumsy implementation which could do with some refinement, better integration and consistency, but it does at least work.

Unfortunately, there appeared to be a fairly major flaw in the app when tested — it crashed absolutely every time I attempted to advance to the “share” screen whenever the tilt-shift function was applied. The filters worked absolutely fine without issue, but without fail, attempting to apply the tilt-shift effect in either form triggered a crash when attempting to advance to the “share” interface. Consequently, this part of the app is completely useless and should probably be removed or at least fixed in an update very soon. App Store reviewers have been negatively rating the app based on this frequent crashing, which probably isn’t helping public perception of its quality.

It’s a shame, because Mirrorgram is otherwise a very well put together app with a simple but intuitive interface, responsive gestural controls and good quality output. If it wants to enjoy long-term success, though, StageBloc need to fix the tilt-shift function as soon as possible. While they’re fixing the crashing issue, it would also be beneficial for them to add the facility to move the focal point of the tilt-shift effect, too — other photo processing apps already offer this facility for added compositional flexibility, so it would be good to see it here, too.

Ultimately, then, Mirrorgram is an app with a lot of potential that hasn’t quite been realized yet. There’s a good-quality app that deserves a place on photography-minded iOS users’ devices struggling to get out, but the base experience needs some significant fixes before it’s ready for primetime. StageBloc may also wish to consider means of monetizing the app directly such as by selling filters or additional effects via in-app purchase.

Mirrorgram is an app to check back on in an update or two, then, but one to give a miss for now.