Apps for Photographers
Android and Apple are expanding how we work and play on the go. Check out 11 nifty tools for your mobile device.
By Betsy Finn, Cr.Photog., CPP
Apps have become an integral part of life for many of us. There are apps that organize, apps that amuse, apps that manage your social networking. No matter what you need to do, as Apple’s ad campaign proclaims, “there’s an app for that.” But what about apps for photographers? There is a plethora of chintzy photo filters and other fluff apps that don’t really perform up to the developers’ claims. Where are those apps that are actually useful? We’ve found eleven apps for both Android and iPhone that every photographer should consider adding to their arsenal.
If you offer installation services for your wall portraits, then these bubble level apps make it easy to quickly check that the piece is hanging properly. The ’droid version, Bubble, is free and comes with bubble levels for both vertical and flat surfaces. The iPhone app I prefer is iHandy Level. It’s free, but only has the vertical surface bubble. If you want the flat surface bubble, upgrade to iHandy Carpenter ($1.99).
ADOBE PHOTOSHOP EXPRESS
This application is the newest version of the recently rebranded Photoshop.com Mobile. You probably already have this app on your phone, but if not, it might be worth checking out. From Photoshop Express, you can crop, rotate, or flip your pictures, as well as enhance the image by adjusting exposure, saturation, tint, contrast, brightness, or by adding effects and borders. The interface is pretty intuitive, and allows you to share to social networking sites once you’ve saved your revised photograph. This app is free for both iPhone and Android devices; you will need a Photoshop.com account to make the app fully functional.
PrinterShare is a way to print from your mobile device to any printer. You can print anything—documents, web pages, contacts, etc. PrinterShare has free and premium ($4.99) versions, and is available for both iPhone and Android. The free app allows you to print to a “remote” printer (you have to install PrinterShare on the computer too); the premium app can print remotely as well as to nearby Wi-Fi printers. Before buying the premium app, print a test page to your printer to ensure compatability.
Developer Kekoa Vincent developed versions of this app for both the iPhone and Android phones. The iPhone store offers several versions ($1.99, $0.99, free), while the Android market has only the free app. Based on your current GPS location, the app will display the weather, your coordinates, and of course the times you want to know: dawn, sunrise, sunset, dusk. In addition to viewing the current day, you can change the date, and if you have the paid app, even check the stats for a different location. The remote location feature is not yet available for Android users.
This iPhone app is a great reference resource for any photographer. It has depth of field, hyper-focal distance, flash exposure, and more. The developer also included a sunrise/sunset function so that you can access all your information in one place, and short reference documents on the Zone System and Sunny 16 Rule. It is available on the iTunes App Store for $2.99.
CamCalc is the droid counterpart of PhotoCalc; you can find a free version and an ad-free version ($1.99) in the Android market. CamCalc calculates depth of field, field of view, focal length equivalents, exposure compensation, and more. As with PhotoCalc, there is a basic sunrise sunset feature; if you get the paid version, you’ll also be able to do solar calculations based on your GPS location and see the sun’s path and elevation throughout the day.
DSLR CAMERA REMOTE
This app is a godsend for photographers who want a remote live viewfinder preview, camera control, and trigger. Currently available only from the iTunes App Store, you can get the pro version ($19.99) or the lite version ($1.99, basic remote triggering functions). Your camera needs to be tethered to your Wi-Fi enabled computer, and you will need to install the server program on the computer to link your camera to your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad.
PHOTO BUSINESS CARD APP
If you need to share your contact information with a client, this iPhone app will help you do so in style. Available for $1.99 on the iTunes App Store, the app allows you to create custom virtual business cards to share on Facebook, send via e-mail, etc. You can save multiple business cards customized for the services you offer, or with a variety of photos.
This Android camera app allows you create image presets to quickly and easily take artistic images, or edit images after the fact. There is a free version, which restricts you to creating captures with tiny file sizes, as well as the full-featured paid version ($4.99). The preset buttons onscreen make it easy to adjust your settings on the fly.
Joby, the makers of Gorillapod products, have created a free iPhone camera app, with several nice features. The capture view includes a number of optional tools, such as a bubble level, timer, and a composition grid.
This free iPhone app allows you to add a text watermark to your photos before sharing them with the world. After typing your watermark text and setting the opacity, simply click on the image to place the watermark.