Snapshot: Apps for the Camera (Phone) You Have With You
For those looking to lighten their load while still still taking great photos, here are some simple alternatives for taking photos with your phone, instead of carrying a large clunky DSLR.
by Paul Raymaker
People always ask me, “What camera is the best?” I could give them a very long, technical answer about megapixels, sensor sizes and ergonomics. Luckily, there is a simpler response: the best camera is the one you have with you!
If you go on a long backpacking trip you probably don’t want to haul along the chunky DSLR—but you probably still carry your smartphone, making it the best camera you’ve got. And with smartphone camera technology advancing rapidly, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. And what’s a smartphone without apps? Here are a couple of free apps for iOS and Android that can help make the camera you have with you even better.
Camera Awesome from Smugmug
This is a great app for shooting photos. While it has a ton of useful features, here are a few favorites:
Composition Aids: Good photos start with solid composition. Camera Awesome has several useful composition overlays, including a horizon tool to keep your landscapes straight.
Image Stabilization: When the sun starts to set (or rise if you’re really ambitious), this will keep that beautiful landscape sharp.
Spot Focus/Exposure: This allows you to focus in one area of the frame and determine the exposure in a different area, giving very precise control over your image capture. Adobe Photoshop pros, you’ll feel right at home with this app, enhancing photos right on your phone.
Adobe Photoshop Express
Image Adjustments: While lots of apps have photo enhancers, Photoshop Express gives you all the necessary enhancements—exposure, contrast, saturation—in a very intuitive way.
Image Compare: While editing your photos, you can use this toggle to compare your edited image to the original image to help you decide if you like your editing job.
Find a photo app and start sharing
Search the iPhone, Android and Microsoft app stores for even more photo apps to help you capture the scene on your next hike. A wide selection of apps let you not only correct and enhance your photos, but also apply a variety of styles and effects. Use them in your trip reports, email them directly to friends and family, or share them on your social channels.
So the next time you hit the trail, put your smartphone to use to capture the beauty of your adventure. And then try one of these apps to give your photos just the right amount of “pop.” You just might start leaving your big DSLR at home more often.
This article originally appeared in the May+Jun 2013 issue of Washington Trails magazine. Join WTA to get your one-year subscription.