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Apprageous...'Pic Stitch in time'

School starts in just a few weeks, so by now you've likely taken that summer trip out of town or attended a reunion of some sort. You've probably got a ton of digital photos, and just itching to e-mail a few to your nearest and dearest. That's at least where I typically find myself this time of year. Whether it's a day trip to the monastery near Goldendale, or a few days on Whidbey Island, whenever Joni and I get away her family's always eager to see my pictures of the places we've been. It's nice to have a built-in audience for my photography, but none of them are on social media to speak of. So, when it comes to time to share photos I've in the past e-mailed the photos, usually sending one or two at a time. It can be pretty tedious, time consuming and slow depending on the internet connection of those receiving the pics. Plus, the overall effect of the photos together at one time is lost. This summer, though, I stumbled upon Big Blue Clip's Pic Stitch. The app allows you to quickly and easily place several photos together into one picture or montage. That trip to Whidbey Island this past summer, for example, I used Pic Stitch to place five photos into one image to give a few highlights. Instead of e-mailing 10 meg worth of photos individually to Joni's family, the Pic Stitch I sent was less than one megabyte. Headquartered in Northern California, Big Blue Clip has a host of other photo-related apps such as a collage creator that lets you get even more creative in morphing your pictures into different shapes. I haven't downloaded that app, because I'm still having a ton of fun with Pic Stitch. Maybe it's from working at newspapers all these years, but the way Pic Stitch lets me place my photos reminds me a little bit of the photo pages you see in the Daily Sun News and other papers. It's a quick and easy way to give a professional-looking group display for your photos. What makes this free app even better are all the bells and whistles you can apply to your photos. There are tons of free frames and special add-ons like stickers - basically cartoonish doo-dads - to enhance your photos. You can do the sepia tone bit if you want, or even add text to your photos. But it gets even better. Pic Stitch allows you to edit your photos to improve the lighting of your subject matter or even add some HD magic to your pics. Once you're done, Pic Stitch gives you options to save, e-mail your photo montage or share it on social media via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. There's even an option to ship it directly to Walgreen's for printing, but we lack one of those here in the Lower Valley. I use the free version of Pic Stitch and resisted in-app purchases available such as adding more borders, frames and other odd-sounding effects like "Toy Camera" and "Grunge." Free works fine for my purposes, though be aware that using the no-cost version means you'll see ads at the top of the screen while you're working on Pic-Stitch. Also, when you go to share or save the photo grouping a full-screen ad will appear that can then easily be closed. Pic Stitch is available on IOS and Windows mobile devices. Users give it a 4.5 rating out of five stars. A word of caution: I noticed there is also an app called Pic Stitch in the Android app store. But it's posted by someone who goes by "humptydumpty." It has a rating of 3.5 and is not the same Pic Stitch profiled here. I use Pic Stitch regularly. There are something like 40 or 50 photo combinations you can use without anteing up - unless you want to choose from the rest of the 250 or so combinations available. It's all about choices with Pic Stitch...and my suggestion is to choose this app.

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