Best iPhone photography apps

Cast your mind back to the first camera phone you had - rubbish, wasn't it? Thankfully technology has moved on since then, and the cameras on our phones are actually decent enough to take usable snaps with. And with the increasing number of people now uploading photos directly from their phone to the likes of Facebook and Twitter, this is no longer early adopter technology. In fact, it's decidedly old news and we're now all looking for ways to make our snaps look a little bit different, without having to spend hours or even a single minute on Photoshop.

If you want to give your photos a retro vibe, or you'd like to take panoramic images or action sequences then, in the infuriatingly catchy words of Steve Jobs' marketing men, there's an app for that. Here are our favourites...

ShakeIt

Ah, the Polaroid. The snapper of choice for amateur pornographers and kidnappers in films. Thanks to its lack of negatives and instant printing, the Polaroid has had something of a comeback for the hipster generation's love of all things retro. 

And if you follow Outkast's suggestion and "shake it like a Polaroid picture", the image will gradually appear on the screen, just like one of the real prints. That said, Polaroid has actually given up using wet ink for most of its cameras, so it's a bit of a waste of time. If it makes you feel good though, don't let us stop you.

iTunes: Link

Price: £0.69

Rating: 4/5

 

Colour Splash

If you can't decide between taking conventional colour snaps and changing your images to moody monochrome, then this app kills two birds with one stone. Once you've taken a picture (or brought one in from your camera roll), the app automatically removes all of the colour, leaving you with a black and white photo.

You can then put the colour back into selected parts of the shot by simply touching the screen in the appropriate place. So simple, but the effect will make you look like you're some sort of arty pro. Read More.

iTunes :Link

Price: £0.69

Rating: 4/5

 

Panorama

There are a few cameras around nowadays that will let you take Panoramic pics, such as the analogue Lomography Spinner 360 and Sony cameras that sport the Sweep Panorama function. However, in days of old, you could get the same effect (or something close to it) by taking a series of pictures next to one another and then joining them together to make one long image. 

That's basically what this app does, although as the technical wizardry does the joining for you, you won't have to battle through a pile of photo prints with your scissors and glue stick.

iTunes: Link

Price: £7.99

Rating: 4/5

 

Absolute Vintage 

Remember those vintage-style photo studios at theme parks where you can dress up in Victorian clothes and get a sepia-tinged photo taken? Well, that's the sort of thing this app does, but without having to get dressed up with a fake moustache. 

You simply pick a vintage "mask" then add your photo to it and then you can add accessories such as beards and cigarettes, add a distressed border and change the colour to sepia or black and white. It might take some practice, but if you're willing to persevere then you can get some excellent results.

iTunes: Link

Price: £0.69

Rating: 4/5

RetroCamera

If you're a big fan of retro photography, then this one's for you. RetroCamera lets you take snaps (or use existing pictures) and then apply a wide selection of effects to make it look like they've been taken on an analogue snapper.

You can convert them into varying versions of black and white and sepia or use some more colourful effects. You can also add film sprockets or change the image to make it look like a negative, or you can add vignettes or film grain to add a little character. With so many options at your fingertips, this one's worth the very reasonable £1.49.

iTunes: Link

Price: £1.49

Rating: 4/5

LEGO Photo

If you're after something a little bit different, then this one from the iconic Danish toy firm is right up your street. If you've ever wondered what your mates might look like if they were made of LEGO (no?) then this fun little app can help you out. 

You simply take a picture, tap the magic button and then your image is rendered with LEGO blocks. Each time you tap the screen after that it will change to a different selection of colours so that you can pick the best one.

iTunes: Link

Price: Free

Rating: 4/5

 

Photoburst 

This one's for all the action snappers and sports junkies out there. The app enables you to take up to 10 pictures per second which means that you can either pick the best shot, or use all of them as an action-packed storyboard. 

