5 iPhone Photography Apps to make your Shots Spectacular

May 25 2009

iPhone shot of the day: Sublime Sunset
Sublime Sunset on Kits Beach captured with an iPhone.

So many people whine about the iPhone’s camera quality and say that it can’t take good pictures. It’s my strong belief that you can take great shots with any camera, even a 2 MP iPhone camera. It’s definitely a greater challenge to get a good exposure on an iPhone vs a 5D MkII, but it’s not impossible.

If you are up for the challenge, here are 5 apps that will help you take smashing iPhone pictures:

1. Blurry photos? Use Fast Tap Camera $.99

Fast Tap Camera snapped my awesome new scooter trick. :P

Shaky hands = shaky picture. Unless you are going for some motion blur, or light painting, then you probably want a sharp picture. The problem is the camera button is so fracking small and awkwardly placed, especially if you are taking a photo from any other angle other than straight in front of you. That’s why you need Fast Tap Camera. Press anywhere on the screen and snap! Excellent for narcissistic twitpics of yourself. :P

2. Photos are too dark? Use Photogene $2.99

iPhone photo of the day: Easter Eggz
Easter eggs in a supermarket never looked so good.

The exposure is locked on the iPhone, which means that you can’t change it. There is a way to mess with the exposure by focusing the camera on a dark spot and quickly shifting it into the light, and snapping the shot almost simultaneously. This technique requires serious ninja skills. If you aren’t quite at a black belt level with your iPhone camera like  Chase Jarvis, you may need a little post-production help.

Photogene allows you to adjust levels, exposure, colours, saturation, among other things (cropping, adding text, speech bubbles, etc.. I use this app more than any other. It’s well worth the $2.99.

3. Low light photos look crappy? Use NightCamera $.99

iPhone Shot of the Day: Buena Vista Park, SF
NightCamera gives Buena Vista Park, SF  a little boost.

You shouldn’t really have high expectations for iPhone shots taken in a dark restaurant. They are always going to look noisy and fairly crappy, but using NightCamera makes them slightly less crappy. Yeah! My suggestion is that you try using NightCamera any situation where the light is low, like the forest in the above picture.

Either way, NightCamera has a neat accelerometer assisted camera mode where the shutter fires when the phone is steady, and a timer mode. You can also prop up your iPhone on a table top or against a wall to keep it steady. If you are really gung-ho, Joby makes a gorilla pod for mobile devices called the Go-Go.

4. Photos need a little something extra?  Tiffin’s Photo fx $2.99

me and mum painter's
I used the Center Spot filter to fake the LensBaby effect around my mum and I.

Add an optical filter of pizzaz to your shots by applying one of the 26 filters in Tiffen’s Photo fx. This is one of my favourite apps for making photos pop. Add a colour gradient to make sunsets more punchy, a polarizer to make skies richer, vignette to make faces stand out. You can even layer a bunch of filers on top of each other for a super cool effect.

5. Photos all look the same? Use CameraBag $2.99

boat holga iphone
This boat house looks extra derelict with Camera Bag’s Helga preset.

CameraBag is the easiest photo apps to use, and one of the coolest. Choose your photo and scroll through the 8 presets. I like the Helga (faux Holga) & Lolo (faux Lomo) settings the best. I find that the Fisheye setting never really comes out and the Infrared setting is just plain weird, but experiment with your own shots. You never know what you’ll come up with.

Photos don’t have to be perfect to capture a memorable place, scene, or moment, but they do need to be taken. So shoot with whatever you’ve got and make it spectacular!

Do you have a favourite iPhone Photography app? Share it in the comments!

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26 Responses to “5 iPhone Photography Apps to make your Shots Spectacular”

  1. I really hope the new iPod touch has a camera. I think it’s rumoured that one’s coming. I’d love an iPhone, but they’re only on O2 here (no signal where I live) and they cost SO much! And the storage sucks at the moment.
    They should make an iPod touch with a HDD. I think people would be willing to sacrifice thinness for über storage (120GB). I know I would.

