Apply incredible magic filters to your photos

Are the photographs that you take with your digital camera or smartphone dull and lifeless? If so, you can make them much more impressive by adding filters that apply special effects. A free app in the Windows Store is all you need to create impressive photographs that will wow your friends.

If you have Windows 8, you have SkyDrive built in to the operating system and this provides online storage that is mirrored on your PC. If you then put the SkyDrive app on your phone (Android and iPhone versions are available), it will automatically upload every shot you take to the online storage. This is then synced to your PC and you can then load it into a photo editor and enhance it.

There are lots of photo editors to choose from, but let us take a look at a modern one called Magic Photo Filter Effects Plus *. It’s a long name and has a strange star at the end, so I’ll just call it Magic Photo.

1 Install the app

Open the Windows Store by clicking the tile on the Start screen. The easiest way to find the app is to search for it. Enter ‘Magic Photo’ into the search box at the top right of the screen and then click Magic Photo in the search results. Click the Install button to download it and install it.

 Magic Photo Filter Effects Plus

2 The Start screen

Go to the Start screen by pressing the Windows key on the keyboard. New apps do not appear as tiles by default and you must add them. Go down to the bottom right corner and click the down arrow.

 Magic Photo Filter Effects Plus

3 Pin to Start

A long list of apps is displayed and when you find Magic Photo, right click it and select Pin to Start. This makes it easier to access.

 Magic Photo Filter Effects Plus

4 Move the tile

The tile will probably end up somewhere over to the right, so click and drag it to wherever you want it. Right click it and the Resize option lets you select the tile size.

 Magic Photo Filter Effects Plus

5 Run Magic Photo

Click the Magic Photo tile and you will see a screen like this. In the centre is a square, a circle and a folder icon. Click it to load a photo for editing.

 Magic Photo Filter Effects Plus

6 Browse and open

Browse the folders and photographs on the computer and find the one you want to edit. Click it and then click the Open button. Navigating the disk is a bit clumsy in Start screen apps, but that is Windows 8’s fault and not the app’s. It’s not too difficult to find the photo you want though.

 Magic Photo Filter Effects Plus

7 Browse the filters

Here we have loaded a photo and it can be seen in the large area on the right. On the left is a list of filter categories and just to the right of this is a series of thumbnails. These show the effect of the filter.

 Magic Photo Filter Effects Plus

8 Apply a filter

Click a filter to see how the photo will look. You can explore all the categories and try lots of different filter effects. None have any lasting effect until you click the Apply button in the bottom right corner. (Refresh reloads the original photograph.)

 Magic Photo Filter Effects Plus Magic Photo Filter Effects Plus

9 Experiment

Not all filters suit all photos and if you apply a filter to every photo then people will become tired of the effect. Try to use them only occasionally and then use a filter that suits the subject, like black and white in the steam train photo above. Here is another example, this time applying some colour effects.

 Magic Photo Filter Effects Plus Magic Photo Filter Effects Plus

10 Apply and save


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Remember that a filter effect only sticks when you click the Apply button. After applying it, you can click the Save button in the bottom left corner and save it to disk. The original photo is unaffected – you should always keep the originals when photo editing and save modified versions with a new name.

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