The best photography apps

Tried and tested - the best photography apps

Here's our roundup of our tried and tested best photography apps (and the odd gadget). It is our pick of the bunch that will help turn your humble phone camera into an awesome image-capturing and sharing device.

Word of warning: this is a tacky effect-based photography app free zone

I have been through a shedload of photography apps, and this is a round-up of what I think really works. This isn't a blog post on an exploration of the next 'cool' effect / filter / border / retro-ify / shove-it-in-a-circle / whack-a-donk-on-it styles of photo-app - it's about identifying the best apps that will help you produce better photography to update your social channels / blog posts etc.

All photos have been taken by myself using my iPhone + app + occasional gadget.

1. Hipstamatic

hipstamatic photography apps

Great app, costs a few pence here and there but great fun. What you get is a retro styled camera with a variety of lens options and frames/borders that add that real vintage feel to your pics. Hipstamatic was way further ahead of facebook and instagram with the whole 'filter' thang.

The quality of the pics is soooooo much better that those on instagram, being sharper, higher clarity. In addition you can organise prints and order real analogue prints via their store. There are a few extra bells and whistles now, but the base unit is the same. The sharing options are pretty awesome too, linking nicely to instagram / tumblr / flickr etc.

Top tip: Try to stick to a neutral, not-too-heavy effect with your images. I usually keep it simple with the 'blanko' film and a straight forward lens.

When / where to use: Great for mixing things up from your straight forward camera function. Great with vivid colours, shooting in black and white and when working with strong sunshine.

Hipstamatic greenhouse
Outdoor field landscape
Beach landscape
Camera equipment
Stone beach
Abandoned building
Dummy heads
Number 3 balloon


2. CP Pro (Camera Plus Pro) [£1.49]

camera plus pro photography app

Leave the default camera on your iPhone alone and get your head around this powerful camera and video app. Seriously impressed with this bit of kit, it features: Auto white balance (and lock), focus lock, anti-shake, timer, filters, exposure control (by simply scrubbing over area you want to expose for), burst mode, tags (great for like me when you are part taking photos for one of your blogs at a later date), geotags, big button mode (turning your screen into a button - great for covert street photography) and great sharing tools.

Where / when to use: Instead of your normal camera. Big-button mode excellent for discreet street shootinG!

View on itunes

3. By Post [Free + cost per card]

bypost app
Rothfink print material

Forget buying postcards that you'll never send, you need 'by post'. You simply buy credits in-app via paypal/itunes (approx £1 per postcard) and upload your pic and message and guess what, it gets transformed into a real (yes, real) postcard. It even uses your contacts / address book. Its as simple as that!

Where / when to use: Holidays, thank you cards ... easy and relatively cheap!

4. Instagram [Free]

instagram app
Female mannequin

Not really much i need to say about this one. I always see it as the glue between networks. It is one of, if not the best photography apps to share, not for photographic quality but for social reasons. The quality of images is ok, but doesn't compare in clarity to other apps like Hipstamatic or flickr, and it is mildly infuriating that it only shares the smaller version of the photo to flickr, but, lets not get down on facebook's bastard son, it is a great way to engage and build an audience.

where / when to use: Daily, but for businesses, careful not to flood your stream with irrelevant or dull imagery!

Red vegetables
White winged trainers


5. Diptic

Model montage

Slice, dice and mix match those pics into multi-montage diptychs and beyond. Its a great tool for creating photo-stories and when you don't want to flood your feed with 4 - 6 images of a similar thing.

Without a doubt, over the last couple of years this has been the photography app that people have asked me the most about.

Top tip - If you are a full-time image maker (photographer, designer etc) its a great way to remind people that you also take 'proper' pics (ahem).

Where / when to use: Great for assembling similar or series-images. Exports large too (approx 3600px wide)!

Diptic graffiti
Diptic portfolio example
Diptic too
VW montage
Beach scene
Model montage


6. Filterstorm

filterstorm photography app

This is genuinely like Photoshop in your pocket. A little tricky getting to know your way around, but when you do, the power is immense. Curves, saturation, levels, spot removal, text, automations ... literally all the tools you'd come to expect from photoshop and the inclusion of layers for more complex mashups. Alot of iPhone photo/artists swear by this tool. Great for complex artistry, simple edits and watermarking.