  2. Hi Lisa, you should try CameraKit, thats another iPhone app i can´t live without any more.

  3. Did you add a lens to make the egg photo? It seems you mentioned using a case with a lens on it at one time. It doesn’t look like a simple computer filter. At any rate, the photos are all great, much better than what I can manage with my iPhone, particularly the colors and dynamic range.

  4. Have been having fun with Toy Camera. Adds the Forest Gump ‘Life is like a box of chocolates…’ effect to my iPhone photos.

  5. Klick for uploading to flickr. ProCamera because it combines the features of several photo apps I’ve purchased previously.

  6. I’m glad you’re back. Thanks for the tips.

    One thing, I’m sure you know this and have just been busy, but for a blog to be successful… You need to have regular posts. At least once or twice a week. And the posts don’t need to be all that long, and long as you update your readers.

    – Keep it up.

  7. I have been using iEasyCamera – which seems to do the same thing as FastTapCamera – and for the same price.

  8. I am a big fan of Shake It Photo. Mimicking Polaroid, with extra contrast, saturation and graininess!


  9. Toy Camera and QuadCamera for me.

  10. You missed two major photo apps!

    Pano – http://appshopper.com/photography/pano

    TiltShift – http://appshopper.com/photography/tiltshift

    If you’re going to pick to purchase between one or the other, get Pano first. It’s an amazing tool.

  11. I like the portrait of your mom, and she’s got very expressive eyes.

    I like poladroid quite a bit , seems to do a good job at replicating polaroid film (colros and texture) and it’s fun to use too.

  12. DSLR Remote works as a Remote Control for a Canon EOS camera. The Pro Version includes Live View. (I’m waiting for the Nikon version – it’s being developed.) Pretty neat idea though.

  13. […] ilife. iphone apps to get better ifotos. […]

  14. These are pretty cool apps for iPhone. I haven’t get an iPhone yet… I just had new Nokia phone, lol. iPhone was just launced in my country. :)

  15. Don’t forget PhotoRoom!

  16. […] del mismo no sea comparable a la calidad de una cámara normal. Y si no que se lo pregunten a Lisa Bettany, a la que probablemente conoceréis por los vídeos de MacHeist en su papel de espía […]

  17. […] Fuera de su espacio en Flickr con multitudinarias fotografías de calidad, Lisa ofrece montones de entradas en su blog a la fotografía y, en el mismo, buenos consejos al momento de hacer fotos. Esta vez nos da algunos consejos acerca de cómo mejorar las fotografías con tu iPhone, entrando a esta página http://mostlylisa.com/blog/iphone-photography-apps/. […]

  18. […] le foto con il nostro gadget preferito. Per esempio, in questa entrata ci svela qualche segreto per migliorare le nostre foto con l’iPhone […]

  19. […] da algunos consejos acerca de cómo mejorar las fotografías con tu iPhone, entrando a esta página http://mostlylisa.com/blog/iphone-photography-apps/. Lisa es además miembro de un grupo de Flickr que se dedica a la fotografía con el iPhone, en […]

  20. “The Best Camera” app for the iPhone by Chase Jarvis. It’s brilliant! http://retwt.me/bonr

  21. I attended a lecture on HDR last weekend and came to know of this free app called EVCalc. It acts as a cheat book and helps “calculate” exposure bracketing. More info on this link – http://findfiles.com/318174367/iphone-app-evcalc.html?&setsite=win

  22. Extraordinary post you have realized here! The web is awash of bad authorship and I was taken hold of by your lucidity. Your decisions are dead-on and I will forthwith subscribe to your rss feed to stay up to date with your up approaching postings. Yes! I accept it, your publishing style is magical and I will work more concentrated on mine.

  23. Hi!
    Great site!
    Do you know Hipstamatic for iPhone?

  24. I have been using iEasyCamera – which seems to do the same thing as FastTapCamera – and for the same price.

  25. I love to use Hipstamatic and Instagram.
    More Lomo is a free and fast application that rocks

  26. I was just reading an article over at techcrunch saying that 10% of all photos ever taken have been taken in the past year and that a photography explosion is taking place thanks to the iphone and apps like camera +, instagram and hipstamatic. Exciting times.

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