10 Great Apps for Photographers
One of the more frequent technical questions I am asked by guests on our workshops is “What Apps do I use as an aid in my photography?” Smartphones have changed photography for ever. Nowadays, we are literally bombarded with a selection of apps. As with any top 10 list, the constraint makes it impossible to list all the best apps, or even most of them, but the ones listed below are some of my personal favourites as an aid to my own photography.
While the masses have found a new life in their smartphones built-in cameras, with filters from Instagram to name but a thousand, I personally have found that there are great resources to download to my phone in order to “get the shot” from my own cameras with the help of the apps listed below:
1] The Photographers’ Ephemeris by Crookneck Consulting LLC [$4.99]
Until recently, the only way to ascertain sunset/sunrise times and information about the phases of the moon was to pore over tables of numbers, but The Photographer’s Ephemeris has changed all that. The Photographer’s Ephemeris displays it visually, so that you can see the relative angle of the sun and moon as it will appear on any date at any location on the planet. The application was originally designed to help landscape photographers, but it can be useful for those taking any kind of shots outdoors.
2] Nikon Manual Viewer 2 by Nikon Corp. [free]
Nikon users are in for a treat. Use the Nikon Manual Viewer 2 viewer app to download and read manuals for Nikon digital cameras. Download the manual for your camera onto your smartphone or tablet for instant access to information on camera operations anywhere, anytime, online or off. In addition to allowing you to browse through the manuals, the index includes hotlinks to the relevant sections, and you can add your own bookmarks to your manuals.
3] F8 DoF calculator by Bitwerkz [$3.99]
To take the perfect shot, you’ll need an app to calculate the perfect depth of field. No app does it better than f/8 DoF Calculator. All the calculations are done a single screen, which makes it easy to read, but if you don’t know much about the subject you might be a bit confused. Aperture and distance variables are adjusted by sliders, and all the info you need is displayed in a panel just above the sliders. The app will display: total DoF, near and far limits, and the distances it extends in front of and behind the subject. You can choose to view the app in metric or imperial measurements, and the built-in camera bag has support for hundreds of camera bodies, sheet film sizes and cinematography settings. You’ll need to enter your lens information manually however. This app will let you quickly calculate DoF very easily.
4] Pocket Light Meter by Nuwaste studios [free]
Okay, so you have the perfect DoF calculated, but what about your exposure setting? Pocket Light Meter is a great free app that does everything you could want in an light meter app, including reciprocity calculations. For a reasonable price of $0.99, you can remove the ads and make the exposure display larger. A must have for a serious photographer.
5] 500px by 500px Inc. [free]
500px.com is one of my favourite websites for sharing my own photography. However, it’s also one of my favourite websites. You can find images that are simply breathtaking on 500px and the app does a great job of showing you the best images quickly. There are social features on every image so within a few taps you can find out the photographer and begin to interact with them by following their profile, commenting, liking or favouriting their photos.
6] TriggerTrap by Triggertrap [free]
This app lets you trigger the shutter of your DSLR from your phone and supports more than 300 different camera models. There are a number of creative modes to make your images stand out. For example, use the “Star Trials” mode to set a series of three-second exposures with a 200 millisecond gap between each. The “Distance-lapse” is also useful – if you’re in a moving vehicle you can set it to take a photo every number of feet/metres, rather than seconds, and then create a series of seamless photos for a timelapse video.
7] Easy Release by ApplicationGap [$9.99]
Designed with the professional photographer in mind, Easy Release is a simple way to collect and store your “model release.” If you’re going to be taking photos of people or properties that you intend to use for other uses than personal, you’ll need to obtain the person or homeowner’s permission before you can legally use or sell the image. This app allows you to collect a signature, as well as embed it alongside the images in a PDF. You can also personalise the form and PDF with your company name and logo. The PDFs generated by the app are recognised by major photography agencies such as Getty Images and Alamy.
8] WeatherPro by MeteoGroup [$1.99]
If you want to know whether to bother venturing out for a shoot or not WeatherPro is the way to find out. It features seven-day forecasts and reports for over two million locations worldwide. I personally think that the weather is the most important aspect in outdoor photography. It doesn’t matter how much you spend on gear. The fact is weather can make or break a photograph and if you know a bit about the weather before you head of for a shoot you have a much better chance of securing that great shot you are after. The rainfall radar can even help you keep your gear dry. You can pin down almost to the minute when the rain will start falling, allowing you to photograph dramatic skies and then run for cover just in time.
9] Rego by MakaluMedia Inc. [free]
When it comes to portrait photography, location is key, and Rego will help you keep track of all your favourite spots. With each location you can add photos and make notes about the lighting and anything else you want to remember.
10] FolioBook by Architek Ltd [$9.99]
For some professional photographers, an iPad may be less of an editing tool and more of a modern portfolio. When meeting with clients, lugging around a book of prints may come off as a little old fashioned. Instead, consider taking along an iPad using one of the many portfolio apps for iOS. FolioBook offers Dropbox integration and allows for portfolio sharing over multiple iPads and Apple TV as well as the instant creation of a website to display up to 20 photos. If you need to display your portfolio on multiple devices, then FolioBook just might be your best bet.