Where / when to use: Great for  bit of post-processing on the move. Adding watermarks, spot removal, adding text. Also really powerful art tool that alot of iPhotographers use to process their shots)

Behind the scenes shot of Charlotte Church filterstorm photography app

Above, behind the scenes shot of Charlotte Church with processing by Filterstorm. Feb 2013.

7. Google Maps [Free]

google maps mobile photography app

Not your typical photography app, but a great tool for using as a satnav abroad. Keep 3G costs low, quickly find your location and then knock all mobile data off - you'll be able to still navigate thanks to the in-built GPS of your iPhone.

Where / when to use: For planning that shoot through to actually getting there.

8. Geocaching [£6.99]


Get off the beaten track and find something new! Geocaching (unsure what it is? check out their intro guide here) is a great way to find unusual places away from the tourist trail, and lets face it, this makes better photographs. There's only so many shots of towns midday that anyone can handle, and the geocaching app helps you to do just this. It is like having an ordanance survey map in your pocket, with the ability to download local maps (including paths, bridle paths, cycle paths etc) - and when abroad this is invaluable. Again, wait til you have wifi or 3G and you can download the maps for offline use, and like Google Maps, you can then navigate via the internal GPS of your mobile when out on walks*.

Aberthan landscape
Aberthan location
Aberthan location

*obviously, don't go completely wild walking without a real map/compass. 

9. OlloClip  [from £39ish]


Not a photography app as such, but a real bit of kit to take your iPhone to the next photographic level. Lightweight, crafted of premium materials and sized to fit in the palm of your hand, it’s the perfect solution to capture and share what you want, when you want. A fisheye, wide-angle and two macro lenses are uniquely crafted into one compact device. I seriously love this piece of kit and it comes with me everywhere!

If there has been one thing that i have been glad i have bought, it has been this bit of kit. The lenses are a dream to use and really add diversity to your shots. Mix the lens with hipstamatic,  instagram or hyperlapse and you have a great mix. In addition, the lenses work amazing with the iPhone video mode - giving you a much wider angle of capture than your normal iPhone video camera.

Where / when to use: all the time, seriously! It really adds variation to your normal iPhone snaps and small enough to carry with you everywhere.

Mountain landscape
Abandoned petrol station
Sea location
Miss Erised


10. Hyperlapse from Instagram [Free]

Hyperlapse from Instagram

Create amazing time lapse videos with Hyperlapse. Using Instagram’s in-house stabilization, Hyperlapse shoots polished time lapse videos that were previously impossible without bulky tripods and expensive equipment.

When you shoot a time lapse video with Hyperlapse, your footage will be instantly stabilized to smooth out the bumps from the road and give it a cinematic feeling. Capture an entire sunrise in 10 seconds—even from the back of a moving motorcycle. Walk through the crowds at an all-day music festival, then distill it into a 30 second spot. Capture your bumpy trail run and share your 5k in 5 seconds.

11. Muvi X-Lapse [from £17ish]

Ollo clip and muvi x lapse

The MUVI™ X-Lapse is the must have accessory for every film maker who wants to add something different to their movie edits. The MUVI™ X-Lapse enables a film maker to take sweeping time-lapse images that when edited together create an amazing movie effect. Coming complete with iPhone/phone adapterits another awesome portable device that adds diversity and complexity with your photography. You can mount this on any traditional tripod, or use the built in feet stabilisers.

Putting them together: Ollo Clip + Muvi X-lapse + Hyperlapse

What's better than these apps/gadgets on their own? When you can use them together. Here's a few tester videos plucked from my personal archive of some test shots utilising the Ollo Clip (fish eye), Muvi X-lapse and captured on Instagram's Hyperlapse. Please note these have been left uncropped / unaltered for pure demonstration purposes.

Whats your favourite photography app? We'd love to know ... comment below