With mobile phones becoming ever smarter, everybody has the opportunity to take amazing photos nowadays. I use my phone a fair bit to take photos but I am also aware of the shortcomings. Once you have an idea on how to manage these shortcomings, I believe mobile phone cameras work really well, especially in conjuction with a nice editing app.
I currently use an iPhone and have always been a bit of an Apple aficionado. I am not going to go into a brand rant or discussion here… Apple is the brand I like using and it has worked well for me.
The issue with mobile phone cameras is that they do not let you properly create an exposure based on the exposure triangle (ISO, shutter speed and aperture). With the native app, you cannot change the aperture (I don’t know any third party app that can do that either), you can generally not change the ISO and you cannot set the shutter speed. These are all things that are desirable for a photographer in order to create the images you like and be creative. However, camera apps tend to take all of this away and automate the process of creating an exposure in the same way consumer point and shoot cameras do.
(Mind you, I am aware of apps that let you control ISO and shutter speed but I don’t feel that these are adequate enough at all in my opinion. )
This is where photo editing apps come in.
I believe that a really good photo processing app can help you make a nice image with your phone.
I would like to share the ones I use most frequently and also show you which apps I use to help me with my regular non-mobile phone photography.
The first one I am going to mention here is Lightroom Mobile. This is the app I think I use the most for mobile photography as it gives me the most flexibility when processing a photo and it is very similar to the desktop version of Lightroom so you would feel at home with it quite quickly. It has all the processing tools a photographer would ever need and they are quite powerful. You can even dial in noise reduction and sharpening as well the pretty cool dehaze feature. I can highly recommend the app also because it is free but if you are an Adobe CC user and have the subscription you can sync across platforms as well. Pretty nifty.
The next app I use frequently is VSCO. I am not part of the social media part and I would only use the app for processing and filters. Most of the time, I would process a photo in Lightroom Mobile and then transfer it over to VSCO to add a filter. I quite like the look of their filters and I bought most of them as an add on. I also use a lot of VSCO Lightroom presets on my desktop during my regular workflow.
LUCiD is an app that I use when I can’t be bothered with a lot of processing and just need a quick fix of a quick photo. LUCiD is the mobile version of the Perfectly Clear software and it works quite nicely. Not much processing skill needed just tap on “Fix!”, “Fix Dark”, “Fix Tint”, “Beautify” or “Fix Noise” and the app does everything for you. It integrates into my iPhone native camera app and it is much better for me than using the native apps’ sliders and tools. However, I would only ever really use LUCiD if I want to upload a selfie or quick and dirty food photo onto Facebook. I don’t use it for artisitc work a lot.
I also, sometimes, use Googles’ Snapseed app. I find it quite powerful and it offers a lot of value and processing options but I also think it is easy to overprocess a photo if you are not careful. It is easy enough to use so there is not much hassle.
There are apps I use which make my life as a photographer easier. I am not going to go into great detail but when I shoot landscapes, the app I use most of the time is LightTrac. This app shows me the direction of the sun and where it will be in the sky at any given time of the day in the location I am. This is very handy to plan ahead when out in the field, literally.
Another app which is quite important to what I do, especially for long exposures, is the NDTimer app. This is a nifty little app which helps you calculate shutter speeds according to the strength of the ND filter you have put in front of your lens. It is so simple to use and makes life so much easier.
Other apps I will give a quick mention are Iperfocale for focussing distances, Golden Hour, Mextures, ShutterCount and f-Stop (for darkroom work to figure out exposure and enlarger apertures).
What are your favourite apps? Feel free to let me know in the comments or drop me an email at email@example.com