A Musement staffer/avid traveler/Instagram junkie shares her favorite photography apps.
If there’s one good thing about our smartphones, it’s that we don’t need to tote around a proper camera for our travels. Don’t get me wrong…I have nothing but the utmost respect for photographers and their art, and I do believe that nothing beats a real camera. However, I’m always up for lightening my load, and opting for my lightweight phone camera is always an effective way to do so.
As a proud iPhone owner, I am very grateful for the creative platform its camera has given me. iPhones produce decent quality pictures, is super light and has the capacity for something that takes my photos up several notches: Photography apps! And no, I don’t just mean Instagram…
In addition to Instagram, here’s a look at some of my favorite photography apps that I think every traveler or staycationer like myself should have.
I rarely post a picture on Instagram without first editing it in Snapseed. In addition to the expected editing options (yes, many of which Instagram has), there are plenty of other tools that will make your snap picture perfect. From blemish removing to white-balance adjustment to healing to cropping to “curves”, which lets you make image adjustments from multiple anchor points and more, you have a plethora of tools at your fingertips. You can even edit multiple photos pretty quickly by applying last edits to the latest photo. That being said, I’m not crazy about their filters, so that’s where VSCO comes in….
Download: App Store, Google Play
Once I’ve edited my photo in Snapseed, I most likely go to VSCO for a “preset”, which is what they call filters. The free app has solid editing options–more than Instagram, but less than Snapseed–and comes with ten presets. F2 is my favorite, but I sometimes experiment with others. You can purchase more, which I did. Their all lovely, however, I do have one gripe: Deciding which one to use as they each add their own particular flair to the photo. Like Snapseed, you can save time with bulk editing by copying edits from another picture.
Download: App Store, Google Play
3. Pro HDR X
Dynamic range is the ratio of dark to light in photos. Yes, nowadays, our smartphone cameras do indeed have a built-in High Dynamic Range option. However, this app is quite dandy and well worth the $1.99 price tag. When you’re taking a picture, you have to be patient as it takes three different photos at different exposures to combine them into one, which you can then edit right then and there. Needless to say, this is great for night shots and photos where there’s a lot of light. Not so great for movement shots. Download: App Store, Google Play
Do you remember that time, say, you snapped a photo of spaghetti al pomodoro on a white plate? You decided you’d post it later so you could eat the pasta before it got cold. Then later came and you noticed an unphotogenic splash of the tomato sauce on the rim of the bowl, and you wound up kicking yourself for not having noticed it sooner? If you did, you would have wiped it away with your napkin before snapping. Well, if you have TouchRetouch, all you have to do is upload the photo in the app, and you can correct it, removing that red splash for good. It’s also great for eliminating certain photobombs, like that lone swimmer who floated into your seascape. Download for $1.99: App Store, Google Play
5. NightCap Camera
Maybe you’ve been sprawled out on the cool sand at night listening to the soothing sound of the sea gently lapping against the shore. As you were admiring all the shimmering stars in the clear sky, you pondered how it would make such a gorgeous photo, but alas, you wouldn’t be able to capture it on your phone? Well, you can with NightCap Camera. Not only is this app good for night photography but also cityscapes, fireworks, sunsets and pretty much any type of night shot. As to be expected, there are lots of great editing features like long exposure and time-lapse.
Download for $1.99: App Store only
6. Slow Shutter Cam
Did you ever see those photos of Dubai at night from the top of the Burj Khalifa that capture the emirate aglow? Or the Eiffel Tower amid the motion blurs and light tails of the ongoing traffic? I eventually learned that those type of photos were taken using a long exposure, whereby the shutter closes slowly, and Slow Shutter Cam app does that for you. This app is fun and feels a bit like magic making.
Download for $1.99: App Store
7. Lightroom Mobile
This is a photo-editing app from Adobe. I honestly haven’t used it (yet), but everyone has such amazing things to say about it that I felt like I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least mention it. It’s free to download and most of the editing options are free, but you do have to pay if you want to unlock others.
Download from App Store and Google Play.