Monday, July 22, 2013

iPhoneography and the Best iPhone Photo Apps to Date

A while ago, I discussed the validity of iPhone photos, and it has since gone on to be my most-read entry by far.  This highlights the fact that "iPhoneography" is real and it is here to stay.  There is a consistent and intense argument over the staying power of the iPhone itself, but in the many years since it was introduced, its popularity has hardly seen a dent, so it seems safe to say that the technology will be around for a while.  Every day, new apps are made to increase the ease of use and its range of capabilities, and it sees no greater development than in regards to its camera.  Cell phone cameras are no joke these days, with all the available software out there, as well as all the adjustable lenses and filters!

And don't forget all the great things you can do after you have taken an image and played around with it.  For example, you can upload directly to a number of printers, like Walgreens, and have your photos ready to go within an hour.  Shoot, design and print, all from your phone...? I love technology!

I would like to especially thank Mr. Edward Baldwin of the Maui Camera Club for introducing me to some of these wonderful apps and letting me share some of his fabulous suggestions.  Mahalo!

* designates my favorite apps/hardware.

© Manfrotto

*The All-in-One

Looking for the best Christmas present ever for your favorite iPhoneographer?  Look no further than the Manfrotto Klyp.  Besides looking cool, it is cool.  Case, app, light, hardware, tripod, oh my.  Be warned: once seen, it cannot be unseen (have credit card ready in hand). 

Camera Manager/Interface

Camera+: a suite of basic camera controls; functions that stand out are "photo flashlight," which allows you to use the flash as continuous fill light for your photos, and digital zoom with a stabilizer function, for those super-crisp macros.

ProCamera: a favorite for many users.  It has a timer!

Apple iPhoto: an in-house gem, particularly nice for the iPad.  It has great slideshow and photo journal functions.  A good bet, because they will often update to keep up with the competition.

*645 Pro: a comprehensive camera interface, looks like the real deal.  It shoots in (unprocessed image data) "dRAW," and you can save to .tiff for high-fidelity files. Or, use PureShot for a simpler process.

Adjustment Software and Editing

*Olloclip (lenses and software): consistently the highest-rated add-on iPhone lenses.  There are many options, like macro, fish-eye, wide-angle, telephoto, and even polarizing filters to get those lovely skies and reflection-free photos.  Use the case and the add-ons for even further fun.  The software helps to correct distortions and to sharpen macro photos.

SnapSeed: this is another fan-favorite.  It has some fantastic filters, and for those view-camera fans, it does tilt-shift blur.  It sports a great interface with nifty effects all in one.

Photoshop Touch: not the best yet, but considering its big brother, one day it will be, so learning to use it early may have its rewards.  You can use some of the core Photoshop tools, and in a familiar "layer" format.  Export to the Creative Cloud to use later with additional editing software.  You can also try Photoshop Express for a speedier, easier version, sort of like Photoshop Elements for your iPhone.  My favorite tool from both of these is the dodge and burn, something I've been wanting to be able to do to iPhone photos for ages!

FX Photo Studio: another fan favorite.  Some cool filters and effects, for a very cheap price.

After Light: nothing fancy about this one except for the fact that they have the best algorithm for adding light to your photos and lightening up dark images.  Worth it even if just for this one function.

Slow Shutter Cam: slow down the shutter speed to create slowed-down effects or to capture more in low light.

*TouchRetouch: content-aware removal of unwanted items from your iPhone photos? No problem!  This app is really, really, really good.  

Add Text and Graphics

*Shapely: frame your photos into different shapes for a unique look, and add color, textures, patterns, and graphics to any shape.  The sharing function is easy to use.  

Word Swag: adds text in a variety of fonts and designs.

Path On: add text to a photo using a path (similar to Illustrator).  Use a wide variety of fonts or designs.

FxCamera: most of it is kind of generic, but its cool feature is called Voice Picture, where you can add sound (sort of like a caption), to any photo.  Cool!

Color Apps for Designers

Adobe Kuler: generate color palettes.  Sync your images with their palettes to the Adobe Creative Cloud for further use in other applications.  

ColorSnap by Sherwin Williams: I raved about this app just last week.  I still can't get enough of it.  Use your images on-the-go to get RGB numbers for use in editing applications.  

Create Shapes

Kaleido Lens: a camera add-on that lets you turn photos into kaleidoscopes.  You can rotate your camera to create images that have different colors or patterns.

PicStitch: take a collection of images and turn them into a collage.  Many designs available.  

Black and White

Camera Noir: deep, dense and contrasty photos.  The best quick app for black and white conversion.  
Shutter Cam: slow down the shutter speed to create slowed-down effects or to capture more in low light.


Here's a few products to take your iPhoneography even higher:

Gorillapod: the best "tripod" product for iPhone out there.  Check out all the different varieties.

Pocket Spotlight: an LED fill-light for your iPhone!  (!!!) Easy to charge using USB.

Shutter Remote: for triggering exposures with no camera shake, or for when you want to be in the photo.

Camalapse: a rotating stand for time-lapse photos.

Glif: a classic product, and always useful.  Helps for impromptu propping up of iPhone for shooting or for viewing.

iPhone as Supplementary Hardware

Developers out there are also recognizing the innate ability of the iPhone to function as support technology for larger, more complex systems.  They have made it more accessible and cheaper for serious photographers to get their hands on technology and processes that raises the bar on their level of photography.  A few of the more outstanding examples:

CamRanger: allows you to wirelessly control Canon and Nikon DSLRs with your iPhone or iPad.  It requires an additional piece of hardware, but it is remarkable for a variety of uses such as HDR, time-lapse, focus stacking, and more.

*ioShutter:  I have raved about this product before.  It hardwires your iPhone to your DSLR; think of it as an advanced shutter release for your camera.  You have a variety of controls, including the ability to "clap to snap," or have the iPhone direct your camera to take a photo using sound as the trigger.  It is a popular pick for photogs who want to do star trails.  Speaking of star trails, check out the Star Chart for a real-time locator (and identifier) of celestial objects, and Star Walk, another favorite.

The Photographer's Ephemeris (TPE): this app allows you to plan shoots outside in natural light; it's a "map-centric sun and moon coordinator," for every place on earth at any time during the day.

Additional Sites to Check Out

Favorite these sites so that you can always know when new, fabulous apps and products are released.


Adorama iPhone Toolshed



The best part of iPhoneography is that new stuff is coming out all the time, so you never know what else might pop up next.  Keep an eye out, exciting!


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