The fast growing trend for iPhone photo hobbyists now has a name: iPhonography. With all the social media and mobile features of camera apps, the iPhone is growing a new world of social amateur photographers. There are even photo contests and awards just for the iPhone, such as the professional iPhone Photography Awards more casual Facebook iPhone Photo Competition. After checking out the quality of the shots, we can easily see some competing in Photo contests from social photography site Viewbug and the travel photo contests from Travel+Leisure. To give you a chance to compete and help bringing your iPhonography to a professional level, without leaving your pocket, here are 10 iPhone camera apps to help:
ProCamera – $2.99
The ProCamera app is a solid upgrade to the stock iPhone camera app. It offers more professional options, while still keeping it interface user-friendly. A fighter pilot-style HUD interface is used, opening up most of the screen for viewing. The HUD is marked with outlines for the zoom buttons, a virtual horizon and target reticles to set focus, exposure and white balance points. A compass can even be laid over the HUD. Once you get a hold of using the HUD, you can whip out your iPhone and take a photo with the focus, exposure and white balance quickly set to your liking.
The App also has a useful but easy-to-use editing system. With it you can make adjustments to exposure, brightness, contrast, saturation and colour temperature. You can crop and rotate your picture, along with add a range of filters.
Pro HDR – $1.99
Pro HDR lets you to take auto-HDR photos, like with the iPhone’s built-in HDR mode, but takes up a notch. This app lets you a couple more photos individually, by just tapping the dark and light areas of the screen you’d like to manually capture. This great feature makes is very easy to grab a very large range of lighting and colour tones. You can then adjust more setting post-shot, with brightness, contrast, saturation, warmth and tint.
Photo FX – $2.99
Photo FX is a long-time favourite photo app and is more casual than the other apps here, but still takes quick and quality shots. As the name suggests, this app main feature is a boat load of effects and filters, with a list growing close to 100, each with multiple presets in the 100s. Editing functions are also included, from simulated lighting adjustments, cropping and more. This app also integrates social sharing through Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Picasa. While not offering the more pro features of the other apps listed, for any filter addict though, this app looks pretty appealing.
Magic Shutter – $2.99
The iPhone camera doesn’t handle dark environments very well, as any owner knows. Thanks to Magic Shutter, you can take photos in low light or any object not easily lit up by the flash. What this app lets you leave the sensor turned on, allowing you to record light for longer periods and extend exposure. For convenience, there is an auto-mode with presets. You can also take over with manual control, to set up your perfect night shot.
AutoStitch Panorama – $1.99
Like the name says, this app lets you easily stitch photos together for a wide panoramic shot, through automatic or manual modes. It does this with up to the full resolution of the camera, which keeps your photos looking their best, something that not all photo apps do. It can stitch a maximum of 40 images together, for a total of 18 megapixels. While there is the popular Pano app, AutoStitch Panorama offers one big feature to make it my pick: It lets you stitch to any side of an image, letting you create taller as well as wider pictures.
Camera Awesome – Free
His is a brand new photo app that is already reaching top spots on iTunes different countries around the world, along with rave reviews. Using a stylish and unique interface, it includes a wide range of nice options seen in other apps, but all in a well done package. It has a self-timer, image stabilisation, burst function and social sharing. It also has four composition guides to set up the perfect picture. An appreciated feature for its filters is the ability to swipe between them, speeding up the process. While this great app is free, the add-ons could start to add up on you. There is a free set of filters, presets and textures included, with additional sets costing $.99. If you wanted to buy up every add-on, this app could end up costing you close to $30.
Camera+ – $0.99
This is the least professional-focused of the apps listed here, but is a step up from the standard camera app with a low price. This makes is a perfect choice for someone who wants a point-and-shoot app with some easy-to-use features, but isn’t ready to invest the time and money on the more professional apps.
It offers a guide grid and image stabilisation to line up your shots and reduce blur. A great feature you’ll be using to capture a quality photo is the touch exposure and focus feature. It lets you touch the screen with a second finger while focusing to adjust the exposure at the same time. It has a selection of scene and flash modes found in today’s digital cameras. A range of effects, a cropping tool and a quality 6X digital zoom are also included. The highlight is the Clarity filter, which can adjust the contrast and other levels to improve your shot. So if you lack previous experience with the advanced features in the apps above, Camera+ could be a nice app to try first.
Iris Photo Suite – $1.99
Now here are some photo editing apps for the truly mobile phone photographer, starting with Iris Photo Suite. While it interface dominates the screen with this one, it offers powerful tools for the serious iPhone photographer. Basic features cover the essentials, such as contrast, brightness, saturation and colour temperature, all with an extremely fine level of control. More advanced features include layering and blending textures and photos together and colour replacement. A total of 70 effects and textures are included, along with a sophisticated auto-image correction tool and more.
PhotoForge 2 – $2.99
This sequel to PhotoForge replaced the original last summer and remains a strong contender among editing apps. PhotoForge 2 brings a welcome update to the interface, mimicking the style of the Mac OS X dock. Six main buttons line the bottom of the loaded image, with each bringing up a category of editing tools. Touch one and it pops up a row of big visual icons you can scroll through. This version also saw a big increase in performance, letting effects and edits happen much quicker, making the whole process easier as well. With this great interface and matching performance, it offers all the tools and effects you’d find in the other top editing apps, along with a selection of filters.
Photoshop Express – Free
This app carries the famous Photoshop brand name from Adobe, but also carries a non-brand name price. That said, this is the worst of the three photo editing apps I’ve listed, but it has the best price. A highlight is the clean and simple interface, which offers a range of standard features. This includes editing tools such as cropping, exposure and tint. A small collection of filters, effects and borders are also offered. A full version is expected from Adobe in the near future though, which is sure to meet the high standards set by the desktop Photoshop (with a price tag to match).
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