The iPhone has a fantastic camera, but to truly get the best experience, you want to grab a few extra apps. Here's what every iPhone photographer should have in their toolkit.
Camera+ is our pick for the best camera app for the iPhone, because it's fast, easy to use, feature packed and consistently updated. Camera+ is fantastic for a number of reasons, but the best feature Camera+ adds is the ability to set focus and exposure separately. You also get a variety of shooting modes (including a stabiliser, timer and burst mode), a solid digital zoom and a grid to make sure your compositions are interesting. Camera+ also has lots of editing options, where you can add effects, create layers, edit balance, enhance based on the scene and plenty more.
VSCO Cam falls somewhere between Camera+ and Instagram. It's a powerful editing tool that's full of filters to enhance your images, has lots of advanced filters and provides a place to share your photos. The advanced features are easy to use, and you can easily edit exposure, temperature and contrast with just a couple taps. If you want, you can upload all your photos to your own page on VSCO Grid, which also has options for copyrighting your photos (or releasing them as Creative Commons). It's The Sweet Setup's pick for best photo-editing app, and it's worth adding to your toolkit even if you only use it occasionally.
Photo Editor by Aviary
Photo Editor by Aviary is pretty much the catch-all of photo editors. It do everything you'd expect a photo editor to do, including applying filters, touching up blemishes and whitening teeth, but you can also add some goofy meme text and toss on some stickers. You don't have the precise control of something like VSCO Cam or Camera+, but it works great for quickly editing on the go.
Adobe Photoshop Touch
For most people, the feature set in Photoshop Touch is overkill, but if you use Photoshop a lot and need to edit on the go, this is your best option. You're able to mess around with layers and selections, make adjustments, and sync your work between an iPad and your desktop. Photoshop Touch has so many features that it's actually not that intuitive to use, but if you're experienced in Photoshop, you'll get the hang of it eventually.
If you take a lot of portraits with your phone, Facetune makes it easy to edit those photos quickly. Facetune gets rid of zits, smooths out wrinkles, whitens teeth and does just about any other touchups you could possibly need. The interface is easy to use too, so even if you're not interested in the advanced features of the editors listed above, Facetune is worth a look.
If you share photos on social networks a lot, deGeo is a very simple app that deletes your location data before you share. This way, you don't accidentally include your location in your photos and reveal where you spend your time to the internet at large.
If This Then That
The IFTTT app isn't a photography app, but it's an excellent app to keep around if you take pictures with your iPhone. With IFTTT, you can set it up so that every picture you take is backed up somewhere (to Dropbox, Flickr or wherever else) automatically. If you want more granular control, you can send every picture taken with the rear camera to Instagram, send every photo added to a particular album to Facebook, or one of a lot of the other photo-specific recipes. IFTTT is basically a way to automate where you photos go and once you've set up recipes, you won't have to think about them again.
Dropbox is not a photo app, but it is an incredibly easy way to backup your photos. Provided you have a Dropbox account, every photo you take can be automatically uploaded and backed up to Dropbox without you doing a thing. It's one of the easiest ways to back up your photos online without worrying about iCloud and Photostream working properly. If you want a fantastic way to browse those pictures, we recommend Unbound.
There are so many photography apps that it's pretty much impossible to keep up with them all. While the above apps are great for everyone to start with, specialised apps exist for pretty much everything you can think of. Here are just a few of our favourites.
- Over: If you want to add text overlays to your photos, Over is the best way to do it. You have lots of font options and different layouts to do it.
- TiltShiftGen 2: Tilt-shift photography is a bit of a specialised thing, but if you love making large things look miniature, TiltShiftGen is the easiest way to do it.
- CameraNoir: Most photo-editing apps have a black and white option, but Camera Noir is just a black a white option. This means if you're a fan of black and white photography, you can really tweak your images to make them perfect.
- PicFrame: A picture's worth a thousand words, but sometimes you need more than a single picture. PicFrame allows you to combine multiple photos into frames so you can share multiple picture in a single image.
- Instagram: Love it or hate it, Instagram is the biggest social network for sharing photos.
- Light Meter: Light meters are expensive, but your iPhone can function as one so you can get a better idea of how much light is in a room and adjust your camera accordingly. It's a handy thing to add to your phone if you're using it to augment your DSLR.