Much has been written about all of the “must-have” iPhone apps for Photographers, probably thousands since the phone’s launch..so what’s one more right? I often find myself wandering around the App store constantly checking the new release tab for the latest and greatest tools for iPhoneography. Disappointingly, I find myself deleting most of the new apps within minutes after a test run and going back the few that I can’t even fathom living without.
Years ago when I first discovered that the most popular camera on Flickr was an iPhone, although I completely understood, I was still shocked. I’ve been using Apple computers since the late 80’s, and if Apple made a camera- well I’d be the first person to have one..but wait, they kinda do and you can make phone calls from it.
Through my years of iPhone ownership, I’ve realized that I can do just about everything with my iPhone’s 2mp camera that I can do with my $2000 Canon 50D and the close to $8,000 I’ve invested into other cameras, and lenses over the years – all from one very small device. I’ve found an App for just about all aspects of Photography and that’s what makes it such a great universal tool. One of my favorite photography quotes for anyone moaning right about now, “Amateurs worry about sharpness. Professionals worry about sales, and Photographers worry about light.” Enough with the sappy stuff, on to the list of 10 great iPhone Apps that no Photographer should be without.
Hipstamatic starts at $1.99 for their basics. I hate to say basics because it’s so much and you could just use the standard lenses and film without ever buy an additional “HipstaPak.” Plus, they are always releasing “freepaks’ to add to bulk up your collection. Some of my MOST favorite pictures within the last 3 years have been made using this application. It’s low-fi toy camera effects are often dreamy, colorful, and unpredictable.
Incredibooth will set you back .99¢ but it’s like having an old school photo booth in your pocket! The app is designed by the creatives at Synthetic, the Hipstamatic people. The app currently has four different film modes to choose from. You press the big red button after adjusting your eye level and in seconds the camera fires 4 times and then spits out a that strip of photos that we’ve all had tacked up on our wall at some point. You and your 3 friends laughing your butts off as you try and cram into the frame and get a seat in that tiny booth. All that’s missing is the smell of chemicals.
Photosynth by Microsoft, is a free app that puts stunning, effortless Panoramic Photography at your fingertips. It’s an automated process that anyone can use and the results are gorgeous. You can view the entire scene in the application, uploaded it to their online service, share on Facebook, or view it from your camera roll. I have tried MANY tedious panorama app’s and was very happy to find this one when it released this year.
Photo Treats is a recent discovery, and will cost you all of nothing. It’s aim is to spruce up your photos with fun and color filters like Hipstamatic and lot’s of other apps but the effects are good, some subtle, some dramatic. You can purchase a few more in-app but you get more free filters than ones you pay for.
Diptic, another free and quite delicious app for creating diptychs! You can actually use 2, 3 or 4 different pictures in one frame. The app is fully functional with no in-app expenses and ties into a Flickr group. You can use photos from your Flickr and Facebook accounts as well as the camera, and your camera roll albums.
Photoshop Express gives you some of the best in-phone editing tools at your fingertips, for free. Supports both the camera roll, and the camera. The features include: cropping, exposure adjustment, saturation, tint, converting to black & white, contrast controls, rotating, straightening, creative effects, borders and MORE! Thank you Adobe.
Polarize converts your photos into fake polaroids, complete with added contrast effects and access to a community on Flickr right in the application and it doesn’t cost a dime.
Tiltshift lets you add a true to life, dramatic tilt-shift effect to any photo that you can snap. When the app first launched you could import from your camera roll, a few updates later and that is now a premium feature. Along with the selective focus you can add vignetting, control contrast/sharpness and saturation.
DXP doesn’t cost a cent and is the only multiple exposure app that I’ve tested. I’ve never had a reason to try another. You can shoot or import photos and they overlay each other in app. You can change the different composite modes (there are 8) to have full control over your multiple exposure and then save your results. The only downside to DXP is that it’s a little slower than I’m used to, but not unbearable in the slightest.
Lego Photo is a free fun app takes your picture and changes it to look likeit was built with Lego’s. There are 10 different color schemes to experiment with. Messing with this app for a white has taught me that it works best with close up full frame portraits with good light or subjects with not so much detail.
A word about Instagram. There’s bound to be some one who is banging their head up against a wall as to why I didn’t include Instagram on my list. My husband is way into it, and the app is okay but I don’t really consider it to be an iPhone app for Photography. The problem I found is it seems to me to be more of a social media/sharing outlet than an tool for people shooting with their iPhone. The majority of the pictures I always see are people uploading photos taken with different cameras, applying one of the filters and sharing. I put Instagram in the same category with the Flickr, or Photobucket apps, even though they don’t include filter effects.