A powerful new photo editor for iPhone

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1 Review5.0/5
I've known Art for a little while now, and been jealous of his photography skills the entire time. I'll admit, I backed this team before the app was even finished, because Garry Tan + I had that much faith in them, but boy has it delivered. I'm the kind of photographer who knows I should be doing more than just basic instagram filters, but tools like VSCO are way too intimidating. Enter, Priime. It's a gamechanger.
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Hi all! I'm Art Chang, CEO of Priime and photographer. I have a background in Computer Science, web/mobile engineering, and a founder of a couple of previous startups. Photography has always been my passion, and I've photographed for fun and professionally for many years, photographing for companies like PayPal and Land Rover, or just personal work. I have had the amazing opportunity to be part of a great community of photographers, all talented people who I am lucky to be able to call my good friends. With their support, as well as with my talented co-founders who are equally fantastic photographers, we have built the very first version of Priime. Priime is a photo editing app, that recommends filters to use, based on the photo you're editing. The filters are created in collaboration with some of the world's top pro photographers, and are made to give your photos a completely full edit that they use themselves on their own work. The recommendations are powered by a combination of computer vision and machine learning algorithms, trained specifically to pull out photo properties to match on, including exposure, color palette, and even subject matter, which tells us if your photo is a sunset or portrait for example. It's all pretty cool stuff. I really believe that the core of photography is about the people around you, and have always been inspired by what others have created. The collaborative and sharing mentality of a group of talented creatives is an incredibly powerful thing, and Priime is committed to developing that essence into an ever improving product, starting with sharing the photo editing process. I hope you guys find Priime to be useful and fun. We've spent a lot of time with design and polish, as well as re-engineering all the adjustment tools to be more powerful and useful than any we've ever seen on mobile. We couldn't have done this without a good understanding of photography, but more importantly, we couldn't have done this without the support and feedback from the community. So please ask any questions, and share any feedback you have. We will always take any feedback in stride, and believe that without your help, we won't be able to achieve our goals of creating a more sophisticated photo app for everyone.
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@art_chang like I e-mailed you yesterday, I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE this app! Have been using the Beta for the last 2 weeks and used it every day - I haven't even checked them all but I instantly bought all the styles because I know they will be awesome. I tried VSCO a while ago but I hate the registration, think Priime will be bigger :) Good luck!
@art_chang Brilliant approach to photo editing. I like the Filter recommendations, but also being able to fine-tune the image. First discovered it through Thomas Hawk's Blog earlier today.
@bramk Hey Bram! Thanks so much for helping us with your feedback and for trying out the app in Beta. It's been a great journey so far, and without feedback like yours, this wouldn't be possible. So glad you're liking it, we'll make sure we don't disappoint!
@alexkess Hey Alexander, glad you like the recommendations and tuning the images. We're really proud of the tech we built around those two things for sure. Keep us updated on any other feedback you might have! I'm excited about the next steps we're taking!
@art_chang Love Priime and think it's going to beat out VSCO (especially bc of the UX!) ;)
Bought the entire pack of filters within a minute of installing the app. Beautifully done, and congrats to Art and co.
@jjeremycai Hey Jeremy, haha that's so awesome. Glad you like it. Would love to hear your feedback too after you've had more time with it!
