My 7 Favourite iPhone Photo Apps

A funny thing, isn’t? Do you find it hard admitting that you, as a photographer, are just in love with taking pictures with your camera phone? I think the term is, iPhoneographer, at least for those of us who are iPhone users. Much to the dismay of regular photographers, we do have a name.

I just love my iPhone! I am not promoting Apple products, nor am I on their pay roster (but maybe I should be),  I simply just love my iPhone.

So many times, so many of you have asked me, “What apps did you use to create this?” I am honestly perplexed because I like to play with my apps. They are like my big doodle pad and I keep on playing, like I would paint a painting, until I am satisified. But I will try and share with you my processing tricks so that you too, can learn to play like I do.   Here are my top 7 apps that I use in my editing process.

  1. VSCO Cam
Photo Credit:
Photo Credit:

For both a camera and an editing tool, this freeware is quite an innovative app. I really love how I can control the shooting, and at the same time edit, all in the same app! It is integrated with a Grid which allows the user to share their amazing photographs with other VSCO users. For newbies, it may at first seem overwhelming, but there is a fabulous toolbar at the top of the screen that lets you toggle between the flash, change the display, lock the white balance, and choose a mode that lets you take the photo by tapping the screen instead of the shutter release. I know, right? You can tap anywhere on the screen to take a picture, and not rely on that little iPhone button. I like that.

The editing tools (15 in all) and filters are better than what you would expect in an app. It seems like they cover most of the common elements, such as adjusting a photo’s exposure level, temperature, saturation, contrast, sharpening and cropping, as well as the all important grain, shadows & highlights. I think for all the apps I have tried, this is the most superior.

Of course, there is a downside. It has a medicore sharing platform called the Grid. Once you upload your photos to the Grid, it also saves it seperately in your camera roll. For me, it is a bit of an anti-climatic experience sharing on the Grid once you have shared on Instagram. But, hey, I am all about the share.

  1.   Squaready
Photo Credit:

As a regular Instagram user, I am really put off by the forced frame of the platform. If I am taking a picture of an alleyway, or even a beautiful landscape, invariably my picture gets destroyed in that little box. This feeling gets compounded everytime there is an  update to the Instagram app, and they still haven’t resolved the issue.

Well, someone else did.

The app Squaready is a way to save the field of your picture before you post to your Instagram account.  There are 2 versions of this application:  a free version (which I use); and the $1.99 version which gets rid of advertising from the free version. Personally I don’t mind the ads, but I appreciate that some may find it irksome.

By uploading your picture into Squaready, you can select a background colour for your mat, and then resize your photo into a perfect box that can be downloaded back onto your camera.  Now your image is ready to be uploaded into Instagram.

There are some definite drawbacks to using this app. The one that sticks out for me is that I don’t necessarily like the condensed version of my picture once it has been put on the Squaready platform. But there simply is no alternative to saving your field for instagram. If there is, please share! I would definitely appreciate some help here.

  1.  eZy Watermark Lite


I often get asked, “How did you put your name on your photos?”  Well, eZy Watermark Lite is a must-have free application for any iphoneographer.

You see, I found it quite annoying that I would post a picture proudly, only to find it lifted to someone else’s site, web, etc. without credit or permission.  I know that imitation is the greatest gift of flattery that one can get, but still…it didn’t feel good.

In response, I found this app could put my name on my photos, in a variety of different fonts, sizes and colours, before I uploaded it onto the Internet.  I always try to place my watermark in an inconspicuous way, as to not be overbearing.  In the meantime, if my picture now gets distributed, I know that my name will too, be shared.  I try to look at it as free advertising, so to speak.

  1.  Manual

My Purse, My Coffee

I love this little application!  For $1.99, you can transform your iPhone and take back control.  This is not a post-production app.  Rather, it enables the iphoneographer opportunity to manually adjust the apperture, IOS, shutter speed  as well as the distribution of light.

I really like to use it to give me more control over my photos.  Yes, there is a bit of a learning curve, but the effect is so worth it.  The only drawback that I felt came with using this app is that it isn’t a post-production application.  In order to process your pictures, you will need to depend on some other app to further adjust your images.  But for those of us that like to edit their photos, we are just reminded that it is all about the journey, and not the destination.

  1.  SimplyB&W
Photo Credit:
Photo Credit:

It my seem somewhat of a cliché, but I think black and white photography still is so awesome!  When you want to capture the mood, or accentuate by getting rid of colour, SimplyB&W can help you achieve these goals. The beauty of this app is its simplicity. You just choose from one of the five color filters, and then tweak it for brightness and contrast.

Et volà! It is ready to be uploaded.

The app costs a merely $0.99 and can also create some really high contrast black and white/monochrome images.

You won’t see to much of it on my Instagram account, because the nature of street art demands colour.  But I definitely use it in my personal accounts, and I love the effect!

  1.  Autodesk Pixlr

Pixlr Express

My friend Byron Martin just introduced me recently to Autodesk Pixlr (formerly Pixlr Express). I was a reluctant believer at first, until I realized it is all about making photo editing really simple.  It allows you to use overlays, including  effects, and borders. You can resize, rotate and crop all your photos without any difficulty. It has an amazing auto-fix that can whiten your smile, or adjust the red-eye.

Also, the big bonus here is that you can get collage options if you want to put a bunch of photos together.  Although I personally don’t use this feature that often, I can appreciate its value.

Did I mention that it is completely ad-free?  As I said, I don’t mind ads, per se, but I do think that there is something very appealing about just being able to focus on the image at hand while editing.

  1. Instagram
Photo Credit:
Photo Credit:

Although not quite an app as much as a platform for social media, I would not be doing this article any justice without sharing that I my Instagram as an app. This amazing application was launched as freeware for IOS and Window users in October 2010. It quickly grew in popularity and now boasts hundreds of millions of users around the world. With ability to upload pictures and video (15 seconds long), it has amazing filters that enables any budding photographer an opportunity to look pro. The frame of the picture is reminiscent of a Polaroid, and admittedly is somewhat limited. Truly, I would not be here writing this article had it not been for Instagram giving attention to my work. Hands down, money talks, and this powerful little app was sold to Facebook in 2012 for the cool price of 1 billion dollars. I truly doubt that there is a more significant app around.

So those my friends are my trade secrets for sharing and taking pictures on my iPhone.  I am all about learning, and happy to respond to any of your favourites!  If there are any new ones out there that I haven’t mentioned, I will tell you upfront that I am pretty loyal to what I like.  But, I am always willing to discover and play with another editing trick or two!

à bientôt,


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@scubagal’s Instagram,Twitter, Facebook or Streets&Beats

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