My go to iPhoneography apps. I normally blog my end to end process from capture through processing to the end result with all of the images shown at each stage. My concern is that I tend to share my more complex iPhone photography. Perhaps therefore the apps that I use day to day get ignored. This is certainly true for a handful of apps.

My previous article looked back and listed my iPhone photography highlights from 2013. For this article I wanted to look at the present and the future and correct what has long concerned me. List the photography apps I use the most but rarely detail in my workflows. The iPhoneography apps that in my opinion should be in all iPhoneographers virtual ‘camera bag’.

If you are new to iPhoneography and looking to cover as many bases as possible with as few apps as possible then these iPhone photography apps come with my recommendation.

 

iphone photography apps

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10 essential iPhoneography apps to cover all the bases – plus maybe a bonus or two

I’m going to spend most of the article focusing on the iPhone camera replacement app. There are potentially many issues to consider and I don’t propose to discuss them all but the one thing you want to do is capture the best possible shot and the limitations of the standard iPhone camera app can easily be overcome.

  1. ProCamera8

    The built in iPhone camera is basically fine but app developers have demonstrated that the iPhone lens and sensor are capable of so much more. My replacement app of choice is ProCamera8 but there is much heated debate about which is best. I recommend switching to a camera replacement app purely for the ability to set and lock individual focus and exposure points. There are many other benefits but all cameras should have the ability to set focus and exposure independently. I touched on the reasons why I like ProCamera8 in my article analysing all the apps featured in my iPhone photography tutorials.


    Update: With the launch of IOS 8 in September 2014 the ability to adjust and lock exposure independently of focus was introduced into the native camera app along with various other improvements. The native iPhone camera app is much improved but still lags behind specialist camera replacement apps even before they have reacted to the additional manual control afforded by IOS 8. 1


    A couple of other replacement apps that I’ve used quite a bit are Camera+ and 645 Pro Mk II. Both have the same ability to set separate focus and exposure points.

    Camera+ also has the ability to fire the shutter remotely via the headphone volume control. This is a capability Apple originally shared with many apps but seem to be withdrawing. If you use Camera+ be careful to read Camera+ update detail before updating if you value that functionality.

    645 Pro Mk III like Camera+ does have the remote shutter capability and according to the blurb on the latest update there is an ability to set a minimum shutter speed at 130th of a second. It does caveat that by stating ‘where supported by hardware/OS’. I can’t set that minimum speed on my iPhone5 running IOS7 but perhaps it works on the latest iPhones.

    jaggr-logo

    Update

    Jaggr the manufacturer of 645 Pro Mk II advise ‘[re 130th of a second minimum shutter speed…] (iOS 7.x) certainly iPhone 5s, maybe 5C (don’t have!). iPhone 5 is 1/20, iPad mini 1/24, etc. All iOS 6.x: 1/20 sec’.

    Shutter speed and blur

    General photography principles recommend that the slowest shutter speed to minimise the effects of camera shake (i.e. blur) should in fraction terms be equal to the focal length. The equivalent focal length of an iPhone is around 30mm. If I were carting around a DSLR with a 50mm lens I’d be looking for a minimum shutter speed of 150th of a second – you can see why this would be a great feature to have functioning on the iPhone. Something to keep an eye on.

    That said, I’m not in the anti-blur or anti-grain camp. I like them both. In fact I sometimes purposely add or encourage blur either by shooting in poor light (see the iPhone image at the head of this article which was shot in poor light at 120th of a second) or by moving the camera rapidly whilst shooting. I also often add grain for atmosphere.

    Sharpness is a bourgeois concept.

    Henri Cartier-Bresson

    Other factors to consider

    • File formats. TIFF is regarded as the best possible file format but also results in large file sizes. High quality JPEGs in practical terms are almost identical.

    • User interface. Consider impact on usability, can interface functions be turned on and off, impact on battery drain.

    • Added extras. In app purchases or shipped as standard? Filters. Film emulation. Other capture methods such as phone volume control, full screen capture, headphone volume control. The potential list goes on.

