The iPhone is quickly becoming an indispensable travel tool, replacing the need to carry several gadgets every time you go on a trip. On the Travel Gear Blog we’re going to outline some of the ways you can turn your iPhone into the ideal piece of travel gear.
Serious photographers will certainly want to carry more than the camera in their iPhone when they travel, but anyone whose sole photographic piece of equipment is an entry-level digital point-and-shoot camera might consider leaving it at home. The iPhone’s camera is less versatile on its own than even a basic little camera, but some of the photography iPhone apps you can download will make even your so-so photos more interesting in a few steps – and since they’re on your iPhone, they’re that much easier to share with friends and family.
Photography Apps for the iPhone
Rick Sammon’s 24/7 Photo Buffet
I know I said above that there are all kinds of apps out there that will – like magic – make your photos prettier. This isn’t one of them. This app is much more useful. This app is like having a photography teacher in your pocket – it’s crammed with all kinds of photo tips about how to take better pictures with just about any camera, although you’ll need a camera on which you can manipulate the controls. So if you’re toting a nicer camera with you than the camera in your iPhone, this app will help you get more out of it.
The Hipstamatic app is all about retro photography, in that it lets you mimic the results from old-school plastic toy cameras of days gone by. There are several options within the app to change the look of your photos, and you can even change “lenses” and flash techniques. You can also buy additional “hipstapaks” from within the app to add to your retro photo arsenal.
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Who needs a photo booth when you’ve got one on your iPhone? Using the front-facing camera on the iPhone 4 you can take a series of four self-portrait photos of you and whoever’s squeezing close enough to you. (The app works with earlier iPhones, too, you just can’t see the photo being taken as it’s happening.) The result is a digital strip of semi-grainy black and white photos, just like you’d get from a real photo booth – only you don’t have to keep shoving money in a machine. Once you buy the app, you can have as much photo booth fun as you want.
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This easy-to-use app lets you highlight certain parts of your photos in color, leaving the rest in grayscale. It’s a fun and easy way to manipulate your photographs to emphasize just one thing in them – and make yourself look like a photography wiz in the process.
Many travelers already carry a GorillaPod travel tripod with them, since those handy little things will work on pretty much any surface – if you’re one of them, you may be pleased to know the GorillaPod people have a photography iPhone app, too. This free app helps you take self-portraits (with your GorillaPod, of course) with its self-timer and time-lapse features, but it also gives you enhanced camera features that aren’t available on the iPhone normally – like the “continuous rapid-fire” or “3-shot burst” modes. There’s even a built-in “bubble level” to make sure you aren’t taking off-kilter photos (unless you mean to).
HDR photography is all the rage right now, but you don’t have to get special equipment or software to play with it a bit. With the Pro HDR app you’re one tap away from HDR pictures right on your iPhone. It’s not all about creating unreal-looking images, either – the app will automatically blend two photos to balance between a too-bright background and a too-dark foreground.
Tilt Shift Focus
Another popular photo enhancement these days is tilt shift, and that’s also easy to do from within your iPhone. This app lets you instantly change the depth of field and focus area of whatever you’re photographing, and you can play with it after you’ve taken the picture, too (so you don’t just have one shot at it).
Photo Wall Pro – Collage App
Not as many people send postcards from their travels anymore, but you can send virtual postcards with your own photos using this collage-making app. You can choose the photos you want to use and put them on a suitable background before you add a wistful “Wish You Were Here” message and send your collage off to folks back home.
Adobe Photoshop Express
Those photo editing giants at Adobe have a free iPhone app with a few features (it’s not the full software, not by a long shot). You’ll be able to do a few basic things with this app, but it’s the stuff most of us need to do to our photos anyway – cropping, straightening, color balancing, etc. Plus there are some filters and effects you can play with, too.
Photo Hype is an easy-to-use app with some of the basic photo editing features we all use (or should use) on our pictures, plus a few fun features that will make your photos look like they were taken with (for instance) a toy camera, among other things.