apps

What are your must have iPhone photography apps? by Neil Alexander

A couple of years back I wrote a post titled "4 Photography Apps I couldn't live without" revolving around the Samsung Galaxy S2 Android handset that I had at the time. Since seeing the error in my ways, and going back to Apple, I now have an iPhone 5 and felt I ought to share some of the key apps for photography that I use on a regular basis.

HDR Pro - £1.49

I love this app and I use it a lot. It offers far more flexibility than Apple's HDR offering and produces far better images, in my opinion. This HDR app works by taking a photograph exposed for the shadows (the dark bits of the scene) and an exposure for the highlights (the lighter areas) and merges them together to produce a more evenly balanced image. You can then go into the sliders to adjust the brightness, contrast, saturation etc and also add filters and frames within in the app itself. the See below for examples. 



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Pro Camera - £2.99 

There are so many features in this camera app that I just can't go into them all. The main one for me is that in Export mode, you can separate focus and metering - meaning that you can drag to a point on the screen that you want your focus point to be, and then drag a separate point over to a an area that you want to use to meter the scene. This provides much more control over the image you take.

Other features such as burst mode and a digital spirit level make this my go to camera of choice.

Camera! Awesome - £ Free

This app is up there in my regular go-to list primarily because if the filters, textures and presets it offers. I rarely share direct from any app (see below why) however the ability to tweak images in this make it a very nifty little program for adding some artistic styling.

The Photographer's Ephemeris - £5.99

This has been a must have for planning dawn and dusk shooting for some time. You drag a pin onto the area you want to shoot and you can see what track the sun and moon will take over the course of the day and where they will rise and set. And that's just the basics.

Resizer - £1.49 

As a result of the changes to copyright and all this orphan work's nonsense I now no longer share anything on the internet larger than 800px. Unfortunately the majority of the apps on the iPhone for sharing photographs just don't offer the ability to shrink down an image before you upload it. Using this lil' fella trimming down is a very simply task but an extra step nonetheless. It would be nice if there were a camera app that would incorporate this step and the next one.

Marksta - £1.49

For the same reasons that I now use Resizer above, I use this. Once set up, I can add a copyright watermark to a resized image and it's ready to share. It takes a little messing around to get the text and style that you want, but once you've done it, using it again and again is as simple as it gets.

So there you go. 6 iPhone photography apps that I couldn't live without. Have I missed any? Are there any that you use religiously? Feel free to share in the comments below.

Tara for now.

Neil

4 Photography Apps I couldn't live without by Neil Alexander

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About a month or so back, I decided for one reason or another that it was time to change up my mobile handset and after careful deliberation discarded my trusty iPhone 4 and bought a Samsung Galaxy SII running the Android OS. One of this particular handset's biggest selling points for me was the camera. It's fantastic. It's so user friendly and the level of control afforded to the user is just as good as having a low-end point and shoot in your pocket. It has features like white balance adjustment, exposure compensation, macro focus, a self-timer,manual ISO (up to 800), vibration reduction, gps-tagging, and many more.

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It also became apparent very quickly that whilst the majority of the apps that I used on my iPhone & iPad were available on Android; Evernote, Nozbe, Docs To Go, Dropbox, Spotify, Audible and others, there were some notable exceptions especially on the photography front. One of my most used on the iPhone was Pro HDR Camera, and I was pleasantly surprised to see this on the Android marketplace. I was even happier once I'd installed it. On this handset, this app flies. I don't have the iPhone anymore so I can't do side by side testing, but I'd hazard a guess that on the S2, Pro HDR will process an image in around 1/4 of the time that the iPhone 4 did, if not faster. In fact, every app flies on this handset to be honest. So to my list, as the title of this post demands: (I could really have gone to town on this and done the 20 or so apps that I can't live without, but I figured simple is best. So it's 4. But they're the ones I use all the time.

Pro-HDR-Camera

1) Has to be Pro HDR Camera.

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Camera-Zoom-FX

2) Next up is an app that's new to me so I'm still experimenting. Camera Zoom FX extends the functionality of the default camera app even further by offering manual focus, continuous focus (for video), burst mode, time-lapse, voice activation and more. The FX part of the name refers to a bunch of extras that can be added to the app which I've not quite got my head round yet, but by default framing, vignetting and a whole raft of Instagram-esque filters are included too.

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Torch-Flashlight

3) Third on the list is so simple, and it's not technically a photography app, but I use it a LOT. It's called simply "Torch - Flashlight", and it does exactly what it says, but the beauty is that the little flash on the back of this SII is so powerful that this app turns the phone into a very useful emergency torch - much brighter than the iPhone 4. Only last weekend I was up in the Peak District, about a mile from the road down a boggy gorge to shoot sunset. By the time I was ready to pack up it was pitch black. Where was my torch? In the boot of the darn car. SII to the rescue. It helped me pack all my gear and find my way back up the gorge I was in and back to the car. Saved my ass I can tell you.

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4) Finally, and a little disappointingly this is an IOS only app at this stage. Velaclock beautiful in it's simplicity. It simply tells you sunrise and set times for a given location (and you can save several), moon times, and azimuths along with associated astronomical, nautical and civil times. Doesn't appear to be available for the 'droid at all, and after hours of scouring I'm afraid to say that I haven't found anything that comes even close.