One of the best features on Apple’s iPhone is the camera. Truly pin sharp images, little bit fuzzy at night maybe, but any modern smartphone makes photo sharing a joy 90% of the time. Point, shoot, edit and share – simple.
Coming from a film SLR background, the iPhone was a revelation to me; if you had told me back in 2000 that a phone could take a photo like this one of Ted on the beach, then you could tweak the image in 5 mins and share it globally, I would never have believed that possible. But it is and here are my top three Apps worth sampling if you love photography:
Use iQuikDoF to highlight one part and soften another section of your image.
This is a depth of field app, which lets you throw sections of an image out of focus and highlight one area for absolute sharpness.
It can really make a big difference if you have a picture with some strong foreground interest, or maybe there’s a logo or product that you want to highlight in a commercial photo.If you use a jquery slideshow feature in your website, then this is a really easy way to make your new products, news or show coverage sections come to life.
It’s a free app, there’s a simple to use dashboard and it’s easy to save the image or choose `Share’ on the go. If you want more, there’s an iQuikDoF Pro upgrade available from the Apple App Store too.
If you find Instagram has a limited set of features, which it does – there’s just 12 filters – then Pixlromatic might help you express your creative side that bit better. You get three scroll-thru dashboards at the bottom of the App interface, so you can choose filters, then switch to a frames selection and maybe use the `lightbulb’ option to add some kinda wacky stuff like a light `leak’ or maybe a vignette look.
Pixlr-o-matic is free and you can download it to your laptop browser, or directly to Facebook, as well as install it to your phone. If you like editing photos and you feel you need to see the image a bit bigger then this is a handy extra feature.
3. Slow Shutter
This App costs 69p but for my money, it’s worth it. The iPhone isn’t a particularly good camera at night and the flash really only works within a 1-2 metre range. So if you like taking photos at sunrise or sunset, then sharing via Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, then Slow Shutter is a handy tool.
The App dashboard lets you choose exposure times from half a second to 15 seconds, plus there’s a `bulb’ feature, just like an old SLR camera, where you select a really long exposure. But for this App to really work, you need a tripod, as I found out when I tried the classic `car light trails’ photo from a bridge.
The iPhone is so light, it's hard to keep it 100% still without a tripod
As you can see, even carefully balancing the iPhone on the bridge rail and trying to steady it by leaning against a lamp post, still resulted in a tiny degree of camera shake – so bluury image. This was using a 15 second exposure at twilight by the way.
I’ve bought a mini tripod and zoom lens kit from Amazon this weekend, so I’ll update you on how the Slow Shutter App performs with some extra gadgetry involved.
The iPhone doesn’t have a focus lock feature, as far as I know, so it may well be that the phone will keep trying to focus on a moving object using Slow Shutter. Maybe selecting the Grid option will stop this happening – testing the camera, and the App, using a tripod will hopefully reveal that it’s possible to get time-lapse images that can rival a digital SLR.
The dream photo App for me would be a `Palette,’ where you could finger-tap colours, contrast the clouds in the sky, dab at sections to filter, turn monochrome etc. Use your hand like a brush basically. A true mix between photography and art would be wonderful – give the App developers another 2 years and I reckon we will be there.
Photo sharing is one of the best reasons for buying a smartphone in my book. It’s just great fun, you can be creative every day at the drop of a hat – you don’t have a carry a bulky bag which shouts `I’m a photographer’ either.
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