The iPhone has one of the best phone cameras around. These apps help make it even better. There’s no shortage of photo editors for the iPhone. Take any picture you snap and apply filters, adjust the saturation or white balance, remove unwanted items from the image and so much more. Mobile photo editors have come a very long way in just a few, short years.
But what about apps that help you take better photos? There are plenty of those, too. Here are four of the best.
Camera+ ($2.99, £2.99, AU$4.49) is one of the original third-party camera apps for the iPhone, and it’s only gotten better with time. Outside the default auto mode, you can choose between shutter priority or full manual control, which lets you fine-tune focus, shutter speed, ISO and even white balance. Camera+ also lets you shoot photos in raw.
One of the best features of Camera+ is the ability to tap with two fingers to set exposure and focus separately.
As far as manual camera apps go on the iPhone, Camera+ is one of the easiest to navigate, but it’s also somewhat light on features compared to others. One thing you’ll be missing here is video support.
Another manual camera app that’s a bit of a step up in terms of features and difficulty is ProCam 5 ($4.99, £4.99, AU$7.99). You get the same control over white balance, manual focus, ISO and shutter speed. But you can also choose between raw and TIFF, and you can choose between 360 photos, slow shutter, burst mode, portrait, night mode, video and time lapse.
ProCam is packed to the brim with settings, like overlaying a copyright stamp on photos you take, shutter or ISO priority, image and video stabilization and much more. It also lets you customize the interface by changing the color, choosing between different grid styles and enabling focus peaking and an exposure histogram.
At first glance, ProCam can feel like information overload. But for photographers who are used to shooting in manual, all the settings are welcome.
Stepping out of the wide world of manual camera apps, there are other types of apps that specialize in certain shooting situations. Hydra ($4.99, £4.99, AU$7.99), for example, specializes in tricky lighting. It excels at HDR photos and videos and low light.
You won’t find fine-tuning settings within the Hydra viewfinder either. Really, you can only change the resolution or select one of the five shooting modes: HDR, Video-HDR, Lo-Light, Zoom and Hi-Res.
One of the best features of Hydra is the Hi-Res mode, which borrows a trick from astrophotography by snapping multiple photos rapidly and using the slight differences in each to fill in the blanks, so to speak. This can turn what would be a 12-megapixel photo into crisp 32-megapixel image. And it’s no gimmick — it works surprisingly well.
Slow Shutter Cam
Finally, Slow Shutter Cam ($1.99, £1.99, AU$2.99) specializes in long exposures. You can choose between three shooting modes: Motion Blur, Light Trail and Low Light. You can adjust the light sensitivity, blur strength or noise reduction, as well as shutter speed and ISO.
This app is perfect for night photography, light painting or creative nature photography. Just remember this app practically requires a tripod or a perfectly still phone for the pictures to turn out well.