Thinking Out Loud is my version of a discussion post and/or a place to just get things out of my head and off my chest. I have no plans for it to be a weekly feature, but more of a space that’s here when I have something to say.
My favorite iPhone apps for photography and photo editing
A few years ago, I would’ve considered myself an amateur photographer. Every lunch hour and weekend was spent walking walking walking around DC, taking photos of anything that interested me. I did “photo a day” projects for four years, pushing myself to learn more and try new things. I was obsessed with Flickr and spent most of my free time there looking at other people’s photos. I own two DSLRs and a slew of lenses and equipment. Because of the tenacity with which I attacked this hobby, I got burnt out pretty quickly. (Ok, like 5 years… but whatever.)
These days, it’s rare that I go out to take photos of anything, but when I do I’m almost always found using my iPhone instead. It’s lighter and quicker and I can post on the go.
I know there are a lot of bloggers and readers who also dabble (and even MORE than dabble) in photography, so I thought it might be fun to share some of my favorite apps here with you today. Get ready to have fun with your book haul and other photos! 🙂
Let’s be honest, half the fun of taking photos with your iPhone is all the FUN you can have with them. The edits, filters and options are endless. It can actually be overwhelming at times. Through years of doing photo-a-day projects and tinkering with all things iPhoneography, I’ve found my favorite apps. One thing of note, while most apps will allow you to both take AND edit photos, I generally take all my photos with the native iPhone camera app and then edit with whichever app strikes my fancy at the moment. (Or to get the look I’ve envisioned for the photo.)
Here are four of my favorites – including a brand-new-to-me one – and an example of photos I’ve taken using each.
VSCO Cam : FREE
I use VSCO Cam for about 98% of the photos I take and share on Instagram these days. I love the processing options. I have purchased some of the extra filter packs available for in-app purchase, but I find myself gravitating towards the F2 option nearly every single time I’m editing. I love the muted look. Add a little grain to it and I’m a happy lady. But really, whether you’re looking for contrasty black and white, bold colors or something more muted, you can find it in VSCO Cam’s filter options. The only thing it doesn’t do that I wish it did, was add frames. Which is why I use…
Photoshop Express : FREE
Now, using Photoshop Express solely to add a frame to a photo is probably like using a sledgehammer to pound in a nail, but I like the simple frame options this app offers. I already had the app on my phone because I’m an Adobe junkie, so I just go with it. Now, PS Express has many features other than adding frames, but that’s pretty much all I use it for. If you do want to get into heavier editing – PS Express will do that. It also has some of its own looks built in, and available for in-app purchase.
Here’s the final edits of one of my more recent photos… taken with the native iPhone camera app, edited with VSCO Cam and then framed with PS Express. 🙂
Cross Process : $1.99
I went through a phase a year or so ago where every single photo I took was edited with the Cross Process app. I just LOVED the colors and contrast. It was just as fantastic for people photos as it was for books or “touristy” scenery photos. There are several different options, but I’m a big fan of the Basic one. (Sometimes with a border.)
Rookie Cam : FREE
The latest app to my photography arsenal is Rookie Cam. I’ve only been using it a few days, but holy hell, I can tell I’m going to love this one when I’m trying to do something special and interesting with photos. Not only are there filter options, there are textures, stickers and frames. This one is fun!
An example using only a filter (that added all that beautiful light bokeh in the top corner):
An example using filter, texture, stickers AND text:
So, now that we’ve talked about the fun editing apps, let’s talk about the functional!
Want to post something that ISN’T square to Instagram without having to crop it weirdly to make it square? Use Cropic drop your photo on a plain white background and make it square. (There are options other than plain white, too, if that floats your boat.) There’s even an easy way to share from Cropic to Instagram. There are other apps that do this, but Cropic is my favorite.
Want to share a photo collage? Look no further than Diptic. It’s simple to use and allows you to make customizations to the frame color, size, number and shape of photo spaces… and pretty much everything else. LOVE it.
Here’s a quick collage of some of my favorite NYC black and white shots…
Want to add text to your photos? Make a quick teaser using a quote from one of your favorite books? There are a ton of apps you can do this with, but my favorite hands down, is WordSwag. It’s a little pricey as far as apps go, but it’s worth every single penny, IMHO.
Word Swag : $3.99
What makes Word Swag stand out from the bunch for me? It adds stylized text to your images. There are several types included with the app and you can buy some extras through in-app purchases. This app does more than just place the text you type on an image. It makes it look AWESOME with very little effort from you. (The graphic designer in me gives it two thumbs WAY UP.) I still do most of my teasers in Photoshop because I like having full control, but for something quick and dirty, super easy, on the go? You can’t do better than this.
Here are a few I’ve made using Word Swag:
See why I love this app so much?!
Now that you’ve taken an awesome photo (or made a gorgeous teaser), it’s time to share it…
Let’s just be honest, if you’re going to share your iPhone photos using an app, there’s really no better choice than Instagram. I’ve had a real love/hate relationship with Instagram over the years, but I’ve come to embrace the love side pretty fully over the last few months. It’s quick, easy and visible. I love that I can follow friends, fellow bloggers, publicists, authors, models, celebrities and even some of my favorite brands in one place. Does it get any better?
Of course, you can also edit your photos using Instagram. Itt’s rare that I actually use Instagram’s filters on my photos, however. It’s not that I think anything is wrong with them. I just like a very specific look for my photos right now (slightly faded, grainy and muted) and Instagram doesn’t offer that. It does, however, finally allow fine tuning of its filters, which I do kinda love.
You can follow me on Instagram at @kimberlyfayephoto! I promise lots of photos of books… and cats… and occasionally flowers and city scenes.
One of my favorite photos edited ONLY with Instagram:
Before I wrap this up, I want to give an honorable mention to a few of the apps I’ve used the hell out of in the past, just in case they’re something you might find interesting. You can have a lot of fun with photography using any of these apps!
That’s about all I have for you today! I hope you found something useful here – or, at the very least, enjoyed some of my photos. 🙂
Any new-to-you apps in this post? Any of your go-to apps listed? Any apps you LOVE that I didn’t mention? Shout it out in the comments!