A Snap A Day Keeps The Doctor Away: The Best iPhone Photo Apps

A Snap A Day Keeps The Doctor Away: The Best iPhone Photo Apps

Jason Fields of iPhone app review blog, explores generative the best photography applications.

Jason Fields
  • 1 april 2010

I was at a digital roundtable discussion recently, talking about unlocking the media archive of online video, audio and photography amongst companies that had online media products and services. While waiting for the rest of the guests to arrive, I had a conversation with a fellow design executive about which camera apps were the best ones for his iPhone. He expressed that he was quite happy to use his LOMO app to take a snap as it just created a much richer photographic representation and experience. It turned into a fantastic discussion on all the best photography apps there were —  so many in fact, that I thought I should capture them for you all in a handy post on the best camera apps for your iPhone.

In the past weeks I have found and reviewed many camera apps on my own designer app blog There was a figure I grabbed from a report online that said that most apps are only launched one time after they are downloaded, but, I disagree with any of the camera and photo apps that I have purchased. I use my camera apps much much more than any of the other apps I have installed on my iPhone, and as a result, I take quite a few photos (I need to back them up as I am over 2k in my photo library now). This new generation of filtering and conversion apps allow a rather unsaturated or low contrast photo to take on a life of its own with a few swipes and taps of the finger and the quality of the image filtering has gotten so good now its quite easy to create a fantastic photo out of one that you would never have expected could be rescued or even shared!

a snapple a day keeps the doctor away

My personal favorites are: Camerabag, which enables you to select a half dozen or so filter effects including Lomo, Helga, B/W, Magazine, Polaroid and a number of others, TiltShiftGen, an amazing japanese multi touch app that emulates miniature shots with depth of field and blur controls, 1:2tone, which converts your photo into a B/W halftone with variable dot patterns and pitch sizes, Photospeak, another somewhat freaky app from japan that takes any full frontal face shot and maps it to a fake 3D model with finger tracking motion and blinking eyes, and AsciiMe another of the conversion apps that transforms your photo into alphabetical art mosaics.

a snapple a day keeps the doctor away-3

A side note to this, is the fad to get physical stick on lenses for mobile phones. Jelly Lens is a manufacture that seems to have cornered this kitsch market and is on sale in just about every party shop, corner phone retailer and toyshop across Asia. They have a wide assortment of not only useful lens types (eg. wide angle, macro) but also a whole bunch of effect lenses (eg. star, heart, glitter, rose, bug eye). This is another cheap and easy method to trick out your iphone for special photographic experiments.

Ultimately what I love about all of these camera apps, is they are very useful to people of all walks of life, ages and experiences with the photography bug. I have met professional photographers who carry around a nice tricked out high end digital SLR as well as their iPhone with a few camera apps, and I have met the pocket photographer who tweaks their snaps to the extreme with only their iPhone. It’s actually pretty amazing what results you can squeeze out of some of these apps; with my own pictures, a bit of filtering and adjustments are all that’s needed on the go and then I post them directly to flickr on the spot!

Jason Fields is a user experience design professional having spent more than 15 years in the online and mobile web space. Originally from Los Angeles, then San Francisco he currently lives in London with his wife and son and works for the BBC as a UX&D department head. In his spare time he writes the design focused iPhone app review blog, a curated presentation of the best designed iPhone apps available.


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