The iPhone has a great camera feature which is widely used by photography enthusiasts. Thanks to the various iPhone camera apps, taking photos with the iPhone becomes more exciting. Here we’ve rounded-up ten of the best iPhone camera apps that can transform your iPhone into a digital camera.
Most of the apps in this article focus on still photos, but let’s not forget that the iPhone’s camera can also make video. iVideoCamera takes video recording to the next level, by letting you use effects. You can add film scratches, or make it look like you’re on television news. A snow globe filter makes light fluffy flakes fall downward, and if you rotate the iPhone, the flakes will change direction, so they’ll keep going down. You can make text scroll, pretend you have night vision, or go for a trippy infinte zoom effect.
Once you’re done with your movie, you can post it to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Vimeo, or TwelveSeconds. You can also FTP it, e-mail it, send a link to it by SMS, or save it to your camera roll. It even turns the iPhone into a web server for sharing movies on the Wi-Fi network, and gives you an address for friends to type into their browsers.
Stereoscopic photography the art of taking pictures that give an illusion of depth when viewed with the right equipment is an ancient art. TwinShot3D lets you make three-dimensional photos with your iPhone.
There are, of course, some limitations. You need 3D glasses for the app to work at all. Knowing this, the publishers support three different kinds of 3D glasses. (If you’ve still got your Intel 3D glasses from the Superbowl in 2009, tell TwinShot3D you’ve got amber and blue glasses.)
Real 3D images are made by capturing images from two perspectives simultaneously, to simulate the gap between each eye. Since there’s no way to do that on the iPhone, the app prompts you to take one photo, then move the phone a few inches and take another. It’s best if your subject doesn’t move while you’re taking the pictures.
After that, line up the images and tell TwinShot3D to process them to make one 3D image. If it worked, you just might get hooked on making 3D images.
If you take a lot of photos on your iPhone but don’t connect it to your computer once in a while, you’ll have some photos in one place and other photos in other places. Cinq tackles that problem by letting you transfer pictures to your home computer over 3G or Wi-Fi. It also lets you look at your photo library from your iPhone, which is great if you aren’t already carrying all of your photos with you.
Cinq works by turning your Mac or Windows computer into a server that listens for requests from the iPhone app. The Cinq server software is a free download. For security, Cinq will only send or receive images if the phone and computer are both logged in to the same Tunaverse.com account. Those accounts are free.
Even if you used iTunes to put your entire photo library on your iPhone, you can still get some use out of Cinq. The pictures on your iPhone are probably shrunken versions of the original photos on your computer, so many of the fine details may be missing. Cinq lets you zoom way in on details of the larger photos on your computer, letting you look closely without hogging up space on your phone. The server resizes the image on the fly and decides how much it needs to send you with each swipe, so it’s reasonably quick even over a 3G network.
If you’ve ever exclaimed, “Gosh, I wish there were a way to easily make most of my photo appear in grayscale, while coloring the part I want people to see the most,” you’ll be happy to know that yes, there’s indeed an app for that. ColorSplash converts any image to grayscale, and lets you use your finger as a brush to paint the color back in. Choose from opaque or transparent brushes with soft or hard edges, and paint away. If you mess up, you can always undo, or just switch to painting with gray.
If the process seems intimidating, the app includes a helpful tutorial video that shows you how easy it is. Once you get into it, it just feels natural: using your fingers to paint, scroll and zoom really leverages the power of the touch interface. Best of all, it’s so easy, it makes you look like you did it on a more conventional computer, with expensive photo editing software.
You can e-mail the finished images, or post them to Facebook, Flickr or Twitter from inside the app. You can tell your friends you used ColorSplash, or keep them in the dark and make them think you’re a god of image manipulation.
If you prefer more extreme manipulations to your photos, check out FX Photo Studio. In addition to letting you crop and rotate images, and adjust brightness, it comes with some 125 different effects. You can make it look like the picture was taken through water or snow, in a lightning storm, or through a fun house mirror. You can surround your image with butterflies, cupids, or hearts.
You can do all sorts of color transformations on your image, or make it look like it was taken with old film, or with a vignetting lens. Or make it look like it was so cold the lens got frosted. Or so rainy, your image is wet. You can even overlay fire, scary faces, a skull and a ghost, all of which are great if you’re angry at someone. Post the finished images to Facebook or Twitter, or e-mail the photos right from the app.
