The following post is from Constantin Opris, Dreamstime Professional Photographer, who shares some great tips and apps for improving your mobile photography.
As smartphone cameras become better and faster, there’s a growing interest in mobile photography. The considerable advantage for mobile photographers comes in the form of integrated applications that allow them to setup, take and alter shots in completely new ways.
There are two main types of apps that are useful for mobile photography: apps you’ll use before taking the photos as part of the planning process, and apps to alter and improve photos on the back end. Here are some of the best current applications for taking eye-catching mobile photos:
Moon phase and star gazing for amazing nighttime shots
Apps such as Moon Phase and Pocket Universe are helpful for photographing at night and learning more about the stars and solar system. You want to know if you’ll have a clear sky where stars are visible and a bright moon that makes shadows on the ground. Some of the stargazing apps even tell you how clear the sky is in your area, taking into account cloud cover and light pollution, for example. Pocket Universe also has interesting features such as tips on spotting the International Space Station.
Depth of field/hyperfocal
DOF Calculator and Hyperfocal Pro determine the focal length used, the aperture value and camera sensor dimension. Some apps will let you set a focal length and aperture and project the viewing angle on a map so you’ll know before getting there if you will be able to catch the whole view in a frame when shooting from a certain distance with your lens.
Know and plan for the sun’s direction
Apps including PlanIt for Photographers, SunPosition Map and Suncalc.net track which hour the light will be perfect for your shot. You need to utilize different sunlight angles to evoke certain looks, so work with one of these apps to find the proper natural light conditions.
Apps like K-White Whitebalance and Digital Grey Kard are really useful if you don’t have a white balance cap for your lens. They are used to set a neutral white balance when using a DSLR or another camera that supports custom white balance settings.
Certain time-lapse apps, like Lapse It, let you save the photos you’ve taken and are used to simulate long exposure. It’s perfect for capturing clouds, sun rises, or any motion-based activity.
Awesome Miniature and TiltShift Generator are used while taking photos or afterward. The miniature effect they create is very visually interesting. A city scape is transformed into a mini model train set with one of these applications.
You’ll need a steady hand for these apps, but using apps like LongExpo when photographing moving water, cars or city life produces amazing shots.
Apps such as Snapseed add infinite color tones, textures and contrast to your images. It can lighten dark areas, darken highlights, crop, rotate, saturate and more. Another fun one to test out is Adobe Lightroom. Photographers use Lightroom on their computers, but it also works great on phones or tablets. This software is like a modern era photography print lab with an entire room full of equipment, substances, dryers, optical glass filters, lenses, trays and more – reduced to an app.
A bit of everything
Use VSCO for shooting, editing and sharing your mobile photographs. If you like the analog film photography aspect, you will like VSCO. This app’s developers realized what made film so different – color toning, contrast and grain – and then made various types of film toning available via mobile device. Add these filters with a single tap and spice up your photos.
Mobile photographers in 2016 have an array of applications at their disposal that allow them to take an amazing collection of shots. Time-lapse the Milky Way’s progression across the sky, take a portrait pic with the perfect “golden hour” light, or stretch out the exposure to capture a babbling brook. The possibilities are endless, and serious photographers should employ many apps in tandem to play with the various effects to produce engaging photographs.