Not that long ago, the mere idea of bringing a phone anywhere near professional photography was laughable, at best. The most tech-savvy in the field were those who had a photography website and could be contacted via email. Nowadays, however, the idea of not using our phones to take or share photos is unheard of.
Today's smartphones are just as powerful as all of NASA’s computers - combined - when the first astronauts were sent to the moon. This has granted them a privileged spot at the core of photography. Mobile phones are now used to plan, take, edit, and share photos, as well as to engage and schedule photoshoots with clients.
To paraphrase Eminem: We don't care if you're black, white, straight, bisexual, gay, lesbian, short, tall, fat, skinny, iOS or Android user. If you're a photographer, you need these photography apps. Simple as that.
01. Adobe Lightroom CC
Chances are you already use Lightroom to edit your photos on desktop. After all, it seems to be the software of choice for a majority of photographers. Lightroom's highest-valued features include the ability to edit without damaging the original file, the capability to add keywords to organize your photo library, and the option to save your editing preferences.
If you're a Lightroom desktop user, you'll be able to connect it with your mobile device to sync files and presets. If you aren't, this photography app will offer you a wide array of professional tools to take your images to the next level.
Many consider Snapseed to be the best photography app created for mobile devices only. Catered to anyone from amateurs to professionals, the platform boasts an expansive offering of editing settings as well as a long list of filters. The app’s most popular tools include basic exposure edition, curves, white balance, crop, and healing. Furthermore, you can choose to share the results directly on social media or save them on your device.
Following in the steps of Lightroom, Snapseed also offers users the ability to save their editing preferences and easily use them in the future to any picture. Unlike the Adobe software, however, the settings cannot be modified once they have been applied. Those looking for artistic effects will be happy to hear that Snapseed includes a selection of textures, lighting effects, and frames, as well as the ability to add text to your images.
Professional photographers might turn up their noses at this, but there's no denying that VSCO has had a major impact on the photography industry. In fact, the long list of available filters based on traditional analogue looks are one of the main forces behind the film photography trend of 2019.
Its intuitive interface and high quality results have turned VSCO into a leading reference among photography apps. The platform also allows photographers to share their pictures with other VSCO users. As a result, it's not only a useful editing tool but also a powerful community where you can get exposure for your work.
04. Adobe Photoshop Express
Ask pretty much anyone in the world how to edit a photo, and they will simply say ‘Photoshop.’ Adobe first released this photo editing software over thirty years ago, and it has become so popular that people now use the word “photoshop” as a synonym of photo editing. Contrary to popular beliefs and photography myths, however, Photoshop is not just used to give fashion models a complete makeover.
On its mobile version, Adobe Photoshop Express focuses on basic tools that can significantly improve just about any picture, such as cropping, perspective correction, auto-fix, blemish removal, noise reduction, and one-touch filters. Furthermore, this intuitive photography app includes collage maker capabilities that allow users to create beautiful graphics and then easily share them on their social media channels.
05. The Photographer's Ephemeris
Sooner or later, pretty much any photographer needs to work outdoors. In order to properly plan for this kind of photoshoot, you’ll need to know as much as possible about the light conditions you’ll be working in - such as when the photography golden hour is or where the sun sets. This is where The Photographer's Ephemeris (TPE) comes into play.
TPE allows you to track the position of astronomical objects in the sky over time. Meaning, you’ll be able to see the angle of the sun and the moon from any location on a specific date and time. Using this photography app will allow you to plan for the best natural light conditions and even compose your images before setting foot in the field.
Pixlr is one of the best free photo editing software available, both as a mobile app and online, often considered nearly as powerful as the top desktop editors. Its app falls midway between the online versions of Pixlr Editor and Pixlr Express, offering a range of editing tools and creative effects.
This photography app is primarily focused on creative edits, from double exposure and collages to filters and overlays. It also includes one-touch edits such as autofix, rotate, crop, sharpen and basic adjustments. While advanced users may find this offering quite limited, they’re just about enough to improve pictures on-the-go and share them seamlessly with friends and social media.
Behind every epic picture there’s endless hours of planning and, in many cases, a smartphone with PhotoPills. This photography app has evolved to become a favorite among outdoor photographers, especially those focused on astrophotography. Its features include location scouting, sun, moon and Milky Way map-centric planners, 3-D augmented reality, and hyperfocal, DoF, and exposure calculator, amid many others.
On top of offering access to amazing tools that will help you plan a successful photoshoot, PhotoPhills is home to a fast-growing community of photographers. Users can attend camps and workshop, read diverse photography guides, and submit their images to win daily, monthly, and yearly awards.
One of the most commonly shared photography tips for beginners is to ensure all elements in the frame have a purpose. However, in some cases this is an extremely complicated task, if not impossible. When this happens, and it will, you’ll be happy to have TouchRetouch in your phone. This photography app allows you to easily get rid of unwanted objects or people in your images.
TouchRetouch has different settings to match each image’s requirements, including one-touch fixes, blemish remover, line removal, and object removal. Simply find the one that best suits your needs and get pixel-perfect images ready to share with the world.
At this point, Instagram hardly needs any introduction. With over one billion monthly active users, this photography app is the place to be if you want to easily expose your work to an audience extending all across the globe. In order to maximize the reach of your images and grow your Instagram photography account, you’ll need to dedicate time to connect and engage with users.
Luckily, the platform was designed to encourage high engagement at minimum effort. You can simply dedicate a few minutes of your day here and there to answer people’s comments on your images, scroll over the latest posts on your feed, and share a few behind-the-scenes snaps on Instagram Stories. As long as you’re constant and keep sharing your best work, these small actions will add up to a strong online presence.
Afterlight might just be the most ambitious photography app in this list. With a platform packed with features, this mobile editor aims to win over amateur and professional photographers as well as digital creators. Among the highest-valued features, we find an ever-growing filter library, advanced curves and H-S-L enhancement tools, and textures, overlays and effects to bring your creative photography ideas to life.
On its newest version, Afterlight 2 has become one of the preferred photography apps among iPhone users. However, Android users will encounter a whole different experience. For them, Afterlight is still on its 1.0 version (which hasn’t been updated since late 2014), and requires individual item purchases rather than a one-time payment. Therefore, Google’s OS users might be better off sticking to any of the other photography apps mentioned.
Bonus: Wix Mobile App
Your professional photographer website is the heart and soul of your online presence. As such, it should have a preferential spot in your daily schedule. Yet, as you find yourself running around between photoshoots and client meetings, it can be hard to make time to sit down in front of the computer to check in on your site. The Wix Mobile App allows you to manage your online portfolio and engage with clients in real-time from anywhere in the world.
While not exactly a photography app, this platform can play a huge role in the success of your career. For starters, you’ll be able to chat with visitors and immediately answer contact forms. In a world where people lose interest faster than you can say cheese, being able to answer rapidly to any messages is an absolute must. On top of this, the Wix Mobile App can also be used to manage your bookings and online store, as well as to update your blog and start discussions with your visitors.