If you’re a proud owner of an iPhone 4S, then you’ve in possession of one of the best mobile phone cameras on the market. Apple totally revamped the camera on its latest mobile phone, the new lens and sensor designed to boost low-light performance, producing fantastic results.
One thing Cupertino didn’t really do was boost the feature set of the camera. Sure red-eye removal and a rule-of-thirds grid are useful, but can’t match the wealth of effects you get with Android and Windows Phone handset.
Luckily the Apple App Store is packed with apps that not only offer exposure tweaks, but also let you add filters and create artistic effects. To really get the best from your iPhone camera we’d suggest downloading a few and here are our favourites.
As we’ve mentioned, neither the iPhone 4 nor the 4S offer much in the way of features; download Camera+ though and it turns the iPhone into a full-featured digital compact. You get touch to focus and can even use your second finger to set the exposure, there’s an image stabiliser, burst mode and there’s even a usable digital zoom (to about 1.9x).
Once you’ve take a picture you can choose to apply effects including: Clarity, Auto, Flash, Cloudy, Shade, Scenery and Text; crop, flip and apply borders. But best of all are the huge selection of FX Effects (above), including Analog filters such as Diana, Silver Gelatin and Pinhole.
It’s also really simple to share your photographs with Facebook and Twitter
If you only download one app from this selection make it Camera+, put it on your homescreen and you’ll never use the iPhone’s standard app again.
Have you ever seen a black and white that has been colourised? It doesn’t always work as the original director intended and can sometimes look amateur, however in stills photography, the same type of effect can create some fantastic effects.
Colour Splash turns your photographs black and white and you can then bring back selected areas of colour by carefully colouring in (swiping) using your finger. While Colour Splash can create some dramatic effects, it can be tricky to use and takes a lot of care not to go over the lines. It’s not something we’d use every day, so we’d suggest trying the free download first.
Creating panorama’s using a digital camera used to be difficult and involved painstakingly matching images and matching horizons, involving image-editing software on a computer. Now, technology has advanced and apps like 360 Panorama ensure they are incredibly simple to create.
Here it’s as simple as tapping the shutter and moving from right to left (or left to right) using the Tron-style grid lines to ensure the horizon is straight. Once completed the iPhone’s fast processor ensures it’s completed within seconds.
Completed panorama’s can be uploaded to Facebook and Twitter and you can even add GPS tagging so you know exactly where the photo was taken.
Exceptionally simple to use, yet capable of great results very quickly, 360 Panorama is an essential download for the holiday season.
Instagram lets you add atmospheric effects to photographs by applying 17 custom-designed artistic filters. But what separates this app from others is the social elements. Register for an account, connect with your Twitter and Facebook friends and you can share your favourite photographs to a personal feed (right). Of course you can upload them to social networking websites too.
Instagram gets our vote over Hipstamatic (below) for a couple of reasons. The interface is much more usable, with options clearly displayed along the bottom (right pic), in addition you can also see the effects of the filters before you apply them (left pic). As if that isn’t enough, Instagram is totally free. What are you waiting for? Download it now.
Hipstamatic lets you apply analog-film style effects to your photographs, including: blur, filter and vignette effects. Swap effects simply by shaking the phone to select a new film stock and lens, which are all based on the original, including: John S lens, Jimmy lens and Cherry Shine flash. All this is done through a funky UI that looks like a camera.
By setting up a Hipstamatic account you can share photographs with friends via Family Albums (stored in the Cloud), order prints and enter a monthly competition.
If you a little more serious about photography then you’ll probably find Hipstamatic a bit too simple and inflexible, but that’s also what’s great about this app; with minimal effort even the drabbest photograph becomes interesting. It does seem expensive though and the social element isn’t a patch on Instagram.
As the name suggests this app lets you apply vintage effects to your pictures. Either take a new photograph within the app or apply the effects to existing pictures,
14 filters are available and you can try them out one by one to find your exact favourite, before sharing them via Social Networking websites.
In terms of features that’s about it, but you can upgrade to the Professional version for 69p to get more filters.
Vintage Camera is one of the most straightforward apps of this type we’ve used, like Instagram it’s free and a worthy alternative if you aren’t bothered about the social side.
The Guardian Eye Witness
Long a favourite of ours at Recombu, this apps brings together some of the best reportage photographs from around the world see in the Guardian’s EyeWitness pages.
View up to 100 photographs for the last 100 days, covering natural disasters, sport and festivals and each with a Pro tip. Unfortunately, although this app is available for Android smartphones, it’s only available for the Apple iPad, but for admirers of world class photography it’s essential.