My 8 Favorite Photo Apps
When I began to get serious about taking good pictures with my phone, I realized the days of simply opening up the camera app, clicking away, and posting whatever picture resulted were behind me. Over the past 6-8 months, I’ve tried a wide variety of photo taking, photo editing, and photo modifying apps for iPhone. Here are the ones I keep on my phone (in order of how often I use them):
1. iPhone’s native camera app
I know that many people prefer to use other apps to take their pictures (Camera+ comes to mind), but I use the iPhone’s swipe-up-from-the-lock-screen functionality a lot, so I still use the phone’s native camera. It does what I need it to do, and I haven’t found anything wrong that would motivate me to make a change. Quick tip: learn to use the exposure lock feature. You can double tap the screen to set the exposure manually, then swipe up or down to change it (like a slider).
2. Google Snapseed
This is my go-to photo editing app, and it’s the one that got me started on my journey with iPhone photography. Prior to discovering Snapseed, I wasn’t a photo editor, nor did I really ever think about it. This app is powerful and easy, and I use it on 95% of the photos I post. You have complete control over your images with simple swiping controls, and the app retains your images metadata, meaning the GPS tag will be accurate even after you’ve exported the photo out of Snapseed. Quick tip: don’t be too heavy-handed on the HDR setting; doing so can cause strange halos around your subject and your photos will look garish.
I don’t use the filters on Instagram, but I do post photos just about every day. But in addition to posting photos, I also use the app to engage with other amateur photographers and travelers, and to get inspiration. Many of the new things I do with my photography comes from seeing something that I like on Instagram and wanting to try it out for myself. Quick tip: when you post a photo, tag relevant accounts. For example, when I post a photo from Germany, I will tag German Tourism Office’s official account. This recently resulted in them reposting one of my images from Freiburg!
I’ve only just gotten into take long-exposure photos, but this app seems to be the best. There are a wide array of settings to help you get the best picture possible, from exposure length to blur type and strength. This app also includes important metadata with the photos, such as GPS information. If you haven’t noticed, this is pretty important to me. Quick tip: use a tripod or lean your phone against something to keep it perfectly still. Any movement will ruin a long-exposure photo.
This little known app allows me to take full 360-degree spherical panoramas. The effect is a bit lost outside the app, but when shared within 360, you can view the image by swiping around (left-right & up-down) or by simply moving the phone to “look” around. It’s really cool. I also sometimes use it to simulate a wide-angle lens. Take a 360 panorama, zoom out on the completed image, and take a screen shot. Quick tip: when taking a 360 panorama, keep your phone in one spot and rotate around it (rather than rotating the phone around you); this will reduce splicing or misalignment of subjects. I didn’t do a very good job of this in the pano below.
6. Watermark Pro
I only add watermarks to my images when they are going to be shared by someone else (for example, during an Instagram takeover), but when I do need to add a watermark, this app is my favorite. It has a ton of available fonts, or you can even use your finger to sign your name, and then resize the autograph to fit your image. Quick tip: for fast watermarking, the app will save your last text block; you can use this to (somewhat) quickly add the same signature to many photos.
7. Color Splash
Now we’re really getting down the list. I don’t use this, or the following apps, very often. But I do occasionally, so I’ve included them on the list. Color Splash allows you to create cool pictures by choosing certain elements of the image to be black & white, and others to be in full color. There are so many artistic possibilities with this app. One downside is that metadata (timestamp and GPS information) are reset, so you lose the original data. Quick tip: zoom in as far as you can to be as precise as possible when adding the color back to you photo.
Another one I don’t use often, but it’s my favorite of its type. Moldiv is a collage creation app with tons of different layouts that you can customize by reshaping the frame. You can also add text and stickers. I’ve seen some really cool stuff created with this app, I’m just not very good at it and prefer full size images. Quick tip: use collages to tell a story, rather than simply including images from the same event/day.
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