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My favorite iPhone photography apps

My favorite iPhone photography apps

Hipstamatic — Picking my No. 1 app was simple. Hipstamatic rises to the top. I shoot non-work-related fun photos every day using this app, which turns ordinary photographs into artistic, square masterpieces with a variety of edges, effects and colors under my direction. Everyone knows all creative photographs are square. Aren’t they? I do have to agree with Hipstamatic’s motto: “Digital Photography Never Looked So Good.” The app sells for $1.99, with the additional film and lens pack selling for 99 cents each, which I recommend buying. You’ll end up spending $10, a bargain for so much pixel-pushing innovation. Also, you can change the look of your digital image on your camera from basic black to a more adorable red plaid.

What’s really fun about using this camera is how it transports you back to the non-digital days. It only gives you a very small viewfinder to look though and it takes forever to process your image. It’s nothing like the regular camera, which seems like a high-speed motor-drive compared to Hipstamatic. Make sure to check out the preferences in the Setting app, which gives extra controls such as Precision-framing mode.

Photogene — I reviewed this in an early Framework post because it’s simply the best app for making adjustments and then saving or moving your masterpiece down the Internet pipeline. This is my go-to app for making adjustments, including levels, saturation, sharpness, cropping, exposure and straightening.

Also, you can add a variety of frames, backgrounds, effects and caption bubbles. Then it’s a simple press of a button to send it off to e-mail, Twitter or Facebook. Photogene for the iPhone costs $1.99. Check out my Framework post about Photogene.

Pano — No one should be without an app for shooting panorama photos. Really, how are you going to capture the 360-degree view for all your fans without it? The iPhone doesn’t really give you much of a wide-angle lens, so adding Pano to your arsenal is a must. Open the app and let it take control. Snap your first photograph and it will give guides to line up your next photograph, which really helps since this is point-and-shoot without a tripod. The app makes and the calculations and puts the photograph together. Pano sells for $1.99 at the Apple iTunes store.

Old Camera — This app is my sleeper pick. This one rocks for making very nice black-and-white images. I use this when I want to turn back the clock and envision my self back in the film days shooting black-and-white film. I just like the tone this app produces. In the preferences setting, you can change the modes, which include: rich B&W, my favorite; high-contrast black-and-white, silver, platinum, kallitype and cyanotype. I also use the vignetting, but go with a more conventional horizontal or vertical mode instead of square.  Old Camera from Art & Mobile software sells for 99 cents.

TiltShift — Do you need to add a little blur or as the art community calls it “bokeh” to your photographs? Tiltshift makes it a breeze. This app gives impact to your subject and hides any distracting backgrounds. This app is well thought out and very intuitive to use. You control the location, the amount and feather of blur. Just touch your fingers on the screen to move the red bars, which determine the area of focus. Next, use the simple slider below to adjust the amount of blur. Tiltshift sells for $1.99.

Photo: A variety of iPhone screen shots from the Hipstamatic camera app, including: Classic Black, Eggshell White, Dali Dreamscape and Festive Plaid.

Read more reviews and photography tips by Robert Lachman


  1. December 22, 2010, 10:13 am

    […] My favorite iPhone photography apps comes from the writer of the Los Angeles Times photo blog. […]

  2. December 22, 2010, 11:13 am

    what is the best app to actually shoot with?
    I use camera plus but would prefer something that you can alter exposure before firing the shutter.. any suggestions?

    By: amasportsphotoagency
  3. December 22, 2010, 6:12 pm

    I usually just use Apple's camera app but if you're looking for for more advanced features like a stabilizer and timer you should consider Camera+ or Camera Plus Pro. Another app you might try is ProCamera which includes: anti-shake, a self-timer and an expert mode featuring separate exposure, white-balance and focus lock. I haven't tried it yet but it looks like it's next on my list to check out.

    By: Robert Lachman
  4. December 22, 2010, 12:45 pm

    […] So Many iPhone Apps… …Can’t decides which to buy […]

  5. December 22, 2010, 11:08 pm

    Great info Robert, thanks!

    By: Kellie
  6. December 23, 2010, 4:11 am

    ProCamera is the best shooting app, without a doubt.. It has video recording!, stabilizer sensitivity settings, several grids, Virtual horizon tilt meter, compass EXIF data! and so much more.. There’s no other with such a feature set..

    By: Pete
  7. December 30, 2010, 5:38 am

    I agree, ProCamera is the way to go to improve iPhotography..

    By: Frank
  8. December 30, 2010, 3:14 pm

    you forgot PLASTIC BULLET (apply random beauty to your images), INSTAGRAM (like autotune for photos with a twitter-like follow feature) and PHOSTER (make posters with your images).

    look them up, you won't be sorry.

    By: nybe

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