    • Above all – it’s not about what the app provides, it’s about what YOU need to suit YOUR style to capture the best image YOU can.

    Download ProCamera7 at the app store, or Download 645 Pro Mk II at the app store, or Download Camera+ at the app store.

    For those of you on Android phones, Jacob Dix has an excellent list of Android Camera Replacement apps at his ‘Definitive List of Camera Apps for Android‘.

  2. Hipstamatic / Oggl

    Hipstamatic and Oggl are both inventions of the Hipstamatic team.

    Analog fun

    They have the tag line ‘digital photography never looked so analog’.

    Hipstamatic is bundled with a small selection of lens and films. Others are available via in app purchase. You either select the lens and film combination manually, or if you feel spontaneous, you can shake to randomise and let Hipstamatic select the combination for you. Within Hipstamatic this is done before capturing the shot and can’t be changed afterwards.

    Oggl changed the game. Via Oggl, provided you sign in with the same Hipsta account you can import all the lens and film combinations you have purchased and then import any image captured either directly via Oggl or via your favourite camera replacement app and apply the lens and film combinations in retrospect.

    Download Hipstamatic at the app store, and Download Oggl at the app store.

  3. Filterstorm / Filterstorm Neue

    Filterstorm has been replaced by Filterstorm Neue. Workflows to the end of 2013 are with the original Filterstorm. This is a very powerful editing app with ‘desktop’ style editing functionality. It is an essential part of my workflow providing my favourite cloning and image sizing tools (essential to boost resolution either when using iPhone4 or working with a heavy crop). That just scratches the surface though with curves, layers, filters and a vast array of other functionality.

    Help with social media

    I also use Filterstorm to resize canvas if I have a landscape or portrait image that I would like to share via Instagram (i.e. center image on re-sized square canvas which automatically adds bars either horizontally or vertically).

    EyeEm is probably the next most popular alternative to Instagram and supports non-square formats.

    Download Filterstorm at the app store, or Download Filterstorm Neue at the app store. (original version recommended as at March 2014).

  4. Snapseed

    You could probably get the worlds finest iPhone photographers (and Android photographers) together in a room and ask them to list 5 apps they wouldn’t be without and very few if any would exclude Snapseed.

    Pedigree

    Snapseed was originally created by Nik who are now owned by Google. It has an outstanding pedigree and it shows.

    Its interface is second to none and its ‘actions’ whether you want to add structure, drama, grunge, focus, tilt-shift, retro effects (the list goes on), manipulate image details such as brightness, contrast, etc, or convert to black and white with various presets and colour filters are first class.

    Very few of my images if any don’t touch Snapseed at some point in the edit process.

    Download Snapseed at the app store.

  5. Handy Photo

    I was first attracted to Handy Photo for its textures. It sat in my pile of iPhone apps being used sporadically pretty much just for that purpose.

    Unique function

    One day I was playing around and I discovered a feature in Handy Photo that is as far as I am aware unique in iPhone photography apps – the ability to ‘uncrop’ an image.

    Within the app it is known as ‘Magic Crop’ and in fact I did a short video tutorial to demonstrate it.

    For this reason it has to be included in 10 must have apps.

    Download Handy Photo at the app store.

  6. Superimpose

    For me, at first glance Superimpose was an intimidating app BUT for me and my style it has become a critical app. In fact I bet it sat untouched in my iPhoneography app folder for the best part of 12 months.

    Worth learning

    I had seen so much wonderful work attributed to it but just couldn’t understand how to use it.

    The problem in the end was simply that I failed to spend enough time understanding and playing around with the user interface.

    Superimpose is one of the few apps that I had to learn with a little help. I watched a couple of videos and soon it became clear that many of the controls I was looking for were hidden behind icons or needed swiping across the screen to make visible.

    This is my go to app for almost all layering, masking and blending processes ranging from the most simple to the most complex.

