Smartphone photography may have its detractors, but its proponents are all that really matter; they keep the mobile phone photography community alive and viable and unaffected by those who complain about this particular kind of image capture, as evidenced by the wealth of photography related apps. With so many photography apps available across the two most popular device platforms, it can be an overwhelming endeavor to try to find the best apps. Keeping in mind that “best” is a subjective term, here are 5 apps that will hopefully appeal to a diverse segment of mobile photographers. As of this writing, each app is available for both iOS and Android devices.
Aviary Photo Editor (Free)
Aviary is easily one of the most comprehensive mobile photo editors currently available, offering a clean, easy to use, responsive interface. All the basic photo editing features are there: saturation, color temperature, cropping, sharpness, focus, orientation, etc., right alongside enhancements such as teeth whitening, blemish removal, and redeye removal. There is also a decent selection of stickers, effects, and frame included with the app. While the app itself is a free download, you can pay for additional add-ons (effects, frames, and stickers) via the app’s shop. Aviary runs smoothly and is ad-free to boot!
Otaku Camera (Free)
If you’re into comic books/anime, Otaku Camera is for you. This fun app will make any photo look like a page right out of a comic book. If the default overlays and frames leave you wanting more, you’ll be glad to know that there are dozens of others to choose from in the app’s Frame Shop. Otaku Camera allows for some basic edits and you can save and share (via Facebook, Twitter, SMS, and e-mail) your creations. It may not be an app that appeals to “serious” mobile photographers, but it’s a fun, functional app that serves a well-defined niche market.
The Photographer’s Ephemeris (iOS $8.99USD, Android $4.99USD)
The Photographer’s Ephemeris is a stellar app that provides numerical data for the position of the sun and moon over the course of any given day; but this app isn’t your typical sunrise/sunset calculator. TPE goes the extra mile and displays this data graphically, overlaid on Google Maps. This way, you can see the angle of the sun and moon for any time, date, and location; TPE lets you visualize how the light will look as it falls on land. It’s an invaluable tool for natural light/landscape photographers.
The Photographer's Ephemeris. Image by Robert Neff
Massive Dev Chart Timer ($8.99USD)
This one is for anyone who develops their own film. The Massive Dev Chart Timer app features a multi-step timer with sound notifications, formula customization options, and offline access to “the world’s largest database of film development times” for any film/developer combination you’ve heard of and, perhaps, never heard of. As of version 3.1 all the times from the online database are now included in the app.
Film Development Equipment. Image by Thomas
TouchRetouch allows you to remove small blemishes and large distracting objects from a photo, with just a fingertip. The app includes clone stamp, brush, and lasso tools, along with unlimited undo/redo actions. I was actually impressed with how cleanly TouchRetouch handled the few images I ran through it. The app allows you to save and share your work to Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr. There is a free version available, but it will watermark your image when you save it.
If this list doesn't whet your appetite for photography apps and you want more, do check out some of our earlier posts:
- 5 Amazing Apps That Every Photographer Should Have
- 10 Unmissable Apps For Ipad and Iphone Photographers
- 10 Useful and Free Android Apps for Photographers
What We Recommend to Improve Your Photography Fast
It's possible to get some pretty large improvements in your photography skills very fast be learning some fundamentals. Consider this the 80:20 rule of photography where 80% of the improvements will come from 20% of the learnable skills. Those fundamentals include camera craft, composition, understanding light and mastering post-production. Here are the premium guides we recommend.