The top 5 phone travel photography apps. How to get more out of your camera phone.
Mobile phone photography has come a long way! A few short years ago the phone in your pocket couldn’t even take a picture. Now your smart phone is an amazing camera in its own right (never mind making phone calls), with lots of apps to choose from, easy manipulation and incredible quality.
Whichever was the first mobile phone to have an on board camera - the Samsung SCH-V2000 or the Sharp J-Phone – they weren’t up to much, with just 0.35 and 0.11 megapixel cameras each.
In March 2007 everything changed when Nokia brought out the N95. Its camera could take shots at a whopping (for the time) 5 MP. Then again, it wasn’t too long before the first generation Apple iPhone hit the high street. That was on June 29th 2007. Many consider it to be the day that the mobile photography revolution began in earnest.
The mobile phone is the perfect tool to take travelling. It is compact, almost always with you and will allow you to be discreet, allowing you to capture better moments. Cameras, through the use of apps, can also allow you to be more creative than ever before with your pictures.
So what apps do you need to take better photographs? If truth be told no app is going to take the place of a good eye for a picture, but they can really help to bring otherwise dull images to life by allowing you to change the look and feel of your photographs.
We asked our social media man, Tristan Rothwell, who also happens to be a very accomplished and widely published photographer, to tell us about his top 5 favourite apps and tell us why he likes them.
1 Hipstamatic Classic for iPhone
Hipstamatic is a retro camera app for the iPhone and is – allegedly – based on the Hipstamatic 100, a retro film camera from the 80s that was a massive failure and sold less than 200.
The app gives you access to 100s of combinations of lenses, film types and flashes so your pictures can take on all kinds of different feels. It’ll keep you amused for a long time! The “shake for random” option is interesting as you really don’t know what you will end up with! That feature seems to replicate the randomness of a Russian plastic cameras rather beautifully.
Tristan says, “Hipstamatic is my go to app for iPhone photography. I always use the “random” option as I like the unpredictability of it. And if there are settings you really don’t like you can exclude them in settings. I recommend using the Libatique 73 Lens with Rock BW-11 film and a Dreampop flash for Black and White and the John S Lens plus Pistil Film and Standard Flash for colour shots.”
2 645 Pro Mk3 for Iphone
Website – Jag.gr
645 Pro is not your average point and press photography app. It’s a fully controllable camera based on a digital SLR so it’s perfect for those times when you don’t want to take your bulky DSLR with you. It has some stunning film modes (as used by photographers from the 60’s up to the present day) and a panoramic 6 x17 option. Basically it has all options covered, with fully manual exposure control – including spot and matrix metering – so if you want to replicate your SLR or even medium format, this is the camera app for you.
Tristan says, “I love 645. The quality is amazing. It’s got everything that my DSLR has, but it fits in my pocket, so if I was travelling and had one app I could use it’d be this one. It’s taken mobile photography to a whole new level. I particularly like the high quality output with its options of max quality JPEG and TIFF for amazing quality.”
3 Snapseed for Android and iPhone
Once you have taken that shot you’ll probably want to edit it a little (or a lot) to make it even more stunning. Snapseed is the app you need. It has been around for a while and was bought by Google back in 2012. It can perform mild editing tasks or let you do a full blown job on your image if you feel it needs it.
Photograph taken in Hipstamatic and then edited in Snapseed.
Tristan says, “I have used snapseed for as long as I have had an iPhone and I love it. A professional photographer friend put me onto it. I like to use lots of different layers to add drama then distress it and add retrolux. I also like the tilt shift and drama options as they are particularly powerful. When you use them in conjunction with 645 Pro you can get some really powerful effects.”
4 Native IOS Camera
The iPhone in built camera - with its current IOS 8 isight version - has really come on since the 2MP fixed sensor camera on the 1st generation iPhone. It now boasts 8mp on the iphone 6. And, like all apple software, it’s well thought out and a doddle to use. It also has a lot of new features. You can set the focus and adjust the exposure – something that’s really useful.
The Native Iphone camera will take great shots
Another new addition is time-lapse. Now you can capture that sunset and watch it back at faster than normal speed. To use it, open your camera, swipe the menu to time-lapse, compose the shot and start it recording. You will need to shoot for at least a few minutes so make sure the phone is steady - ideally using a tripod. It’s great for recording a drive or a cycle. Just mount it on the dash or the handlebars and away you go!
Tristan says, “I have found myself using the native camera more and more recently. I never used to use it much, as it was limited at best, but if you want no frills photography I would go for it!”
5 Pixlr-o-matic for iPhone and Android
This is another retro feel camera, from developers Autodesk. Like all apps it enables you to add after effects including scratches and bokeh although there is an irony to taking pictures on a very advanced camera phone and then making the shots look like they came out of a £20 Russian toy camera.
Tristan says, “I have been using this for a while and love it. When I am travelling I want to have lots of different options for shooting great photos I might shoot the same shot three or four ways but I don’t want to have to spend loads of time editing my travel photography. This app makes it possible to edit quickly.”
Want a little bit of extra help using your DIGITAL SLR? See our blog post HERE.