5 Must-Have Apps for Fabulous Photos

These days, we are usually not found anywhere without our smart phones – especially on trips. Our easily portable device lets us capture and share all the moments of our lives. As summer hits and travel beckons, here is a list of the top five apps to shoot the best pictures possible using your smart phone. Build a toolbox of apps for shooting and editing with this list, complied by John Barnett, a professional travel photographer.

Wood Camera

Ranked the No. 1 camera app in the U.S. app store, Wood Camera works for any type of photo, providing the most editing control available on the iPhone. Use this simple yet feature-rich camera and photo editor to share straight to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and more.

“There are editing options for pretty much every situation,” Barnett said. “All of the 'lenses' are fully adjustable and have individual controls for tweaking and controlling each aspect of the image for the desired edit. This is a great app for editing tools like brightness, contrast, saturation, straightening and sharpening.”


Using ProHDR and its automatic high dynamic range photography, you can create an image exposed for the highlights and another exposed for the shadows. The app will merge the two images for you, resulting in a fabulous HDR image. With its automatic mode (tap to capture) and assisted manual mode, this app will capture high-res photos of scenes with great contrast, with or without full control.

“(The app) is great for landscapes and scenes that contain very dark areas and very light areas. ProHDR allows the user to capture two images of dark and light exposure in quick succession, and then combine the images into a single HDR image. A sky full of bright clouds will become dramatic, while the darker parts of the scene will be properly exposed and balanced with the bright sky,” Barnett said.


Diptic is the perfect app to display your fav shots in framed collages and collections to share via email, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or Tumblr. Combine and edit photos with colored and stylized word captions, 14 filters, adjustable rounded borders, zesty background textures and 179 customizable layouts.

“(Diptic) is especially fun for creating one big collage with highlights from a trip or a special event like a birthday or holiday. Use Diptic to tell a story with your images. Start with something simple and then adjust the aspect ratio and shape of the layout,” Barnett recommended.


Known as the best iPhone video app, 8 mm supplies most of the same features as Wood Camera, except in video format. With this versatile app, and its seven lens and 10 films, you can shoot retro-appearing films, capturing the glamor of vintage movies with features like flickering, retro colors and dust and scratches – even to existing films.

“The finished video looks like it came straight out of an old box of film from decades ago,” the photographer said. “The different films and lenses give you dozens of options for color and graininess. This is a fun app for videos I shot on trips – 8mm makes my videos look truly vintage.”

Slow Shutter Cam

Slow Shutter Cam puts the power and features of a DSLR (digital single-lens reflex camera) into your smart phone, allowing you to employ fantastic shutter speed effects. Your photos are no longer simple snapshots but beautiful images. With three capture modes – automatic, manual and light trail – you can select sensitivity levels, tap to adjust exposure, use real-time live preview, capture blurred movement and employ freeze control.

“It can be difficult to get a good shot without a small tripod or propping the iPhone, so it's steady during the shot. This app is best for capturing night scenes and movement. Traffic at night or shots of moving water look especially cool with Slow Shutter Cam,” Barnett declared.

Of course, you can always shop around. “It's good to know how to best utilize the power of your smartphone. Knowing what apps to use for different situations is key to getting the shot you're looking for,” Barnett said.

Follow Barnett on Instagram for his daily iPhone shots.

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