iPhone Photography is a growing genre that has exploded over the course of the last few years. With this explosion has come an endless amount of apps, gadgets, accessories, websites, learning resources and photography communities which continue to grow steadily.
To begin 2016 here is an updated list of some of my favourite iPhone photography resources which I use and follow on a regular basis.
iPhone Photography Websites
iPhoneographycentral.com has been a leading light in the iPhoneography community since 2011. Run by two leading and well-respected figures from the iPhoneography community, Nicki Fitz-Gerald and Bob Weil, iPhoneographycentral is an excellent resource of tips, tutorials, and app reviews as well as a useful source of inspiration through their weekly apps uncovered showcase.
The iPhone Photography School is a fantastic resource of top tips, information and inspiration. Originally founded by Emil Pakarklis, the website has gained a huge following over the last couple of years and now sees many respected iPhone photographers imparting their knowledge and experience through daily articles, ebooks and courses.
Life In LoFi
Life in LoFi has been a blog at the forefront of the iPhone photography movement since 2009. The website is regularly updated with the latest news, app and gear reviews, tutorials, and showcases. Originally started by Marty Yawnick, Life in LoFi now features contributions from writer and photographer, Mel Martin as well as Irish iPhone photographer, Paul Moore.
Grryo.com, formerly We Are Juxt, is brought to you by a collective of mobile photographers from across the globe. Grryo focuses in on the storytelling aspect of photography and showcases work from its Instagram hashtag, #wearegrryo, as well as interviews and stories with talented mobile photographers. An excellent source of inspiration.
Skipology is run by award winning iPhoneographer and artist Paul Brown. Paul has made a bit of a name for himself over the last few years due to his fantastic tutorials which take you step by step through his workflow process to illustrate how he can take an ordinary photograph and transform it into a stunning work of art.
Books, eBooks & Magazines
Mobiography.net also publishes a digital magazine about smartphone photography. The magazine is available in the Apple app store and also on Google Play for Android users. Each issue is packed full with inspiring interviews with leading photographers, tutorials, top tips, app and accessory reviews. The magazine is currently published on a bi-monthly basis and has consistently grown a loyal following of the past 3 years.
iPhone Only Photography
‘iPhone Only Photography’ is an ebook written by the respected photographer, David Molnar. The book covers the basics of shooting and editing with an iPhone, as well as photography essentials such as composition. The book then moves on to look at different subject areas that include portraits, nighttime photography, landscape, food photography, panoramas etc. The book is nicely designed and easy to digest.Check it out
iPhone Photography – Take Creative Control of Your iPhone
‘iPhone Photography – Take Creative Control of Your iPhone’ by Misho Baranovic is an eBook that guides you through the process of taking photos with your iPhone to a standard where no one would believe it was taken with a smartphone. The eBook covers areas such as how the iPhone camera works, how to gain more control of your iPhone by using camera replacement apps, advanced shooting techniques, how to find compelling subjects to shoot whether you are on the street, in nature, traveling or with your family. The book also looks at editing apps, sharing your photos and getting your images ready for print. In short it is an excellent resource for making the most of your iPhone camera.Check it out
‘#iPhoneOnly’ by Julian Calverley is a beautifully printed book which showcases a selection of stunning landscape photography by renowned commercial photographer Julian Calverley. All photos in this book are shot with an iPhone and edited in Snapseed. The book is a real source of inspiration and illustrates what can be achieved with an iPhone.
Art of iPhone Photography
‘The Art of iPhone Photography’ is written by Bob Weil and Nicki Fitz-Gerald and provides an excellent resource of inspiration and step by step tutorials from 45 leading names in the field of iPhone Photography. This book is a perfect addition to the bookshelf of anyone looking to develop their iPhone Photography skills and techniques, no matter what your skill level.Check it out
Further Reading: Book Review: The Art of iPhone Photography
Recommended Camera Apps
Below are some of the main camera replacement apps I use and recommend. Each offers different levels of control, features and effects, which depending on the conditions and the type of photograph or effect I am after, will govern which I use. Try them out, experiment and have fun.
