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Apps For Taking And Editing Photos With Smartphones

Apps For Taking And Editing Photos With Smartphones - Using your smartphone for taking and editing photos is easy to do and can have surprising results.

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Article by ePHOTOzine member Simon_Marlow.

About a year ago I set myself a photography challenge as follows: Whatever photo editing I needed to carry out that I would normally do in Photoshop, I would try and achieve the same thing using only my iPhone 5 or iPad 3. This not only includes photos that have been taken on the phone, but also photos that I have transferred from my PC onto the iPad/iPhone.

Most of the Apps detailed below are also available on non Apple devices (Android), but as an iPhone user these are the versions I use. Over the period this has led me to try out almost every photo editing App on the market, trying to achieve my editing and photo preparation requirements.

Of all the Apps I tried there were a few that I came back to time-and-time again because I knew they would allow me to achieve my goals. I'm not associated with these Apps in any way but am just sharing my experiences which I hope you may find useful.

I'll briefly explain each App I use below and the reasons why:

For photography:

ProCamera - £2.50
For me, this is everything the standard camera app on the iPhone should be. There are a wealth of options you can use to get the best photos possible.

The anti-shake is great, switch this on, point at your subject and it will ensure your camera is steady before it snaps the image. The self-timer means you can capture self-portraits or family shots with everyone in and the manual focus and exposure lets you have complete control to capture sharpness and exposure exactly as you want.

HDR Pro - £1.49
HDR Pro is excellent App that will automatically generate HDR images for you using your iPhone and the results are surprisingly good. As with any HDR the technique only works with still images, landscapes etc. because more than one image is taken a couple of seconds apart. Any movement will mean blurred elements in your final image.

So how does it work? You load up the App and point your phone at the image you want to capture. Then, once you touch the screen the magic starts to happen. The App will intelligently analyse the image and pick out the darkest area and the lightest area. It will then take two photos, one over exposed to the lightest area and one under exposed to the darkest area. Then the two images are automatically merged together and a final image created for you.

It's a great App which produces good results, but you must make sure the camera is completely still during the process. A small mini tripod is an ideal piece of gear when using this App.

For editing

Snapseed - Free
Snapseed is an App that can cater for most of your editing needs and preserves the quality of the image when saved.

This is one of two editing Apps I personally use for my images, mainly because it produces great results quickly and has a very easy to use interface.

So what can you do with the App?

Some of the main features are listed here:
  • Brightness adjust
  • Ambience adjust
  • Contrast adjust
  • Colour saturation
  • White balance adjustments
  • Straighten images, good for horizons etc.
  • Cropping images
  • Turn into Black and White
  • Filters - A wide range of filters are available if that's your thing.
  • Centre focus - Highlight or change the ambience of a small or larger area within your image.
  • Tilt-Shift - Add a new dimension to your image
This is not an exhaustive list of what can be done with this App, each item listed above also has multiple ways to adjust the overall effect of each one.

iPhoto - £2.99
The iPhoto editing App is produced by Apple and is a very high quality application that is packed full of features to help improve/adjust/prepare images to look their best.

The reason I really like this App is for the ability to use brushes which are fully adjustable to brush over small parts of your image, you can zoom right in make very small changes as you like.

The major functions that are available are listed below:

Smart browsing
  • Use simple gestures to quickly sort through dozens or even hundreds of photos
  • Automatically find similar photos, so you can quickly make comparisons
  • View multiple photos side by side to help you choose your best images
  • Tap to flag any photo, apply a descriptive tag or mark it as a favourite
  • Resize and reposition scrollable thumbnail grid for optimal browsing in either orientation
Multi-Touch editing
  • Simply touch and drag on the parts of the image you want to change
  • Use the face-aware Crop tool to keep your friends and family in the picture whenever you change the aspect ratio
  • Touch and drag on the image to adjust blue skies, greenery and warmth
  •  Drag the white balance loupe to make precise colour corrections
  • All image adjustments are completely non-destructive and can be modified at any time
  • Straighten your pictures with a tap using automatic horizon detection
  • Use your fingertip to paint photo adjustments just where you need them
  • Turn on edge detection to help you apply adjustments with even more precision
  • Lighten, darken and change saturation or sharpness selectively
  • Paint out spots and blemishes with a powerful Repair brush
  • Brush away red-eye, or use the Soften brush to minimise wrinkles
To summarise, you don't have to spend a fortune to collect a few good photography and editing Apps. I recommend giving all these a try, and if you have one to recommend, include it in the comments below. 

Article by ePHOTOzine member Simon_Marlow.

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