10 iPhoneography* apps you will love

When I post my photos to Instagram or Flickr, people ask me what camera I use, because they love the picture. I use a mixture of iPhone 3GS, an Olympus point and click, and a Canon 600D. Many of the pictures I create, particularly the ones I upload to Instagram, are often the result of creative post-processing using a variety of iPhone apps, so I thought I would share my favourites:

1. SuperAlbum

I love this app became it allows me to access all my online photo accounts, and import my photos into my iPhone. For example, if I take photos with my Canon or Olympus, to enable iPhone post-processing, I either upload selected shots to Flickr or Picasa and then use SuperAlbum to import these photos back into my iPhone. That’s not all it does, of course, but that feature alone makes it worth the $1.99 or so I paid for it.

2. Camera+

Do yourselves a favour, and if you are going to take pictures with your iPhone, replace the native camera app with Camera+. It’s just better! You can crop, resize, edit, add filters and have access to all sorts of sharing options. It’s only a few bucks and sometimes it’s the only app I use to edit photos – usually to add clarity or sharpen – before I upload them.

3. PhotoToaster

If there isn’t a specific filter for my shot in Camera+ that’s when I turn to PhotoToaster. This app has an awesome selection of filters, categorized from Basic to Supreme, and is often my first port of call after I’ve used a Camera+ function. I can also crop and share, which is awfully handy.

4. Dynamic Light

This app mimics HDR (high dynamic resolution) shots. HDR post-processing takes two shots of the same scene at different exposures (one overexposed and one underexposed) and fuses them together using Photoshop or similar. HDR Fusion is another app I use for this type of work. The difference is that this app actually takes the pictures at the two different exposures, fuses them together and saves it as one shot. All the work is done for you.

5. Simply B&W

The trick to successful black and white photography is to stop pictures appearing flat. SimplyB&W allows you to apply different light filters (blue, red, green, yellow etc) to the photo, depending on the shot. You can also up the grain and adjust intensity and contrast. The result is stunning black and white photos that have life.

6. NIR colour

This clever little app replicates infrared photography. It produces some amazing two-tone effects that make photos look other-worldly. I’ve found it works particularly well on landscapes. Just load in the photo, apply the filter, adjust and voila! Photography that is so close to infrared, it’s not funny!

7. Bleach Bypass

This nifty little app leeches the colour out of your photos so it has a “bleached” look. While it is a genuine photographic technique that is part of colour film processing, it is one that is replicated very well with this app. I quite like the effect and use it in conjunction with Dynamic Light for added drama.

8. TiltShift Gen

This is one of my most-used apps. It applies a shallow depth of field to your photo (similar to playing around with aperture on your DSLR camera), with extreme application on landscapes, for example, making them look miniature or “toy” shots. TiltShiftGen works by blurring the outside edges of your shot. I use it for when I want to direct the eye of the viewer to a certain point, or provide a focus. I use it often because it produces a lovely effect, and is often the last step in my post-process.

9. Lenslight

I have only recently discovered LensLight and it has fast become one of my favourites. It replicates light situations to add pizzazz and interest to your pic. It has a number of uses, including hiding power lines in the shot below! It adds light orbs and streaks, sun rays and moon. I tend to add this filter once I’ve added TiltShift Gen if I think the shot needs some life. Lensflare is a companion app, and that too, has some nifty effects.

10. Instagram

Just about everyone iPhone user has heard of Instagram. In case you haven’t it’s a social networking site that allows you to upload your photos, follow other Instagramers (yes, that’s how you spell it) like and comment on photos you like. You can take photos and use native Instagram filters to jazz up your shots. There are some amazing photographers who post work, and I follow a number of photographers in the @AMPt_Community so I can learn from them. My goal is to have one of my shots featured in their feed.

Final Word

Of course post-processing doesn’t fix truly awful pictures. You need to have something good to work with in the first place, and applying filters doesn’t make a bad picture good.

It may or not surprise you, but I’ve only become interested in photography in the last six months; before that, I couldn’t take a good photo to save myself. It was luck, more than anything else, and this was quite noticeable in my photos from Vietnam. They were hit and miss. A few were good. Most were terrible.

So just before I went to China in 2011, I did a quick and dirty three-hour photography course, which taught me the basic “language” of photography. Best money I ever spent, and I would tell anyone who says they can’t take good photos that they haven’t really tried. Do a short course, read some photography blogs (and there are some good ones out there like Digital Photography School and Photopoly), subscribe to a magazine or two (Australian Photography also has a companion website), and keep practising!

So, if a klutz like me can take decent photos, anyone can!

Final word

My Twitter friend @FernandoGros has an excellent post on his blog for those new to iPhoneography, and want to learn more about the how.

For those wondering why I haven’t included SnapSeed, which serious iPhoneographers seem to absolutely love, it’s because I haven’t worked it out yet. Got it, just haven’t used it much.

* This is a repost because – when I updated the title – the stupid WordPress app replaced the already published post with a draft which was only half written. So I had to write it again. Grrr.

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