    The big advantage with Superimpose is the ability to save masks either for repeated use in a single image or for use in other projects.

    Help learning

    If like me you like this style of iPhoneography then my Superimpose Video tutorial may be helpful.

    Download Superimpose at the app store.

  7. VSCOcam

    Visual Supply Co (VSCO) has established a reputation for top quality Film Filters and other effects which integrate in to desktop processing software packages. VSCOcam is an iPhone and android Camera replacement app with separate exposure and focus points and white balance lock incorporating many of these effects. Additional filters are available via in app purchase.

    I use VSCOcam purely for its filters by importing images captured via ProCamera7. Each filter can be manually adjusted across a number of variables.

    Minimal personal online gallery with custom URL

    VSCOcam also features VSCO Grid, a minimalist publishing platform enabling images to be viewed online in a sleek web environment. My own VSCO Grid can be viewed at http://skip.vsco.co

    Download VSCOcam at the app store.

  8. Glaze

    Glaze is a fantastic app for creating a painterly style version of images. It has a number of built in filters as standard with more available via in app purchase. I like to use its output as one layer in a composite of multiple versions of the same image. By ‘app-stacking’ in this way it is possible to get painterly and / or texture blended images but maintain your own signature style rather than that of any singe app.

    Download Glaze at the app store.

  9. CameraBag 2 and / or Alt Photo

    Pre-defined actions and filters to simulate analog images from different eras, films, technologies, and styles. CameraBag 2 examples include film styles developed in years ranging from 1930s to 1980s, contemporary film simulation, Helga, Instant, Pinhole, SLR and many others. Alt Photo splits its styles into categories such as color film, toy camera, B&W film, B&W vintage amongst others. Styles include Old Kodachrome, Agfacolor Neu, Expired, Agfa Optima Toy Camera, KodalithA, Agfa APX, Panatomic-X, Cyanotype, Tintype, Daguerreotype, and many others

    Download CameraBag 2 at the app store (iPad HD version here), and / or Download Alt Photo at the app store.

  10. FrontView and / or Perspective correct

    Correct perspective distortions. This is the ‘shift’ element of tilt-shift photography and works to correct the convergence of parallel lines. For example to realign the vertical lines of buildings. Very handy for architectural photography / cityscapes.

    The other aspect of tilt-shift photography is tilting the focal plane (aka freelensing). My preferred app for this function together with simulating a narrow depth of field (aka depth of focus) is AfterFocus often combined with Superimpose. Both of these aspects are the subject of several tutorials.

    Download FrontView at the app store, or Download Perspective Correct at the app store.


 

Using these apps it is easily possible to capture quality iPhone photography images and edit them in the style of the genres I split my tutorials in to:

 

iPhone photography articles involving only these apps

To see an archive of my iPhoneography tutorials and articles involving these apps exclusively please visit my essential iPhoneography apps archive.

 

Many of my iPhoneography tutorials feature many others apps but the purpose of this article was to highlight apps that may not feature in my tutorials too often, apps that I frequently use and at the same time provide the maximum range of functionality as a package.

Full app index

The list of all apps detailed in my iPhoneography tutorials can be viewed at my iPhone photography app index.

The iPhone photography apps detailed here are in my opinion a great foundation. That’s not to say that these are the best 10 apps I have but if I limited myself to these 10 apps I believe I could fulfill 99pct+ of my capture and editing requirements.

My recommended starting bundle for any budding serious iPhoneographer.

Note: I don’t claim to be an expert on every manufactured app and there are many I don’t use. This is strictly a personal list based on my own usage and my own iPhoneography requirements and style.


 

  1. ‘Separate focus and exposure: The iOS camera always had a tap-to-focus and an exposure-focus lock feature, and it still has those features. However, with iOS 8 you can independently tap to set the focus and then adjust the exposure separately. Swipe up or down on the focus box, or pretty much anywhere on the screen, to change the exposure of photos when shooting on the iPhone, and use it in conjunction with any other camera feature available.
    iOS 8 breathes new life into your older iPhone Camera and Photos apps‘ by The Next Web

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p31VpY-19H


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44 Comments

  1. Geri says:

    Great article Skip. I really need to have another look at Superimpose. It is one that totally confuses me as well because I just haven’t spent any time trying to learn it. Off to watch your tutorial (again!)

