[iOS] Shapely takes ordinary photos and imbues them with charm and whimsy

mzl.oqgcjqmx.320x480-75If I had to guess how many apps on the App Store have something to do with photography, I’d guess, conservatively, around 8,000. I have no idea how far off I am, but the fact remains that the App Store is positively glutted with camera apps, filters, frames, and other photo editor tools. It’s hard for an app to stand out in this category, but a simple little photo framing app called Shapely recently grabbed my full attention.

What is it and what does it do

Main Functionality

Shapely is basically an app that creates stunning frames to enhance your favorite photos. You can choose from existing templates or create one-of-a-kind designs. Frames, borders, patterns, textures, and colors are combined to create whimsical, charming photo creations.


  • Lets you create truly gorgeous frames that really make your photos pop
  • Excellent interface with a menu system that is simple to navigate
  • Pinch and drag controls let you perfectly situate your photo in its frame
  • Great for creating portraits, scrapbook pages, or event invitations
  • Multiple ways to share your creations: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Email and Clipboard
  • No ads!


  • Out of nearly 100 possible frame options, only 24 are free with download (likewise, only a fraction of available background images are free with download). A Pro upgrade will set you back $1.99.
  • Pinch and drag controls are intuitive, but actually moving the image using these gestures feels a bit laggy and choppy


In a photography app, it’s all about the final result. In the case of Shapely, the final product looks stunning. There are some really great designs here, and the overall look is very charming and whimsical. There’s also a ton of flexibility, so you can create the perfect frame and border combo to offset the inherent beauty of your favorite photographs.

Overall, the interface is quite easy to navigate. The tools are well-organized throughout. The pinch and drag controls are responsive, but I wish that I could use them on all parts of the image and template. There were parts of some templates that I wanted to be able to rotate 360 degrees, or pinch down into a smaller size.

I was also slightly disappointed with the laggy, choppy way that the image responded when it was being manipulated. The app did not crash at all during testing, however.

If you want to unlock this app’s full potential and get access to all of the borders and fills, you’ll need to upgrade from within the app. It’ll only cost you a couple of bucks, though it’s not clear if that fee is a one-time deal to unlock the extra content, or if you’ll need to pay another fee at a later date to unlock any future “packs” that are released.

Conclusion and download link

People spend tons of time making their photos look great with just the right filters…why shouldn’t they spend just as much time to create a worthy frame for their work? With tons of customization options, Shapely is a really good tool for making your photos pop.

Price: Free

Version reviewed: 1.1

Supported OS: Requires iOS 6.0 or later.

Download size: 35.8 MB

Shapely on Apple App Store

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