As all of us have seen, interest and advancements in smartphone photography is growing by leaps and bounds. With an iPhone in hand, everyone's a photographer!
With that in mind, here are some of my favorite photography apps.
ProCamera 8 + HDR is an advanced photo, video and editing app that boasts a number of features and controls typically seen only in DSLRs. Among these: HDR capabilities, video capture, manual focus, exposure compensation, and Pro controls of exposure time, shutter speed, ISO sensitivity, color temperature and tint, and exposure swipe control. And the best part is that all of these advanced controls are packed into an easy to use and surprisingly intuitive interface.
Like ProCamera 8, Camera+ has a lot of features normally reserved for DSLRs.
With Camera+, you can use a single tap to lock focus, exposure and white balance points separately or go fully manual with any of these settings. Camera+ also includes exposure compensation controls, image stabilization, burst mode for taking images in rapid succession and an on-board timer.
Camera+ comes with a nicely featured photo editor with a lightroom-like interface where you can quickly manage and share your photo, crop, rotate and straighten, add borders and captions and apply any of the impressive array of filters and effects the come with the app. Chief among these is Clarify, a filter that employs a smart algorithm to analyze and enhance images by automatically making adjustments to their light and color.
But unlike Procamera 8, Camera+ lacks support for HDR and video recording.
So, all in all, Camera+ is a nice app and a significant upgrade from the built-in iPhone camera app for capturing traditional, still images.
VSCO Cam is a favorite photography app due to its combination of photo-taking, image-editing and picture sharing features. And it doesn't hurt that it's free! Seriously, it's free…
Like Procamera 8 and Camera+, VSCO Cam includes Pro photography features such as manual focus controls, separate focus, exposure and white balance locks, shutter speed and ISO controls and exposure compensation.
The image-editing module within VSCO Cam lets you fine-tune the image exposure, crop, straighten and add border effects.
And online sharing (to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc.) is a crazy easy.
But I think my favorite part of VSCO Cam is the fun (and frequently updated) assortment of presets and tools that you can purchase for use with the basic app. The free camera app comes with 10 pre-loaded presets, but you can purchase more (as if this date, there are 38 additional custom presets available) by accessing the VSCO Cam store via the menu with the camera app.
My only issue with VSCO Cam is that the interface is not as user-friendly as it could be. But you get used to it pretty quickly.
For more information on VSCO Cam, check out these great video tutorials from Emil Pakarklis of iPhone Photography School
Pixelmator is a powerful, fully featured photo-editing app available exclusively for the iPad.
Pixelmator is the tablet version of the popular photo editor, which, until now, has only been available for MAC desktops. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Pixelmator, it is a pro-level image-editing program that many find to be a more-than-adequate alternative to the WAY more expensive Adobe Photoshop.
But Pixelmator for the iPad is more than just a tablet version of the same software. Instead, Pixelmator for the iPad is a redesign of the software to work specifically with the iPad and its newest operating system, iOS8. That means that Pixelmator for the iPad is lean and fast, with an intuitive and easy-to-use interface that gives you access to all the tools and features found in the desktop version.
For a quick introduction at some of the features of Pixelmator for iPad, check out the video below.
Faded is a fun and easy to use photo-editing app that, much like VSCO Cam, offers lots of options for applying filters, textures and effects to images. You can fine-tune the strength of any of these adjustments using simple sliders. The app even lets you import another photo from your library to be used as an overlay effect.
My favorite feature of Faded is the ability to create actions, recorded steps of photo adjustments that you can save and apply as a single step on other images.
The basic version of Faded costs $0.99 and comes with 46 filters. There are 36 additional premium filters available for purchase.
Snapseed is a photo-editing app available for both the iPhone and the iPad. It's feature rich and sports an interface that is especially intuitive and easy to use. And, best of all, it's free.
Snapseed has tools that allow you to adjust almost every aspect of your photo. You can crop, straighten and rotate, use Auto Correct to adjust color and exposure and Tune Image to correct color, lighting and white balance. You can constraint your adjustments to limited areas of the photo using Selective Adjust. And, finally, you can spice it up using any of the onboard Creative Enhancement filters such as Black and White, Grunge, Vintage Films and Tilt-shift.
Not bad for free!
The video below gives a quick look at some of Snapseed's features.
Stackables is another image editing effect that, as the name implies, lets you to stack effects, layering apply multiple filters, textures, bokeh overlays, etc. to create a completely unique effect for your photo.
The app comes loaded with over 200 effects, including textures, light streaks, gradients, film emulation filters and geometric patterns.
The following video demonstrates how fast and easy Stackables is to use.
There are lots of apps out there that you can use to turn your photo in a watercolor painting. But, frankly, most of them just aren't very good.
Not so with Waterlogue, the iPhone app by Tinrocket, LLC. With Waterlogue, you can choose from among 14 pre-set styles to convert your photos to a nice watercolor painting.
Using Waterlogue is simple. You start by tapping on the camera icon to import an image from your camera roll. From there, move through the ribbon at the bottom of the interface to select a preset and then watch it go. You'll see the app advance through the painting process step-by-step. If you continue to move through the ribbon, you will find additional options—brush size, image brightness and borders—that can be used to customize the effect.
Popsicolor is a nice little app that lets you turn your photos into pop-art style watercolors.
Popsicolor is fast, fun and easy to use. Bring up an image from your camera roll, or snap a new one from within the app. Photos with lots of contrast tend to work best. Once the image is loaded, you'll notice two rows of colored popsicles along the top and bottom of the interface. Click around on them until you have the effect you want. Tools at the bottom of the interface let you swap out the colors and customize the look.
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We've seen how managing the ISO setting allows you to control the amount of grain that shows in your photos. But it does more than that. Understanding and working with the ISO setting gives us added flexibility in terms of setting the other two exposure settings–aperture and shutter speed.
The bottom line is that ISO is an important and useful tool, and one that you will want to be comfortable with if you are looking to take creative control of your exposure.