Given I've been mentioning, praising, and using Priime so frequently as of late, and that from time to time I get questioned about my photography workflows, I thought I might offer a brief walkthrough of the app and how I use it. Hopefully it re-highlights how nice the app is, how lovely its photographer-created styles are, and how I don't actually spend a lot of time editing images — thanks in large part to doing most of my work in applications that allow for the syncing and bulk editing of edits including Lightroom on the Mac, VSCO, and more recently — Priime.
01. Getting Started
As we mentioned in our review of Priime, the best way to really enjoy using it is by biting the bullet and purchasing all of its available styles (Prime-speak for filters or presets). Priime currently makes this easy with a $9.99 bundle (launch sale price) that includes all current and future styles. Priime does include a handful of styles for free, so if you really can't swing 10 bucks, you can get by, but you'll be limited in your options and those limits will hinder your editing enjoyment.
02. Choosing An Image
The editing process begins by selecting an image from the "Photos" page. A dropdown menu at the center top of the page allows you to pick an image from the various folders in your camera roll including your newly created Priime folder. Some controls worth noting here:
- If you have an iPhone 6s/6s Plus, take advantage of Peek and Pop here — super handy for considering a photo to edit and then popping into it.
- At the bottom right of the Photos page is a "-/+" option for reducing and enlarging your thumbnail view
- At the top right a "Select" button allows for multiple selections. You'll use this for deleting several photos at a time, and more likely — pasting edits onto multiple photos.
03. Initial Edits
So you've selected a photo, let's start editing. My first step is cropping and straightening if necessary, both easily done with Priime's effective and easily grasped set of crop tools.
Next it's time to make some basic image adjustments. Because you'll be applying a preset afterwards, don't spend too much time here now, since some of this work will be undone by your filter. For me the focus here is to adjust the image's brightness to the desired degree and to correct any blown highlights. Note than you can pinch to zoom your image prior to selecting an editing option, but not while using the option itself — an annoyance hopefully corrected in a future update. After making these two adjustments, it's time to find and apply a style.
Pro Tip: Pressing and holding on the image reveals its original state. Simply let go to return to its edited state.
04. So Many Styles
Styles are of course, your whole reason for using Priime, and assuming you've taken my advice and have downloaded all of them (98 by my count), or even some of them, it can admittedly be a bit overwhelming. Priime helps navigate this confusion to some degree by providing a way to filter them (via dropdown menu) by "Suggested", "Mine", "Favorites", "All", "Author", and "Categories". I really like starting with suggested, which offers 5 styles based on Priime's profile of your image's color and content. I'd say the results are 50/50, but many times Priime offers something here that's quite nice, plus this is a great way to find new styles to add to your favorites. After trying "Suggested" I usually move straight to "Favorites" which leads me to my next point: It pays to spend some time with Priime prior to this selecting favorites.
My suggestion is to take 3-5 photos to start with (different subjects and lighting), tap your way through Priime's styles, and mark off faves as you find them. Favoriting is done by pressing "Faves" below the style options (not the heart above the image — that button adds the photo to your camera roll's favorites folder) and it immediately adds an easy to spot "star" to the style making the style easy to find in the future. Because the reality is there will be many styles you will never be attracted to, spending this time on a handful of photos when you first start playing with Priime will provide you with a more manageable set of options going forward. You can always explore additional styles later — the easiest way: by taking cues from the "Suggested" choices.
Regardless of how you end up filtering your styles, the next step is actually choosing a style. Of course this relies largely on the aesthetic synergy between image, style, and your own personal taste (note that tapping twice on a style pulls up a style's info card with suggested usage and example photos). Technical issues to watch out for when selecting a style include blown highlights, crushed shadows, and saturation hot spots — you'll want to avoid these when possible.
Once you've got a style you like, press the "adjust" button to dial it down a bit. This is especially helpful if the style introduces the aforementioned technical issues, but it also helps to improve the subtle-ness of your edits, usually a good thing.
Pro Tip: Priime makes this process of cycling through styles faster by automatically centering the selected style: keep your finger just to the right of center to facilitate rapid tapping through the various styles.
05. Final Edits
Style now applied, it's time to finish this edit up with some last minute tweaking. Here I usually make a straight run through most of the options, making sure to correct highlights and shadows, usually lowering the contrast of overly contrast-y styles, adjusting image temperature with warmth and tint, adding sharpness (especially on landscapes), more than a pinch of vignette, and lately — some amount of fade. Structure is best avoided in photos of people, but works with well images of architecture and landscape. Again, at least with version 2.0, you'll need to remember to pinch-to-zoom before selecting a specific editing tool — critically important with structure and sharpen settings.
Pressing the rewind icon just to the right of styles lets you view and return to previous steps in your editing process, including the original state. It's important to note that jumping back to a past edit and and working on top of it with a new edit eliminates the rest of the history after that point, like pruning a tree — you can't get those clippings back — so if you really like your edit, use the "Save Copy" option (discussed next) to keep it before choosing a different path.
First up, if you like the image and want to save it to your favorites folder in the camera roll, hit the heart button at the top of Priime. Now to the share options:
- Instagram (with Hashtags): If the "copy hashtags to clipboard" toggle is enabled, this option brings the image over to Instagram and allows you to (manually) paste the relevant Priime hashtags (#Priime and #"style") to Instagram's "Share to" page.
- Share: The standard iOS share sheet with options to your relevant apps, possibly including VSCO's share extension, Instagram, Twitter, Metapho (to scrub EXIF), and the camera roll.
- Save Copy: Saves a "flat" (no history) version of the image to the camera roll.
- Save: Saves a copy with history, important for our final step.
08. Copy and Paste
Roughly equivalent to Lightroom's "sync settings", copy and paste offers two possibilities. The first obviously is to borrow the hard work you've put into one edit, and apply it to photos taken from the same series of photos, be it a photo burst, or an evening in the park. The second and possibly more important usage: the ability to keep a preset around that you can apply to any photo. By far most of the editing I do is accomplished in this way: Take photo, open Priime, find "preset", copy edits, paste edits to new photo. If I have to make minor adjustments — fine — I've still saved considerable time and have a beautiful edit, what could be better?
Now that I've sold you on the concept, copying and pasting edits in Priime can happen two ways:
- With an individual image open, tap the ellipsis at the top upper-right corner and select "copy". Open your next image, tap the ellipsis again and select "paste."
- For multiple images, you have to work from the select photos page. Tapping "Select" in the upper right corner allows you to then select multiple images — confusing, because you only need to hit the one photo that you wish to copy edits from. Tap your desired copy source and press "copy edits" from the bottom right corner. Note that immediately after pressing, "copy edits" becomes "paste edits" and confusingly your source photos is still selected. Regardless leave the original selected while additionally selecting your desired paste targets. All that's left to do is press "paste edits" and you're all set — images nicely edited, time nicely saved.
Pro Tip: copies in Priime 2.0 don't appear to be sticky beyond a given camera roll folder so if you copy an edit in your Priime folder, it disappears if you try to paste it to a photo in your favorites folder. In other words, copy and paste on multiple selections happens inside one camera roll folder — plan accordingly.
That's our walkthrough on Priime — it does have a couple of workflow quirks, but they're easily tolerated, likely to be addressed in future updates (in particular image positioning and zoom during edits), and I think well worth the results the small investment in time and money in Priime provides.