You can even adjust the timings between shots in milliseconds to give you the exact amount of shots that you want. Of course, it's not limited to sports, you can take anything - as long as it's moving, otherwise it's rather pointless.

iTunes: Link

Price: £0.69

Rating: 4/5

 

Ghost Camera Pro

This novelty app is sure to be a hit with the pranksters and comes just in time for Halloween, too. You can either take a picture using the app, or import a pre-existing snap and then add a ghostly apparition to it to try and convince your pals that you've managed to capture a paranormal being on your iPhone.

You can move the ghoul around and change its size to make it look more realistic. A word of warning - this one's rated 9+, so keep it away from the nippers, unless you want to give them nightmares.

iTunes: Link

Price: £1.49

Rating: 4/5

 

The Warhol: D.I.Y. POP 

This arty app enables you to create your very own digital silkscreen print, just like pop artist Andy Warhol's famous works featuring stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor and er, Chairman Mao. Using a snap from your built-in camera, or an existing image from your library, you can make your own Warhol-style creation by following the in-app instructions and cropping and painting the image accordingly. Along the way you can view images and videos to get the inside track on Warhol and his techniques.

It was Warhol himself who once quipped: "In the future, everybody will be world famous for 15 minutes". And thanks to this new app, you can go one better and get your own 15 days of fame simply by entering your chosen digital print into a competition via Facebook or Twitter, as the winning images will be displayed in The Andy Warhol museum in Pittsburgh (for 15 days each).

iTunes: Link

Price: £1.49

Rating: 4/5

 

Burst Mode

This app is a great little photography tool - especially for those wanting a cheap and easy way of improving in their chosen sport. In use the app itself is very simple; on booting up Burst Mode you'll get your iPhone's camera with a shoot button and settings button. The former being self-explanatory, the Burst Mode setting gives you control over a self-timer, giving you 3, 5 and 10 second delays; Burst Speed, from 1-24fps; and Number of Frames, from 5 up to 400 - pretty much all you could want.

What this delivers is an excellent way of analysing a brief moving image whilst playing sport - say a table tennis stroke, or your cue action whilst playing snooker. It's true that the 24fps the app gives isn't quite the 30fps of the native iPhone 4 video capabilities, but the fact that you can analyse this frame by frame and then easily play it back means the action is packaged in the right way. Although, clearly, some of the action becomes blurred it still offers up a useful and cheap way of attempting to correct common mistakes that might otherwise go uncorrected. 

iTunes: Link

Price: £1.49

Rating: 4/5

 

PhotoToaster

Like many other photo apps, PhotoToaster enables you to apply lots of different effects to your snaps, making them look like vintage photos if you choose. You can crop your photos using three different frame formats (square, vertical rectangle or horizontal rectangle). A comprehensive range of presets (split into basic, deluxe and supreme) will let you change the appearance of your snaps. There are plenty of options on offer including coloured filters, along with retro effects to make your pictures look like polaroids, lomo snaps or vintage sepia prints. 

The nifty bit is when the effects are applied, the result is live so that you can see what your snap will look like in less than a second. If you don't like it, you can either "undo" what you've just done or select a different effect. When you're done you can either save the image to your picture gallery or send it via email or SMS or post it to facebook and tumblr. This is a great little app that offers plenty of flexibility. Read More

iTunes: Link

Price: £1.49

Rating: 4/5

 

Videolicious

The idea behind this app is that you can turn your raw video footage from your iDevice into properly edited videos to share with your pals. And the best bit is that you can do it in just three easy steps. Firstly, you need to choose your video clips and/or photos from the library on your gadget. Secondly, you use your Apple gadget's camera to film yourself talking about the pictures or videos in your "movie". Then, thirdly, you select a song from your music library to use as the soundtrack.

Now you've done the easy stuff, the app takes care of the tricky bit by automatically editing together your original footage with your commentary to make a documentary-style video. You can then upload the finished article directly to Facebook or YouTube from the app. Read More

iTunes: Link

Price: Free

Rating: 4/5

 

IncrediBooth

With this photo booth-related app from the makers of Hipstamatic, you'll be able to re-live those moments of having your picture taken in a foul-smelling, dreary box; with the resulting image (after the obligatory 5 minute wait) giving you a look akin to a serial killer. It's just as well that the image would only be your official passport photo for the next 10 years. 