@art_chang Will absolutely be providing that. Thanks Art! :)
Congrats on the launch, @art_chang and team. I'm going to play devil's advocate here: do we really need another photo editing app? VSCO, Darkroom, and Manual are just a few "power user" photo-editing apps. Additionally, how does this become a billion dollar company? Very curious how you answered these questions in your YC interview. 😄
@rrhoover Hey Ryan, really great question. There are a lot of photo editing apps out there, and they've been good. I'm a big fan of those other apps, like VSCO, Darkroom, and Manual. They're really well made and created by talented people who know photography. We set out to build Priime to become the app we've always wanted, but not just building a better version of every adjustment tool that we wanted. We wanted to incorporate the power of the human element into post processing, providing stronger filters that would push photos to not just emulate things like Film (VSCO), but to actually get a photo completely edited into the photographic style that was developed by a real person. The community of photographers has really made photography special for me, and I've seen the impact on a lot of people. Aspiring photographers, and inspiring photographers alike, can use the app. It's simple, yet a sophisticated version of what's out there today, without getting too technical. Editing is just the start, there's no limit to what we hope to achieve in making an app that's collaborative, educational, and inspiring. So I see this less as a "power user" tool, but a way for aspiring photographers to get a sophisticated step up from the really basic tools out there, without getting into the technicalities of super pro editing knobs and curves, but also for professionals to enjoy the same simplicities while always maintaining high quality edits right on their phone. Billion dollar company? Editing is just the start. The entire market of emerging photographers is growing, mobile editing is becoming more popular every day. Creating the platform for photographers, starting from composition to publishing, is what we're aiming for, which can easily become the billion dollar company. Easier said than done of course =)
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@rrhoover @art_chang There's honestly so much they can do to expand this & different types of business models they can have, especially considering how many photographers spend thousands and tens of thousands per year on photo-related things! Literally can't wait to see where this goes <3
@rrhoover @art_chang Just wanted to add some perspective from the design side! The general approach to photo editing thus far has been a digitized version of old film developing processes. What that means is lots of advanced knobs and dials. But that's a very specialized thing to become good at. We're trying a different approach, where someone can see a photo and think, "I want my photo to look like that!" Rather than huge lists of anonymous filters to tap endlessly through, Priime styles have names, and personalities, and humans who made them, and galleries. Say you want to take one of those really awesome Pinterest-style photos of your beautiful, minimal white walled apartment or office space. In the world we envision, you don't have to play with knobs, you just put Corner or Cathedral on it, because those already look like what you want. Or maybe you took a trip to the mountains and want it to look like Alex Strohl's amazing work. Priime makes that the first thing you're doing. Yes, we have the adjustment tools because they are still super useful (and fun to play with if you're really into photography like many of us), but we're starting to explore something different. On top of that, to help with discovering the right style to add to your photo, we're using some computer vision and machine learning to match them together. So when you take a photo of a sunset, Priime will show you some styles developed specifically for sunsets. That's just the very first vision and @art_chang went a lot more into the future, but that's something that Priime lets you do now that you can't really get elsewhere.
Absolutely love this. I've been a big fan of vsco cam, but their UI is very clunky and as a result I often get "filter fatigue" when styling my photos. Priimes suggestion feature solves this and the core user flows make it a joy to use. I'd love the hear some more about how the smart filter mechanism works - what data points you use to determine the appropriate suggestion etc Also, dam you Art ! You made me spend $9.99 before breakfast ... ;)
@benjamineevans Hey Benjamin, good question! The suggestions in Priime are meant to help with exactly that, meaning that more styles = better photos, not more styles = more confusing. The photo analysis is a matching algorithm that we developed specifically for Priime. It extracts 56 different features about the photo (this takes a few milliseconds, but should be very fast on most iPhones). Things like dominant colors in the photo, dynamic range, contrast levels, overall brightness, and subject category. We then use machine learning to determine which of the styles available in the app work best with that combination of features. We rank the best 5 of them for you to choose from. We think it produces some nice results now in v1.0, and we're going to be continuing to improve on it in future updates. Thanks for the feedback!
@benjamineevans Hey Benjamin! I'm glad you're liking it. And I bet that'll be one of the best 10 bucks you've ever spent before breakfast ;) I just talked to @joepestro, my co-founder who masterminded the intricacies of the recommendations, and he wants to jump in and answer that part before I can take all the glory. But before he does, in a nutshell we're able to analyze photo properties, like exposure, color palette, and even subject matter (like if the photo is akin to a sunset, portrait, etc) that helps us match on filters. The filter matching is complex... if I keep talking joe will kill me. So I'll let him fill you in on the rest. He's probably better at explaining it anyway.
@benjamineevans @joepestro I really liked the visual extracting process you showed in the explainer video. I wonder if it would be possible to include it in the app, without giving too much away.
@joepestro truly awesome. Thank you for taking the time to explain that. R.e the delay - it's probably a symptom of my terrible connection, but it takes closer to 4 seconds to get suggestions (I'm on an iPhone6+) Keep up the great work guys, I can't wait to see where this takes mobile photography