My favorite iPhone photography apps


Originally posted as a discussion on gdgt.

Since I've had my iPhone 4, I've noticed that I've been using my other cameras less and less. My poor Nikon D300 and even my S90 remain either at home or in my bag. It's simply easier to pull a phone out of my pocket and take a quick snap. Especially now that the quality of pictures (at least in decently lit to well lit settings) are pretty good!

I've been playing with *a lot* of iOS camera applications. I'd be willing to wager that I have more photography apps on my iPhone that any other type of application. Here's a rundown of some of my favorites. It's by no means a comprehensive or complete list!

1. Hipstamatic ($1.99)
hipstamaticapp.com/
I think this is easily on everyone's list. The vintage effects are pretty cool, plus there's a number of different lenses and film types available (for purchase) that you can play with. In my opinion, the only downside of this app is that you can only use it for live photos -- that is to say, you can't import images from your library. The developers claim that they do this to capture the live and spontaneous nature of photography. While I agree in principle, sometimes I'd like to have the option to take an image and just post-process it however I want.
Example: www.flickr.com /photos /rockbandit /4601082...

2. Incredibooth ($0.99)
incredibooth.com/
(iPhone 4 only) It's made by the same developers who created Hipstamatic, and is aptly described as a "photo booth in your pocket." It's a fun application when hanging out with friends. It utilizes the front facing camera, so it's iPhone 4 only. You have the choice of 3 different lenses and it takes a series of 4 photos in quick succession. It's one of those applications that instantly put a smile on anyone's face when they see it in action. It's extremely well executed.
Example: www.flickr.com /photos /mariss007 /47867714...

3. Autostich ($2.99)
www.cloudburstresearch.com /autostitch /au...
Want to create panoramic photos with your iPhone? Autostitch provides an easy way to do it. First, you need to take a series of photos using the native camera application. Then you open up AutoStich, select your photos and it auto detects edges and overlap and creates a pretty seamless panoramic photo! One of the things I dislike about this app -- the fact that you have to take the images first and then open up the app. I wish there was a way to take the images within the app (while still saving each discrete image to your photo library, should you choose to). Also, it hasn't been updated in awhile. Not that it necessarily needs it, but I'm curious to see what sorts of improvements the developer can make to it, especially since they aren't the only app of this type in the iOS photography space.
Example: www.flickr.com /photos /rockbandit /3804256...

4. OldCamera ($0.99)
www.freshapps.com /old -camera/ (non-official link)
This app creates old time looking photos using a number of black and white / greyscale / sepia / vignetting effects. I enjoy the pictures it creates, but sadly, it limits the photos it outputs to a max of 1600 pixels. Also, you can only shoot photos from within the application, so that means no importing some amazing photo that you took.
Example: www.flickr.com /photos /rockbandit /4803094...

5. Polarize (free!)
www.apptism.com /apps /polarize
Simple! It creates photos with a polaroid style border and applies the appropriate effects (increased saturation, vignetting). You can take a photo from within the app or import something from your library. Sadly, this is another that hasn't been updated in a long time, but you can't beat the price of free!
Example: www.flickr.com /photos /martino _pietropoli...

6. You Gotta See This! ($1.99)
www.boinx.com /seethis/
(iPhone 4 only) This app uses the gyroscope within the new iPhone 4 to create a panograph. This is similar to a panoramic photo, however the photos are overlaid on top of each other in a rather non-blended fashion. It creates a pretty cool effect that previously took me a LONG time to recreate using Photoshop. I wish the pictures it output were a bit higher resolution. But it's pretty unique when taking photos of buildings and various landmarks that are either very tall or very wide.
Example: www.flickr.com /photos /rockbandit /4860163...

7. TiltShift Generator ($0.99)
artandmobile.com /tiltshift/
Have you ever seen those forced perspective images that create crazy depth of field illusions (where everything looks miniature)? Originally, it required an expensive lens (or some Photoshop trickery). Some zany developers created an Adobe AIR app and eventually ported it to the iPhone. Now you can create your own tilt-shifted images. When used correctly, the results are pretty stunning!
Example: www.flickr.com /photos /greyvdm /4447376166...

8. Camera+ (was $1.99, temporarily unavailable)
campl.us/
There are a number of applications that have added functionality to the iOS's native camera client -- grid lines, digital zoom, timed images, etc. Camera+ was one of the most unique and well executed apps in this category. Recently, they added a novel concept via a URL hack. It allowed users to take photos using one of the volume buttons on their iPhone. Unfortunately, this ran afoul of the rules and rightly or wrongly, their app has been pulled from the App Store. Hopefully we'll see an updated version back in the near future!
Example: I wouldn't really say I have any examples, since it's just an enhanced camera app.

9. Cam-u-flage ($1.99)
www.sebastianarena.net /ourApplications /c...
This is basically a spy camera application. You can set the screen on your iPhone to various backgrounds (or just display a black screen). Turn off the sound, and start tapping anywhere on your screen to discreetly take photos or video. Creepy? Absolutely. But as someone who rides public transportation almost everyday, it can be amazing to document the interesting people one encounters on their daily trips.
Example: www.facebook.com /photo.php ?pid =3556867 &a...

What are some of your favorite camera apps?

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