Once you have everyone you want in frame, hit the button and you'll get four shots with four different retro effects, whereby you can share one or all of the photos through the usual channels. Time, date and location are also included and new packs of lens are available every now and again through in-app purchases. Read More

iTunes: Link

Price: 69p

Rating: 5/5

 

8mm Vintage Camera

This app is similar in style to the very popular Hipstamatic app, as it produces various tarnished effects to your otherwise decent iPhone video, giving the impression it was taken 80 years ago. The difference here is that, as the 8mm moniker suggests, the app is film, sorry video, based and as such gives your smartphone movies a cool, vintage look.

The app will allow you to add Dust and scratches, retro colours, flickering, light leaks and frame jitters, all of which can be produced with a single tap or swipe. For your £1.49 you'll get five "lenses" including Clear, Flickering Frame, Spotlight, Light Leak and Color Fringing; these can then be mixed with five different "films" - 1920, 70s, Sakura, XPro, Siena - to produce a variety of different effects. There's also a jitter button to replicate the frame displacement made by old 8mm projectors. Great for retro fans. Read More

iTunes: Link

Price: £1.49

Rating: 5/5

 

Touch Retouch

Not only is Touch Retouch cheap, it's also extremely simple to use. Just load a picture into the software, paint on the section you want to remove, click "Go", and it will magically disappear before your eyes. You can change the size of the brush so you can be more accurate with the area you paint over, and if you make a mistake, you can redo or use the eraser to refine the area you've selected. There's also a lasso tool to mark around a zone, so you don't have to scribble all over it, and you can pinch and zoom a picture as you see fit, allowing for the most intricate of editing.

Pictures can be grabbed from the device's library (or from camera, if there is one) and there are a couple of in-built training videos that can be played when you start up the application. As a cheap and simple photo manipulation tool, Touch Retouch presses all the right buttons, and is essential for any amateur photographer who doesn't have the time or inclination to spend hours on editing. Read More

iTunes: Link

Price: 69p

Rating: 4/5

 

iStockphoto

iStockphoto is the picture-laden offering from the Getty Images-owned micropayment website of the same name. The service provides royalty free stock photography as well as illustrations, audio files and videos. It's member generated and if you sign up to the service you can sell your files as well as buying stuff too. The iPhone app brings the images and audio to your handset and lets you find exactly what you're looking for, from wherever you are.

You can also view data about the file that you are interested in such as who uploaded the file and when and how many times it has been viewed or downloaded. Obviously, the app syncs with your desktop account so you can view or edit files in your "lightbox", email them to your contacts, and you can also view your account details and see how much money you've made (or spent - not so good).If you're not on iStockphoto yet, you can still search and browse images (with an iStockphoto watermark) so if you're interested in photography then give it a go. Read More

iTunes: Link

Price: Free

Rating: 4/5

 

Hipstamatic

With a name like Hipstamatic, and by the looks of the website, you could be forgiven for thinking that this was some totally spurious, style-over-substance app but this stalwart iPhone app is all about retro pictures. It enables you to take shots with a variety of different effects, which will add plenty of fun to your snaps.

Effects include vignettes, blurring, over saturation, discoloured images, and as the blurb reads "Hipstaprints have a casual and seemingly accidental snapshot feel" fans of Lomography might well get a kick out of it. Read More

iTunes: Link

Price: £1.49

Rating: 5/5

 

Instagram

The king of photo apps, Instagram has become an unparalleled iPhone success, combining retro style photography with Tweetable images and its own unique social network. In essence, the app lets you shoot and quickly edit snaps of your day to day happenings, then share them with your followers. The real trick is the speed at which it works, making it hassle free just to share things.

You get a variety of retro effects to choose from, as well as borders and the odd retouch option. You can also shoot snaps from within the app or load in things you have already taken. Once on the Instagram stream then friends can like and comment on images. They can also be posted directly to Facebook or Twitter. 

Price: Free

Rating: 5/5

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