Wednesday, July 6, 2022

The Compendium of Photography Apps on my iPhone

April 1, 2012 by · 10 Comments 


The iPhoneography bug has bitten me hard. Frankly I’m very surprised how easily you can create some amazing pictures with the iPhone 4S to the point that at times I feel a photo-op would be better served with my iPhone than with my main interchangeable lens camera.

Part of what has transformed this view for me has been a series of Apps that I use extensively beyond the stock ones to give me the range of aesthetic qualities I’m looking for during different types of situations.

I’ve ordered the Apps by order of how frequently I use them within the groupings I feel they belong in:

Photo Capture (taking):

ProCamera – It is fast, has focus and exposure settings separately, has grid and saves directly to camera roll. Has some editing features which overlap with others, but by far just does its main job very well.

Lens+ – Mostly a fun and seemingly accurate filter-based camera. The key differentiator between this and other is the ‘live view’ of the filter rather than via post-processing. This helps you compose the shot with the filter in mind rather than having it come in after the fact. Let’s you record videos with filter applied also. The only downside to this App is that it is very slow to load.

CP Pro – Similar to Lens+ above in terms of live-view filters but the B&W filter is the best I’ve seen in any app so I use this app mostly for that. It does have various editing features as well, but the UI is a bit of a pain and slow and requires multiple taps to do basic things like get out of the lighbox and back to the camera. Lets you also record videos with filter applied, very cool in that regard.

gyroLens – This is an amazing little and simple app to get pictures perfectly level with the floor. Very useful in situations where you just can’t get your phone level, it will use the iPhone’s sensors to make it 100% accurate.

Camera+ – Probably one of the most popular apps as a default-camera replacement. It used to be my favorite for taking photos, but frankly the functionality of it is somewhat redundant with ProCamera. The key thing with this app is the ‘Clarity’ function, but lately I’ve been using another app, Perfectly Clear (see in below section on Post Processing) which works better. Still a recommended app, but you just have to make choice what your preference is.

Hipstamatic – Everyone loves the simplicity and beauty of Hipstamatic. However, it can be quite slow to load and take pictures so I’ve stopped using it because I’ve missed too many photo opportunities because of that slow load time. Additionally, at one point I stopped being able to know what a picture was going to look like with the myriad of lens/film/flash combinations. They need a better live-view set of options.

AutoStitch – This is the best panorama taking app I’ve seen in a while.

HDR Fusion – A very simple and fast HDR photo taker. Better than the built-in one from iOS. Its output is actually not very HDR looking, so very useful to take natural looking pictures that would be impossible with a limited dynamic range camera like that of the iPhone.

TrueHDR – for the crazy HDR look, this is the app that I use. Similar to the one above, but with some occasional crashing. It gives some wicked HDR saturation.

SlowShutter – the only App that I’ve found that allows you to modify the shutter speed of your iPhone so you can take slow shots at night to bring out lights. You can’t control the phone’s ISO, which sucks, but otherwise, helpful for light streaking.

CameraSharp – I use it mostly to remote trigger via a sound, but otherwise just another photo capture app. It’s ok.

Dotti – I don’t take pictures with it, I just import pictures into it to get them printed and mailed to me.

Grid Lens – beautiful UI, a bit gimmicky though and haven’t used it in a bit.

AgingBooth – takes pictures that make you look older. Hilarious and awesome at parties. well worth the money and never ceases to disappoint.

FatBooth – the same as above, but makes people look fat. Also really entertaining.

Photo Post Processing:

Snapseed – this is simply one of the best apps out there for photo editing. I have it on my iPad and on the Mac. Just does its job well and simply with intuitive touch-based controls.

PhotoToaster – also a top app, slightly different than Snapseed but highly complimentary. Frankly, with just Snapseed and PhotoToaster I could get by for 99% of my post-processing needs.

Pixlromatic+ – mostly for some wicked fun filters, but many of them are too nutty to be used often without going stale.

Simply B&W – makes some amazing B&W pictures because of color filters (yes, you use color filters on B&W images to generate different looking photos).

PerfectlyClear – Awesome app just makes things clearer. Yeah, I know, sounds weird, you just have to see it in action. It is almost 70% of my first part of the workflow now.

Diptic – It’s what I use to create collages of photos.

Noir – Great for creating B&W portraits. A bit cliche after a while though.

Luminance – A complete photo editor, but just hasn’t grown on me that much. I do occasionally use it though.

Filterstorm – A VERY complete photo editor, some of the features, frankly, are beyond me. Probably the closest thing to Pro-type features, but perhaps overkill for most people.

iPhoto – frankly, I’m not impressed. Bought it assuming it was going to be as good, but used it a few times and found it non-intuitive. Snapseed is much better.

CameraBag – Another filter app.

Lo-Mob – Another filter app with emphasis on a certain genre of oldskool formats. Good for a specific look you might be going for.

ComicStrip – Like Diptic but lets you organize things more like a comic strip (as the name implies) with speech bubbles and banners.

Balloon – An app just for speech bubbles.

Motivational – Makes any photo look like a motivational poster. Hilarious.

HOPE Poster! – Makes any photo look like the Obama ‘HOPE’ poster. Also funny.

Photo Sharing (social):

Instagram – the king of social photography and filters (if you like applying them within a social app). The only thing that I find restricting is the 1:1 format it uses since I can’t upload panoramas without a serious cropping of the image, but oh well. The network is really fun and I’ve learned a lot about composition just from others. I think I enjoy Instagram far more than any other social network on the planet.

PicPlz – Same as Instagram, but usable on Android as well, so I use it to see what my Droid friends are doing and I also use it for sharing.

Path – Beautiful UI. Stunning. Shares more than just photos within a tight group of friends. Slightly different use-case than the two above.

Tumblr – Just to upload the high-res stuff to my Tumblr account.

ISO500 – To view my 500px account and popular photos.

Teleportd – Awesome app to discover what images are being published around you or any other part of the world. Great to ‘teleport there’.

EyeFi – Part of the EyeFi system. I find the system as a whole largely disappointing though. A review to come later.

Flickr – To upload to Flickr, but these days mostly to browse other pictures.

Pinterest – To upload to Pinterest.

postagram – To send postcards from pictures (I use it within the USA).

Touchnote – To send postcards from pictures (I use it within the UK).


FiLMiC Pro – Like ProCamera but for video with lots of features such as focus and exposure setting being different. For iPhonefilmography, probably the best out there.

8mm – Lets you take videos in old-skool looking filters.

Viddy – A video social network like instagram for videos.

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