Some people like the point and shoot simplicity of a smartphone camera, for others the art of photography is a serious business. Whatever your snappy style, there is something for everyone online. One of the biggest criticisms of iOS cameras is that you cannot control the fine details of your shot for artistic effect. Shoot Manual does away with that with a £1.49 app that gives you complete manual control over your camera to alter things like shutter, ISO, white balance, focus and exposure. Other features include a live monitor for automatic exposure values, histogram, fill flash, EXIF viewer, and a Rule of Thirds grid – all of which mean nothing to me, but I am reliably informed will appeal great to a photography buff.
If you’re serious about photography it becomes a blend of art and science, understanding the best composition and knowing how the light will fall on your subject at any time of day and night. The Photographer’s Ephemeris is the ideal companion for outdoor photography with a map-centric sun and moon calculator so you know what to expect from the light and shadows. The app is quite pricey at £6.99 on iOS and £3.22 on android but there is also a desktop version that’s free to use.
Another great example in this genre is Photopills, which is only on iOS right now and again is quite pricey at £6.99. But the interface is beautiful and really easy to get to grips with. I’m sure anyone who wants to get serious about their smartphone photography will find the purchase price acceptable. As well as the map-centric natural light planner the app is packed with great features like long exposure and depth of field calculators, hyperfocal tables and a handy timelapse tool. The interface is very intuitive, letting you select a date and location and then slide the dots on the bottom part of the screen to see direction and times for the sun and moon. You can even use augmented reality viewer to know exactly where and when the sun or moon will be in your shot.
As well as telling you how the world will affect your photos, there is a raft of ingenious gizmos to help perfect that shot. Anticrop is 79p on iOS and un-crops your image, using cloning technology to fill in the gaps if you want to reframe a little wider. It works really quickly and is one of those apps that makes people gape in awe when I show it to them.
For the perfect 360-degree shot check out Bubblepod, which will set you back £25 but is really quite ingenious as it is a wind-up stand you insert your camera into to capture that panorama. It works in conjunction with a free app for iOS and Android and has a silicon top so any phone can be inserted easily and because the mechanism is wind up there are no batteries to run flat. The inventor even designed it to sit on top of a wine bottle with a silicon grip, which makes it the perfect accompaniment for capturing a shot of all your guests around the dinner table.
One of the downsides of digital sharing is you don’t get to see the reaction of the person you’re showing the photograph to. Sharing the sharing of our captured memories can bring a whole new level of fun and personal interaction. Reactr for iOS and Android does exactly this, using the recipient’s camera to capture their reaction on opening a video or photo you send. They will need the app installed too, then they can choose whether to send the reaction to you or not.
There are also lots of funky effects apps available for your smartphone. Glitch Wizard on iOS is £1.49 and that lets you create funky ‘glitch’ effects on photos and create animated GIFs of them. Sharing your creations is one-click easy to all your favourite social media streams.
Light App is a free iOS app that lets you play with lighting effects on photos of buildings. You can add patterns, shapes and colours using different effects and even change the ambient lighting in a shot from day to night using a slider. Share to social networks when done.
Eyeem isn’t a new app but the latest update is quite recent and adds significant changes. This is a photo capture/edit/sharing app, free on iOS and Android, with a fantastic community appeal that also connects you to a marketplace to sell your shots. Missions are also set by people looking to purchase a particular type of image.
Once you’ve captured the perfect shot you’ll want to share it. Kee.ps is an old favourite as it is free and completely private with no storage limited. It’s incredibly easy to use and provides you with an event email address for others to send their snaps to if you want to collect them in one place.
To make sure your artictic work is protected when posting online, Tagg.ly is free on iOS and Android and allows you to tag photos and video with your own embedded copyright material and even a logo that then becomes a watermark to protect your intellectual property.