Photographers debate each other over whether they should call the gadgets and apps they use to help them make images “tools” or “toys.” FX Photo Studio can be used as a tool, but it can also be used as a toy, depending on your creative preference. If you like putting wacky things into your photos, you’ll be happy with this. But if you’re more conservative about photography, you probably won’t find a use for most of the effects.
It’s easy to say that photographers use tools like Photoshop as a crutch, but the fact is, many images can be improved with a few tweaks. Most professional photographers spend some time editing photos before they’re ready.
Photoshop.com Mobile’s crop and straighten tools can give photos tighter composition and fix crooked horizons. Rotating the image helps if the iPhone got confused about which side of the image should be topmost. You can also flip the image. It’s easy to adjust exposure, saturation, contrast and tint, or quickly convert the photo to black and white.
Beyond that, there are sketch, soft focus and sharpen filters, as well as a handful of interesting and tasteful effects that you can experiment with. Borders let you frame up the image, for even more variety. The app supports multiple levels of undo, so you can experiment until you’re happy with the resulting image.
Photoshop.com Mobile is integrated with Photoshop.com, which offers similar editing tools and also acts as a photo sharing service. Like the app, that website is free, though you’ll need to sign in with an Adobe ID.
Not content to just improve on the Camera app, Camera Genius wants to improve your photography.
Just because the iPhone doesn’t have a “real” camera doesn’t mean you can’t make great photos with it. Hidden inside the app is something called the “Camera Manual,” which is chock full of pointers that will make you a genius with the iPhone’s camera. It’s like a class in aesthetics, and it even comes with examples. It takes only a few seconds to study all of the topics.
The camera side of Camera Genius features multiple guide line patterns, a shake indicator, burst shooting, capturing by sound (say “Cheese!”), a timer, zoom, and a bigger button for taking pictures. It also lets you visibly stamp your location and the time onto photos when you take them. (You can also change the location to any text). Camera Genius also makes it easy to share images by e-mail or by copying, for paste into another app.
If you wish the Camera app had more camera-like features, try Gorillacam. It’s free, though it may make you want to spend money on hardware.
While taking pictures, Gorillacam can display a grid on the screen, letting you easily compose a photo using the “rule of thirds,” which can make many photos more interesting. It can also display a bubble level along the top, so you can be confident your horizon is straight. Gorillacam also lets you save smaller pictures, and includes a digital zoom slider, a camera shake indicator, and three-shot burst, which some users may find useful.
Where Gorillacam really shines is in its time lapse and self-timer features. You can use those to take multiple pictures over time, or to take pictures of yourself. But how will you set up your phone to take such a picture? The publisher, Joby, hopes you’ll drop $40 on its Gorillamobile case and stand, which has three bendable legs that you can wrap around things to hold the iPhone in place. The legs can also stand the iPhone on a table. And, what do you know? That bubble level and composing grid can come in handy when you’re setting up the stand to take pictures.
Maybe you long for the days of old, when a bulky camera’s click followed by a sustained motorized whirr meant a picture was coming in a few minutes. Or maybe you’re too young to remember those days, but have heard OutKast sing that you should “shake it like a Polaroid picture,” and you want to know what that’s about. ShakeItPhoto lets you do both.
This app copies the squarish aspect ratio of the old-school camera, as well as its saturated hues. After you take your shot, you can click the “Use” button, and hear those ancient gears push a white-bordered photo down onto your iPhone’s screen. You can watch the images develop slowly, or shake your phone to speed up the process.
Sure, shaking to develop the picture may be a waste of computing resources (since it takes more calculations to fade the image in slowly rather than just process it to get the final result). Sometimes you have to be inefficient to have a little fun.
Imagine that your iPhone is a bag full of different film cameras, and you’re on your way to understanding Camerabag. This app lets you play with different “looks” for your photos. Choosing the “Instant” style lets you make pictures reminiscent of the kind that came from old instant cameras. Another style, “Helga,” gives your photos saturated, darker colors and simulated vignetting in the corners. “Fisheye” lets you pretend you’ve mounted a fisheye lens onto your iPhone. All told, there are 12 filters in the newest version.
Though the end results may feel like you’re using different cameras, the app is really a set of filters that modify images after they’ve been made. You can use it on pictures you’ve already taken, or you can create new pictures using the app.
When you use the app to take pictures, you won’t see the filter applied in real time. That makes it even more like the old-school cameras, where you didn’t know what the picture looked like until you developed it. Luckily, if you don’t like what one filter did to the image, you can easily switch to another filter until you get the look you want.
You can also run an image through multiple filters, to combine them. Just save a filtered image, open it, apply another filter, and save it again.