Photography has been a hobby of mine since the early 1980’s. The first serious camera I purchased myself was a Minolta Maxxum 7000i film camera but I’ve gone digital now and now use a Canon Powershot SX210IS, although I’m investigating the new Canon EOS-M their first mirror-less digital camera (Amazon affiliate link).
I just checked and there are over 74 apps on my iPad related to photography. For the sake of this review, I’m going to leave out the standard Apple included apps; Photos and Camera but am including iPhoto. I’m also leaving out the picture-taking apps such as Camera+ from SmugMug or ClearCam and concentrating on those that let you edit your photos, apply filters, and upload them to various social networks.
Whittling this list down to just 5 photography editing apps you shouldn’t be without ended up being an agonizing decision. There are quite a few apps I’ve grown fond of using but if push came to shove and I could only have 5 photography apps on my iPhone this would be my list.
You can click on any of these images to see a larger version.
I love iPhoto for iOS. There, I’ve said it. It’s my main photo editing app on my iPad or iPhone. If I need to do any heavy lifting, I still transfer them back to my MacBook Pro and use Aperture but I’m finding myself traveling lighter an leaving the laptop behind more often and then my iPad gets used a lot for editing photos.
What I like about iPhoto is the intuitive interface. The very first time I used it just seemed natural. unlike many of the auto-enhance features on iOS photography apps, I usually like what iPhoto does and use that as my starting point for further editing. It has the primary tools that get used most often; cropping and straightening, adjusting exposure, adjusting saturation and white balance, and brushes for repair, red-eye, saturate/desaturate, lighten and darken (aka dodge and burn), and sharpen and soften. My only complaint is with the sharpen and soften adjustments. Unlike all the other brush adjustments that allow you to adjust a slider to get your desired results, they only have low, medium, and high adjustments. There are times when the medium sharpen is just a little too much but low isn’t enough and it would be nice to have the ability to adjust in between. Overall I really like iPhoto on iOS and I’m using it more and more.
Honorable Mention: FilterStorm and Snapseed
These are two other apps that I’ve used in the past for basic photo editing. Snapseed is free and now owned by Google whereas FilterStorm is a paid app.
2. 100 Cameras in 1
100 Cameras in 1 by noted photographer Trey Ratcliff is an effects/filter app that I use a lot. While other apps such as Instagram (mentioned below) or PhotoStudio HD (honorable mention) have filters, I like the variety of options available within 100 Cameras. Besides they have cool names like “a child’s shoes, swinging from the chair”, “our lives forever caught in a dream“, or “the dark feeling inside around midnight” and they do indeed capture what the effect produces. I’ve always felt able to get just the result I want using any of the 100 effects and the combination of 5 adjustments plus the ability to combine any of these effects giving you an almost unlimited range of textures and effects to get exactly the look you want. It’s an app I can spend hours just playing with it and seeing what I can do with it.
Honorable Mention: PhotoStudioHD
When I’m out and about and taking shots with my iPhone 5, I love to apply one of the 19 filters and then post them to Instagram.
I use to wish for an iPad version but since getting my iPhone and using it instead of the iPad for photography that’s disappeared. It would still be nice to have a native iPad app for those times when I’ve edited or enhanced a photo on my iPad. In those circumstances I use the iPhone app on my iPad in 2x mode but it’s still not like having a native app.
4. Retouch HD
Sometimes you’ve got a great shot but there’s something distracting in it or some object you just want to remove from the view. For those times one of the apps I go to quickly make this sort of change is Retouch. With it, you circle or brush on where you want to remove and then click on process and voila the offending object disappears. In this snapshot of my dogs at the dog park, Vinnie my tricolor collie turned away just as I was snapping this photo. As an example of using Retouch HD, I wanted to remove him from the photo.
Here is the final result. While not ideal, the grass does make a challenging background to recreate. The software works better in other situations where the surrounding background is simpler .
The last app in my list is not one for editing but one for transferring photos. While iCloud and photostream have made transferring photos easier. Wi-fi transfer apps are becoming more popular and Apple is rumored to be bring AirDrop from OS X into iOS potentially making it even easier. But I still use PhotoSync to get those snapshots from my iPhone onto my MacBook Pro. It has not only an iOS app but also a Mac app to allow it to transfer both ways. You can also put photos from your Mac onto your iPhone or iPad. The set up is extremely easy as the software takes care of it for you. Simply fire it up on both your Mac and your iOS device and they find each other and let you quickly transfer photos. I used it for all of these screen shots taken on my iPad as well as all the photos from last weeks 5 Must Have Emergency Apps For Your iPhone.
I have a very large collection of photography related apps and they each have their own good points and bad points but if you told me I could only keep 5 of them, these are the 5 photography editing apps you shouldn’t be without.