“The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it.” – Ansel Adams
The connected camera and mobile photography currently represents a major switch in the way that modern photography works. As much as people may say that it is the end of professional photography, they still don’t realize that it’s still all about the creativity in the mind of the person behind the camera. And while some apps are quite good, others allow you to unleash even more creativity than a standard filter. Here are our favorites.
What would this list be without the tried and true venerable Instagram? The company based its service around letting a user take photo, apply a vintage filter to them, and also implement other creative effects like a tilt-shift look. But what really drives it is the community they built around not only sharing and integration with other services, but also with the use of hashtags.
Some photographers make their entire living off of the app now.
Instagram pushes your creativity by having you work within its limits and think simpler but within a metaphorical box.
VSCO Cam is put out by the Visual Supply Company–who creates loads of film-like filtes and presets for Lightroom, Photoshop and Aperture. VSCO combines the filters of Instagram with some of the versatility of Snapseed. The filters are all really interesting and fun but the user can take the look further in their beautiful editing interface by working with the exposure, contrast, and more.
Plus the user can lock focus on one area and the exposure on another.
VSCO also recently announced GRID, which lets users explore the work of other creatives for inspiration.
Snapseed was created by Nik software and is now owned by Google. Many mobile photographers (and regular photographers) consider it the best editing app out there because of just how versatile it is combined with the swiping interface. Indeed, it really is fun to work with, and emphasizes a lot of editing on one image–just like Photoshop.
If you’re in a rush, Snapseed also allows you to use loads of creative filters that they include.
Granted, the interface isn’t as simple as some of the other apps on this list, but it is still well worth the try.
Perfectly Clear is an app that is centered around getting your images to look damned good while maintaining a perfectly natural look to them. There are in-app options to make further purchases for extra enhancements. The app was originally a program and/or plug-in which I personally still use to do minor retouching after editing in Lightroom.
Our advice when working with Perfectly Clear though is like driving a Toyota Camry: hold back. Push the sliders too much and you’ll end up with an oversharpened and noisy image.
Perfectly Clear, like Snapseed, doesn’t have a community–though they really should.
Photoshop Touch is an extremely powerful app that basically lets you do nearly everything that you can on desktop Photoshop, but on your phone. It introduces with it some interesting new features such as the scribble selection tool that lets you select what you want to keep from an image and gets rid of everything else. We’ve been using it for months on and off and we’ll be the first to tell you that veteran Photoshop users may instead just spring for the features that they’re already used to instead due to the fact that we believe that major feature needs a revamp and improvement.
It also includes layers, camera fill, and more. If you’re a Creative Cloud user, you can sync the work you do on your phone to the web cloud and edit on your computer when you get back to it.
Cameleon is an app that we’ve been playing with for a while now and though it is brand new and still a fledgeling, it shows lots of promise. The app lets you take an image and then afterward it gives you the ability to change major settings like sharpness, contrast, exposure, and hue. Even better, it creates copies of the image so that your original is still untouched.
You can also edit your scene and adjust your settings before you even take the picture–giving you control over the entire look for the most part.
Be warned though, it can be processor heavy. The creators promise to roll out loads of new features and to constantly improve on the app.
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