I final­ly threw cau­tion to the wind and bought a bunch of iPhone pho­to apps the oth­er day and thought oth­ers might find a review use­ful. The thing about the iPhone cam­era is that it is a low-end cam­era and, some­times, not try­ing too hard actu­al­ly makes it a hell of a lot bet­ter, you know?
Take, for exam­ple, the cou­ple of iPhone apps that make your shots look like a vin­tage Polaroid pho­to. They look great, because they aren’t try­ing to make your pho­tos look like more than they are. The lo-fi image qual­i­ty actu­al­ly enhances the sub­ject mat­ter. And they’re fun to make and view, too. Or may­be you real­ly love the look of a Hol­ga or Lomo? Eas­i­ly done. [ShakeIt­Pho­to | Polar­ize | Cam­er­aBag]
But what if you real­ly do want to take bet­ter iPhone pho­tos? Which app is the best one and offers the best over­all per­for­mance? I’m not sure there is a “best one” just yet, but sev­er­al apps are try­ing for the title. Pho­tog­ra­pher Chase Jarvis has an app (and photo-sharing site and com­pan­ion book, too) called “Best Cam­era” that aims to be the king in this mar­ket. At $2.99 you’d hope it might be the one, and it does per­form quite well what with extreme­ly good shar­ing options, non-destructive filters/effects and ease of use. But I don’t find myself using it all the time.
But can the best wanna-be cam­era take a “Per­fect­Pho­to?” This app seems almost like a mini Pho­to­shop on your phone and gives you quite a bit of cre­ative con­trol over your imag­ing with fair­ly exten­sive menu options (gam­ma, high­lights, shad­ows, sharp­en, col­or temp, looks, etc). Worth hav­ing in your arse­nal of tools.
But what about Adobe? “Pho­to­shop Mobile” just launched and is very fast and respon­sive on the iPhone and pro­duces good qual­i­ty results. I just feel it is very much a ver­sion 1.0 type of app and am wait­ing to see what future options might include for image edit­ing. They’ve got the name recog­ni­tion and great per­for­mance so far. More exten­sive tools would be make this a must-have for any­body, espe­cial­ly at the low price of free.
Final­ly (and yes, I know there are many oth­ers apps out there), my cur­rent mind-blowing favorite (and free!) app is called “Mill Colour” and was cre­at­ed by some pro­fes­sion­al colourists. The col­or con­trols and results in this lit­tle app are tru­ly astound­ing and I rec­om­mend this as a “must-have” app if you care about col­or.
So what is my go-to tool? How do I use my iPhone cam­era? I find myself shoot­ing shots, going to Mill Colour first to tweak over­all col­or qual­i­ty, then either Pho­to­shop or Per­fect­Pho­to for fur­ther adjust­ments and edits, and then either Best­Cam­era or Cam­er­aBag for final effects or looks. It sounds like a lot, but since all the­se apps can load/save images from your library, you can do the edits as you find the time. Yes, it would be great to do it all with­in a sin­gle pro­gram, but that pro­gram hasn’t been writ­ten yet.
At this point, I guess I’d rec­om­mend the Best­Cam­era app to the casu­al iPhone pho­tog­ra­pher since it has a pret­ty nice fea­ture set and includes super use­ful shar­ing fea­tures.