Procamera is a leading camera replacement app which gives a high degree of control to the iPhone photographer thanks to some very intuitive features including the ability to independently control and manually adjust focus and exposure settings, create stunning HDR images, in-app photo editing and shooting HD video. Procamera is a versatile camera app that is well worth checking out.Download
Further Reading: How to use ProCamera 8
Camera+ is another leading camera app which is very similar to Procamera. Camera+ is brought to you by developers, Tap Tap Tap. Like Procamera, the app offers independent and manual control over focus and exposure as well as 16 handy preset filters, advanced shooting features, macro mode, an advanced in-app editing suite and much more.Download
Hipstamatic is a world class camera app and Apple’s original app of the year. The original concept behind Hipstamatic was that the photographer chose the film and lens combination to use before taking the photograph. This idea brought iPhone photography back to a more analogue way of thinking. It was an approach not seen in any other app on the market at the time. In 2015, Hipstamatic gave the original app a complete overhaul which gave the iPhone photographer the ability to choose between shooting in the original classic mode or in the advanced mode. This new advantaged mode gives the photographer full control of a wide selection of editing options that include definition, clarity, light level curves, vignette and of course which film/lens combination you use.Download
VSCO, short for Visual Supply Company, but pronounced “VisCo” is an app with a sleek, modern design. VSCO is similar to other camera apps such as Camera+ and Procamera and is available on both iPhone and Android platforms. VSCO comes complete with a suite of photo filters, which do an excellent job of approximating the color saturation and feel of old-school film cameras thus giving photos a beautiful analogue feel, which is why many photographers choose to use it as a post production tool.
Further Reading: How to use VSCO
Recommended Editing Apps
When it comes to editing my workflow tends to adopt a simple approach. This is why there aren’t too many apps listed below. When it comes to editing and app stacking the sky is the limit and is only governed by your style and vision for the effect you want to achieve. I will be adding to this list as time goes on but for the time being these are the main apps I recommend.
Snapseed is one of the most versatile photo editing apps on the market and is without a doubt the go-to editing app for many mobile photographers. Owned by Google, Snapseed is available to both iOS and Android users and in 2015 saw a major overhaul of its functions and interface. The new version saw the introduction of non-destructive editing called stacks, the addition of new filters and tools and the ability to spot retouch and heal areas of your photo in a very intuitive way. Snapseed should be a must in any mobile photographer’s camera bag.
Further Reading: How to use Snapseed
Enlight is a versatile editing app that offers the photographer an extensive array of filters and tools that allow you to enhance and change your photos in whatever direction you want. While Enlight does offer a built-in camera app, I think you are probably best using other apps for the process of photo capture then use Enlight to edit the image as this is where the app excels.Download
Cortex Cam is a handy little app which allows you to shoot in low light situations. The app does this by shooting a short video and then compiling a static image from the recording. The image recording time is slow although that can only be expected in low light conditions. You will find the photos Cortex Cam takes, have a lot less noise than you would get using other camera apps in similar conditions.Download
Slow Shutter is a fun app, which as the name suggests, simulates a slow shutter speed and allows you to capture amazing light trails and motion similar to those you would get if using a slow shutter speed with a DSLR. When using Slow Shutter, a tripod is an essential piece of kit. This will ensure the areas of the photo that need to be crisp and sharp remain free from camera shake. Slow Shutter is a lot of fun to use.Download
One of the things that sets iPhone photography apart from traditional digital photography is the ability you have to shoot, edit then share your work to social media platforms, very quickly. There are numerous social sharing platforms out there but here are some of the main ones.
Instagram is without a doubt, the daddy of photo sharing platforms and is where the majority of iPhone photographers hang out, it, therefore, doesn’t need much of an introduction. It is a great platform to showcase your portfolio of work, to connect with other photographers and get inspired by others in the community. One of the main downsides I find is that there is a lot of rubbish that is vomited out onto the platform so be selective about who you follow.
