With smartphones nowadays, we have transformed the photography industry. Sometimes it even feels like phones take better pictures than cameras!
Hi everyone, I’m Rafaela from the marketing team here at Fracture. I attend the University of Florida (go Gators!) and doodle too much. I also take pictures on my phone all. The. Time. Unfortunately, there are thousands of apps out there claiming to be #1 and the constant process of “download, test, delete, repeat” can become really frustrating when all you want is a way to make your photos look great.
So, I decided to curate a list of some of the best photo apps to help you take awesome photos and edit them like a professional (bonus points if you become obsessed like me and start to unashamedly post photos everywhere).
So, iPhone or Android?
No matter what you have, you should definitely embrace these apps and finally complete that New Year’s resolution to upgrade your smartphone photo game!
Turn off the lights. Time to get Darkr.
Have you ever wanted to try to use a dark room but don’t know where to go (or what to do)? Then Darkr is for you! Darkr is a vintage camera and darkroom replicator for your iPhone. With their Large-Format camera, you can try to take photos as if you were using a film camera, with all the fun challenges that come with it! This means, no zoom, black and white only, upside-down shots, and using strips. The app claims that although these can be less convenient, they force you to be patient and slow down the photography process, which allows for more control and better photos. However, if patience is not your thing (it’s definitely not mine), then you can use the photos from your gallery. There are a variety of professional dark room features in the editor such as dodge, burn, and tone. Each feature adds a new layer to the image so making changes is easy! You can also zoom into the photo ten times, so you can be as detailed as you want to be. When you’re done, share it on social media for everyone to see!
In the app, the picture before using the darkroom (yup, it’s a negative and everything!), and then the final with minimal editing.
Open your heart to Open Camera.
Don’t worry, Android users! This one’s for you: Open Camera is one of the best camera apps in the Play Store. This app offers a variety of professional features such as ghost image to better align your shots; a timer; video, camera, and location settings; among other things. It is highly customizable as most features can be turned on or off depending on your preference. I love using the 3×3 grid system they offer (one out of eleven different styles). They also (currently) do not have any ads so you can snap away, free of annoying pop-ups and banners. The app is free to download so you can test it out with no risk.
Ghost image and 3×3 grid
Don’t be afraid of the dark with Lightroom.
Lightroom is a professional photo editing app that belongs to the Adobe Suite. Lightroom has some incredible options for editing, I only recently found out it was available as an app! It allows for high-quality changes. Whereas usual editing apps offer filters that completely alter the images coloring, Lightroom provides filters that only slightly change the colors to heighten what the original pictures offer. If you already have an account with Adobe then awesome! You are good to go. If you don’t, then you do have to purchase part or all of the Adobe Suite. There are options to pay both monthly or yearly, as it is a bit on the pricier side. However, if photography is your passion (even if it’s on your phone!) then I recommend you at least look into Adobe’s Lightroom and consider downloading this app.
*The app is free to download, you must get a subscription with Adobe to use it
Snapseed helps your photos bloom.
Snapseed is a highly professional photo editing app that will satisfy all of your picky editing needs. This app offers 28 categories of tools, each one chock full of different options that can range from filters, to editing color curves, to creating a double exposure effect. If you are the kind of person who despises spending hours on each selection and edit, then this app is not for you because you can easily get lost in all of the options provided. For someone like me, that loves to mess around with features to get that perfect look, then go to the Play or App Store now and hit download. Did I mention this app is free? I didn’t? Let me repeat: it’s free! So feel free to download and play with the app with no need to worry or stress about if this is the right fit for you.
VSCO, coming full circle.
For those of you who don’t want the hassle of downloading a different app for taking, editing, and uploading pictures, then VSCO is your best friend. Not only does this app provide a simple and elegant option to take photos, you can also edit them (filters and all!), save them on the app or your phone, AND upload them onto their photography inspiration app. By making an account, you get your own profile where you can post your photos as well as share them on your other favorite social media channels. However, don’t mistake this for Instagram, VSCO is definitely a more professional photography app. On top of everything, this great app is free on both iPhone and Android! So make sure to check it out. And if you completely fall in love and are itching for more, they recently released a pro version called VSCO X that has more preset filters for both photo and video, more editing tools like customizable borders, and educational material like how-to articles and videos to help improve your skills.
Whether you download them all or just one, these apps give you the ability to make your photos look professional wherever you are. So go out, take pictures, check off that New Year’s resolution, and become the pro you always wanted to be (all it takes is your phone). And when your photos start looking amazing and people start wondering if you’ve hired a professional to document your life, just send them this list. Or don’t. Your secret is safe with me 😉 – Rafaela.