in Projects, Programming, Technology

My 10 Favorite iPhone Photo Apps

Last fall, an iPhone app called Instagram started me on an amateur iPhone photography kick. Since then, I’ve taken about 1,000 photos. Here are my favorite iPhone photo apps.

1. Instagram. I’ve written before about why I love instagram. The main reasons are:

  • Low picture quality photos provide a creative constraint that makes it easy to get started
  • Positive social reinforcement (easy to “like” a photo)
  • Helps cultivate an artistic eye, because the emphasis is on photos for the sake of photos (not necessarily documentary photos)
  • You can learn from others by reading the comments

2. iCameraHDR or Pro HDR. HDR is my favorite trick for getting great photographs on the iPhone. HDR stands for High Definition Range and makes for really dramatic photos. It is accomplished by taking two photos with different exposures and then merging them.

iCameraHDR also does tone mapping which processes the colors in an image to make them really pop. The effect can make your photos almost look like drawings. (Click the thumbnails for larger photos).

3. Dynamic Light. Simulates HDR by exaggerating the light and dark areas of a single photograph. I believe it also applies tone mapping, because the results can be very similar. I really love this app because you can get HDR-like and tone mapping effects on single photos long after you take them.


4. TiltShift. With an iPhone (and any point and shoot camera) everything is in focus. The tilt shift effect refers to applying a blur to simulate the distance of field in DSLR photography. I find this one really annoying when people do it wrong. You should apply the blur to things at the same distance. It can also be used to create a optical illusion of miniaturization by blurring the top and bottom of an image.

5. Retouch – Great for removing things from photos!

6. PhotoStudio or ProCamera. Basic toolboxes for cropping and filtering, steadying your shots, separating focus from exposure, etc.

5. Photosynth – This is technology invented by microsoft for taking 360 degree panoramas. You stand in place and take many pictures in all directions, and photosynth stitches them together.

6. Face Cam – Smooths out wrinkles and can be used widen (or narrow) your eyes and jaw line. Great for profile pics.

7. iMut8r – a big hit around halloween

8. ToonPaint – turns you into a cartoon.


9. MobileMonet – another painting algorithm that lets you apply color after the fact.

10. OutColor – nifty framing gimick.


What are your favorites? What apps have I missed? Please leave a comment and let me know!

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  1. Surprised that u use PhotoStudio for basic editing only. With the last update and even earlier it gives u so much more

  2. Great list Adam!! I totally agree about Instagram. In addition to the reason you mention, I love the simple and beautiful UI. It encourages sharing which is the best part for me. Face Cam looks very cool too!

  3. This is what you call AWESOME. Photo editing w/o using Photoshop application. I like the halloween thing. kinda creepy. Great post.