Eyeem is another social photography sharing community similar to Instgram. While many see Instagram as a mainstream photo sharing platform, Eyeem is seen more as a platform for those who are more serious about their photography. This means you’ll find less pouting selfies and ego-driven celebrities. Eyeem has a great community built around it and is supported by a blog which sets regular missions where you can win prizes and have your work showcased.
Flickr was probably one of the original photo-sharing platforms. While is predominantly populated by traditional photographers, Flickr does have a loyal following amongst mobile photographers who frequent the site regularly and offer a lot of interaction and constructive critiques. There is also numerous groups and small communities where you can post your photos and connect with others interested in similar topics.
Steller is a pretty cool app which took the Apple’s app store by storm in 2015. Steller was designed from the idea of being a mobile first photography app which ties in beautifully with the idea of a shoot and share approach. Steller takes this concept another stage further by adding a new dimension to the images we present online. With Steller, you aren’t just sharing photos you’re sharing stories through a combination of different mediums of words, video, and photos. The basic idea is that you create short online books using images and video and supported by the written word to help to tell a story about whatever topic you wish. Steller is a fun app to use and gives your photographs an extra added dimension.Download for iOS
While Printastic isn’t really a social platform app I thought it was worth a mention. Printastic is an app which allows you to create a printed photobook. The app makes the process of creating a photobook easy and fun. To start creating your very first book, you’ll need to download the Printastic app from the App Store. From there you are presented with the default 24-page book template complete with front cover but can add more pages to the book up to a maximum of 200 pages.
The end result is superb and I highly recommend you give this app and service a try out at least once.
Further Reading: How to Create a Photobook on Your iPhone Using Printastic
Accessories & Gadgets
The Olloclip is the original iPhone lens which fits snuggly over iPhone lens and offers photographers the choice of macro, wide angle, fisheye and telephoto lenses. The build quality of the lens is good although it does give a small amount of softening to the edges of the photo. When used in conjunction with the Ollocase, the Olloclip lenses can be easily mounted onto the iPhone without the need to remove any existing cases or leave your phone unprotected.Check it out
The Inmacus range of iPhone lenses are similar to the Olloclip. The build quality of the lens is superb and the image quality, fantastic. The lens mounts over the iPhone lens by way of a pinch mount which offers a firm grip onto the phone; however, it does mean no protective case can be used. The Inmacus lens kit gives a choice of 18mm HD wide-angle lens, an HD Circular Polarizer, an x5 macro lens, and an x5, x8, x10, x23 macro kit.Check it out
The Mophie Powerstation is an essential piece of kit if you are the type of person who likes taking a lot of photographs out in the field where re-charging may not be so easy. The device is small and can be fitted into a pocket and will give your phone a couple of full recharges. The Mophie Powerstation has a slight and modern design and is an essential piece of kit in my camera bag.Check it out
The Nova is a small credit card sized boothtooth flashlight that removes the need for using the iPhone’s built-in flash. This means the Nova can be positioned away from the phone camera and offers three preset light settings, gentle, warm and bright. Pressing the shutter release button will trigger the Nova flash which is powered by 40 bright LEDs, diffused through a white plastic panel. The neat thing about the Nova is it can be triggered from a distance up to 20ft. This opens up a whole host of possibilities as you are no longer restricted to using the unflattering flash of your camera. You can position the Nova anywhere you want.Check it out
Further Reading: Nova: The Wireless LED Flash for Better Photos with your iPhone
SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive
The SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive is a small flash drive that plugs into your phone and downloads the photos from the camera roll allowing you to quickly backup your photos when in the field and thus enabling you to avoid cutting your day short due to a full memory. The flash drive can later be plugged into a computer to upload your images onto a more permanent storage device.Check it out
Have I missed anything?
The apps, accessories, websites and services listed on this page are by no means a definitive guide. They are the things I use on a regular basis and this list will change and be updated on a regular basis.
Is there anything I have missed that you think should be added? Let us know in the comments below.