    • Skip says:

      Hi Geri, thank you! It is absolutely one of those apps that needs time but once you know it it is so rewarding. I have got a couple of videos on it. Hope they help.

  2. Skip Junior says:

    I AM HIS SON OF EPIC EPICNESS PIXELZ AND COOKIEZ

  3. Rita says:

    Great info. Will follow your info. Thanks.

  4. Craig Poltock says:

    Great article Skip, I use most of these apps too. Just getting to grips with superimpose it is difficult but one which definitely pays dividends. As always practice makes perfect !!

  5. Great article Skip. I agree superimpose is a great app and does take some getting used to but it’s well worth the effort. Thanks craig.

  6. […] My go to iPhoneography apps. I tend to share my more complex iPhone photography. Perhaps the iPhone apps that I use day to day get ignored. Here they are. The post iPhone photography – 10 must have iPhoneography apps appeared first on Skipology.  […]

  7. […] “ My go to iPhoneography apps. I tend to share my more complex iPhone photography. Perhaps the iPhone apps that I use day to day get ignored. Here they are. The post iPhone photography – 10 must have iPhoneography apps appeared first on Skipology.”  […]

  8. RegiB says:

    Thanks for the list. Pretty much mirrors mine also, using also Repix and a growing favorite app for painterly, Clever painter. Handy photo was just updated and adds the ability to selectively adjust tone and color and selectively apply filters and textures with an edge aware brush that looks interesting! Thanks again for the hard work that goes into posting tutorials and lists!

    • Skip says:

      Hi Regi, my pleasure my friend and thank you very much for the suggestions and the heads up on the Handy Photo upgrade. My iPhone upgrades automatically so I sometimes miss the detail until I get round to doing my iPad manually.

  9. MaryJane says:

    Excellent article. Agree with your assessment and I’m glad you shook my memory on a few I forgot about.

  10. CraigT says:

    Great article as always Over the last few months I’ve been downloading a few of your suggestions and getting used to them. Looking forward to using them once i am more proficient.
    Looking forward to seeing what you produce in 2014 Skip.

  11. […] My go to iPhoneography apps. I tend to share my more complex iPhone photography. Perhaps the iPhone apps that I use day to day get ignored. Here they are.  […]

  12. Great list of apps! I look forward to trying the ones I haven’t already. As a Snapseed user, what’s the main benefit of also have Filterstorm? Also, I would include Mextures app for sure in a top 10 list. It’s an extremely versatile light, texture, and color tool. Thanks for all you do for the iphone photographers out there Paul!!!

    • Skip says:

      Hi Dave, thank you. Snapseed is brilliant and would be on any list but it doesn’t cover some functionality that is I think essential. My day to day missing functionality would be re-sizing (increasing resolution), adding additional canvas, layers and cloning – all covered excellently in Filterstorm. Re Mextures – absolutely one of my go to apps, I use it a lot. It is possibly the best multiple layer texture apps there is and I love textures / film effects. I just felt that for maximum functionality across a bundle of apps it was possibly too specialised but it is a top 10 app. No doubt.

    • Skip says:

      Beautiful VSCO Grid BTW Dave.

  13. Paul I finally forked over the $4 for Filterstorm neue. So far it’s very impressive and expressive. However, the masking seems difficult to execute on an iphone screen. Do you use it primarily on an ipad? Guess I need to experiment more. Thanks for all your feedback!!

    • Skip says:

      Hi Dave, yes up until about a year ago I was iPhone only but then I got an iPad for my birthday. I have to say the screen space makes a difference with anything manual but that’s only really with hindsight. At the time I enjoyed the challenge. I did use a stylus but I rarely do now. I haven’t really used Neue yet though, only just got that myself. My experience is really with the old version. Most of my masking tends to be done in Superimpose but that is just 2 layers at a time.

