Must-Have Mobile Apps for Photographers
With the advent of mobile technology, apps are a photographer's best friend. At BlueHour, we're always using our apps, and on our workshops we'll teach you what and how we use them. Here is a list that covers all the basic categories.
1) Weather Apps
Weather is so important when it comes to photography. You know you want that perfect sky? It's best to check the weather. Don't want to shoot in the rain? Check the weather.
Some well known weather apps include AccuWeather (android) or Dark Sky (iOS). Dark Sky can tell you when it's supposed to start raining, down to the minute, and you can set it so that it sends you alerts for wherever you are.
2) Celestial Tracking Apps / Shot Planning
These types of apps are very important to BlueHour, and we recommend you download them if you want to get better at anticipating your shots. We use apps like Sun Surveyor, Sun Seeker, or The Photographer's Ephemeris to tell us what angle the sun or moon will be for any location, at a given time, on any given day of the year. This is how we know where to be for sunrise or sunset, and we use these apps to plan shots for our workshops. Please view our blog post on pre-scouting the Rocky Mountains for more information on these apps and their interfaces. Google Maps and Google Earth are some other great tools you may be familiar with.
3) Exposure & DOF Calculating Apps
Digital photography has ushered in the era of autofocus and took out a lot of the mathematics that used to be involved in taking creative control. But sometimes, it makes sense to make those calculations. For example, one of the topics we go over on our workshops is Hyperfocal Focusing: the method you use to ensure your image is as sharp as possible, across the entire image no matter what settings you want to use. But how do you know how far to set your focus? Using an app like DoF Calculator (android) or PhotoBuddy takes the hard part out, and tells you. All you need to do is put the correct information in, and the app tells you what distance to set your lens to. *Important note: These apps, at least for focusing capabilities, are really only for people who have more than just a kit lens - you need to have a lens with a focus distance scale on it for these apps to work.
You can also download exposure calculator apps like Exposure Calculator (android) for making sure you get the right shot, even when using neutral density filters.
4) Light Meters
Light meters are used by professional photographers to make sure they expose a perfect image every time. Light meter apps use your phone's camera to get a reading of the light, and though maybe not completely accurate, do the job. They calculate combinations of shutter speed, aperture and ISO to give your a desirable exposure. They're a bit of 'new school' implementation of old technology. MyLightMeter for iOS is a free one to use.
Want to link your photos to a GPS location? There's an app for that. Apps like Geotag Photos Pro records GPS coordinates as you shoot. When you are done, you can export a file to import into Lightroom. If your phone and your camera's clocks are in sync, the information can be matched to your photographs.
6) Camera controllers
With the correct equipment, you can link up your phone or computer directly to your camera and shoot with a device as a remote. Apps like TriggerTrap can do all sorts of things, like creating time lapse photos or panoramic images, and more. DSLR Controller is another good, free one for Canon cameras that lets you monitor your camera's output, and set the controls remotely. Paul recently used this app for his half-underwater images for the Museum of Science!
Over time, you should have a folder on your phone, tablet or mobile device specifically for photography apps! Try some of the ones on this list, and expand your photographic capabilities.