iPhone Photographic Apps

For the Photographer and iPhone user, there are literally hundreds of Apps being marketed and targeted at us. They range from being free to over $100 per year, but how many are useful in the field, and which apps are actually beneficial to our craft and profession?

Since 2007, we have used many iPhone photographic apps, and a lot are cumbersome to use, inaccurate or just simply a waste of time. Pocket light meters which have a internal variability of more than a couple of stops are a case in point.

We have culled and honed our selection of useful apps to those listed below. We have no affiliation with any of these apps or their developers.

1. LongTime

Long Time Exposure Calculator © 2010 Thomas Penn, HPR-Solutions

LongTime is a free tool for those of us who use neutral density filters for capturing long time exposures. With less dense filters such as 2 or 3 stop ND filters, the camera's built in light meter can still function accurately. However, with darker and denser filters, and especially the 10 stop or Big Stopper ND filters, the camera's meter becomes unreliable. LongTime allows accurate calculation of exposure time by metering first without the filter. Yes you can do the Maths in your head, but for most of us this app does it quicker and more reliably.

2. DOF Master

DOF Master © 2008 Don Fleming

DOF Master calculates depth of field and hyperfocal distance. We use an app named "Bokeh" for this, but this is no longer available. DOF Master is a $1.99 app which is useful in all forms of photography including macros and landscapes, and does the same thing as Bokeh.

3. Focalware

Focalware - Spiral Development Inc.
© 2008-2011 Spiral Development Inc. and Warner Photography, Inc.

We must credit landscape photographer Kah Kit Yoong for recommending this app. It is the one we use most and is invaluable for landscape photography. It informs us of the sunrise / sunset times as well as the moonrise / moonset times anywhere in the world. In addition it gives information on Sun/Moon azimuth and elevation and much more. Though it costs $4.99, for us it is priceless.

4. GPS4Cam

GPS4Cam - © 2009-2010 Michael Diguet.

This is the easiest to use and most efficient way of geotagging your photos in our opinion, if you don't own a camera with built in geotagging. We won't go into the pros and cons of geotagging except to say that for us, there is little downside as we don't post photos of our home or family. We have tried many geotagging apps and we feel this is the easiest to use as there is no need to sync the camera to the phone. It also works with all digital cameras.

The steps to geotagging with GPS4Cam are:

- Launch gps4cam and press the ‘Start a new trip’ button.
- At the end of your trip, press the ‘Export’ button, which will generate a QR code. Take a picture with your camera of this screen.
- To upload the pictures on your mac or pc, use gps4cam desktop (free download on their website) which will automatically encrypt the GPS data into the exif details of your image (including RAW files)

At $2.99 it's great value.

5. Flashlight PRO

Flashlight Pro -

There are many flashlights / torches available for the iPhone 4 and 4s, using the built in camera flash. Most are free. However we like the functionality and brightness of Flashlight Pro, and the ease with which you can turn the light on and off. It is really useful for seeing in the dark as you setup before dawn, or if you want to trek back to civilization after your 3 hour star trail shoot. At $0.99 it's not going to break the bank.

Yes, a dedicated headlamp would be better, but you'd be surprised how often this gets left behind. Flashlight has been our saviour on many occasions.

The above apps are those we use frequently in the field for our landscape shoots. We also use a couple of apps when using the iPhone as a camera for candid shoots or when the DSLR is not readily accessible. The 2 best apps for iphone photography we feel are:

1. Camera + (taking images and image editing - love the clarify tool)

2. Adobe Photoshop Express (image editing)

With all these apps and the likelihood that the iPhone will be in constant use during a shoot, the question of battery life worried us initially. We therefore purchased a backup portable iPhone charger using rechargable AA batteries. The only time we have needed to use this however was on the 6 day Overland Trek in Tasmania, where there was no power source for the trek. During normal shooting conditions, iPhone battery life has never been a issue, including with GPS4Cam which captures the GPS position up to every 30 sec.

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