      Neue was free for a short period last week. I posted a Tweet but should have added a note here. Apologies. Today’s app that I like that is free for today is Rainy Daze (both iPhone and iPad HD version) 😉

  14. Jeffrey says:

    I just switched to iOS from Android and with the huge upgrade in camera quality, I now take a lot more pictures! However, I realize I still must be a casual iphoneographer because I found it a terrible nuisance to open many apps in order to edit one photo. I have eventually landed on Lightboxr and it works perfectly for me.

    • Paul Brown says:

      Hi Jeffrey, thank you for stopping by and commenting. That’s great to hear. I think as long as you find the app(s) that suit you and the style you want to achieve you can ask no more. It’s an absorbing hobby though so watch out!

  15. Hi Skip,

    Perfect List! It encourage me to do my own, when I have managed to set aside some time for it.

    A couple of things. I noticed that you haven’t tried the Neue FS yet. I have, and unfortunately I hate it in iPhone. It’s probably ok in a bigger screen like iPad (I suspect, I don’t have one), but in the small screen the sidebar is limiting the user interaction.

    Also, have you tried Tadaa SLR for creating Bokeh? I wrote my review here if you would like to read: http://moblivious.com/tips-tricks/create-stunning-bokeh-effect-with-your-iphone-using-tadaa-slr/

    Keep up the good work bro! Someday we should put together a meetup for UK mobile photographers :) We will invite Richard too :)

    Chris

    • Paul Brown says:

      Thanks Chris, I have tried Filterstorm Neue and in my workflow this week actually recommended sticking with the old version (I should update this article). I agree completely. Re iPad the interface is modern and well laid out but it actually lacks functionality – so they seem to have swapped substance for looks. Hopefully upgrades will come but for now old is better.

      I have Tadaa SLR, Big Lens, etc. For me AfterFocus is the best but I think the gap between all of them is narrow – I know many people like Big Lens also so I guess there’s no right answer there.

      We have a great community in the UK. No doubt – would be great to meet sometime.

  16. srijan says:

    i use instaglass app to edit my photos…it works wonderfully.

  17. Dantes Zaatara says:

    yes! just a great article – super/impose

  18. Dantes Zaatara says:

    oops-
    first review effort ..
    thank you for excellent & insightful articles that inspire

  19. […] My go to iPhoneography apps. I tend to share my more complex iPhone photography. Perhaps the iPhone apps that I use day to day get ignored. Here they are.  […]

  20. […] gibt es tolle Tipps. Die besten Apps für Phonography gibt es hier. Teresa Franco macht ganz tolle Makrofotos mit ihrem iPhone und teilt mit uns ihre […]

  21. qudio says:

    Check out also Snapprix for iOS, great photo contest app!

  22. Yong says:

    All are good apps. Also check CameraPlus FX it provides live filtering.Do check it out https://itunes.apple.com/es/app/cameraplusfx-for-facebook/id866636884?l=en&mt=8

  23. Jason says:

    Anyone use cortex cam or hydra?

  24. Shirley Brackey says:

    What most people don’t realize about these Android applications is that they’re installed directly into the Android OS and not on your phones memory card like most Android applications. What this means is when you go to remove these pre-installed Android applications you will end up greeted having a permission denied error message. By default users would not have the proper permissions to make changes on the area of the Android OS where these applications are stored.

  25. Hi Skip, I just stumbled across your site as I scored an olliclip for $10 on ebay a while ago and still hadn’t worked out how to use it! I have a question about Camera Bag2, it was my fav for straight photo edits but i’m finding since an update it saves very small photo sizes? any advice on changing that. I usually save on original but it ends up at about .43 mb

  26. Kevion Olson says:

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  27. John says:

    Proseezion is unique if you are searching for the best possible photo to start your editing. The drawback is that is that it needs a tripod, but it is worth the effort.

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