With each new generation of iPhone, the quality of mobile photography only gets better. Today’s smart phones can now take photos that rival even the best DSLR cameras on the market – in the right hands of course. Just because you own a smart phone doesn’t mean you’ll be a great mobile photographer, but there are a few apps that can help improve your innate talent and make you the talk of the Instagram social circles. Before delving into the apps I want to thank one of the top mobile photographers in the world for cluing me in to a couple of these apps, Kirsten Alana. Check out her site and be amazed by the quality of her work, all done on a simple iPhone.
1. Camera+ – Whether you want to improve the quality of your photos to share with your mom or to post on Instagram, Camera+ is one of the best tools out there. What a lot of people don’t realize about Instagram is that you don’t have to edit within the app itself, you can edit in any photo application and then upload to your Instagram feed. For the best photos I always, always use Camera+. From my experience, this is one of the most comprehensive and easy to understand apps, especially important since most of us aren’t professional photographers. The app allows you to choose any photo and edit with traditional methods such as cropping, lighting and borders. But it also features a wide range of photo effects that can transform a photo into a professional work of art. This is a fantastic app for getting the most out of your photography and is now available on iPad as well as iPhone.
2. Diptic or PolyFrame – Have you seen those snazzy looking collages on Instagram and wondered how the geniuses of the phone accomplish these feats of mobile brilliance? Well, they probably used one of these two apps. I’ve included both because one is not necessarily better than the other, but rather it’s just a matter of taste. Each application allows the user to choose a collage style and then upload and edit photos directly into it. You can position any way you like, add borders, change colors and so on. An advantage that PolyFrame does have over Diptic is the larger catalog of collage choices from which to choose. One problem I have with PolyFrame though is that the default border setting makes the photo collages look a little cartoonish and unprofessional, but with a little tweaking this can be minimized. Once again, it’s just a matter of taste.
3. Over – On any given day my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram streams are littered with beautiful photos featuring inspirational quotes. While the shear number of these modern day ‘cat hanging on a bookshelf’ posters can be a bit daunting, their impact cannot be denied. Photos instantly convey so many emotions, from aspiration to admiration and when combined with a snazzy quote, these photos are sure to be a hit in your social media streams. The best app to create these masterpieces is Over. Over is easy to use, just select your photo, type in your message and begin editing. You can choose from a variety of fonts, styles and sizes and can place the quote anywhere over the image you’d like. Once you get the hang of it you’ll be creating your own “Just hang in there, baby” messages like the rest of the social media rock stars.
4. Squaready – If you use Instagram regularly, or if you’re a bit of an addict like me, then you will have noticed that sometimes when you upload photos black bars appear at the top and bottom of the image. That’s because the photo hasn’t been optimized to the standard Instagram size. To make the image fit the width and height of the Instagram space your can manually enlarge it, which distorts and crops the image, or you can use the Squaready app. This app has one function and that’s to resize your photos into the perfect square size of your choice without losing any quality or cropping out parts of the photo. If you spend any time on Instagram you need this app and it will quickly become part of your posting routine, as it has for me.
5. Instatag – So you’ve been playing around on Instagram, uploading amazing photos of travel wonder and delight but you can’t seem to attract many likes or followers. The reason for this is that you may not be using tags to their full effectiveness. Take a look at the top Instagrammers and you’ll notice an bevy of hashtagged words following each and every photo. That’s because they know that this is the best way for non-followers to find their images as well as to attract new followers. The Instatag application allows you to choose up to thirty hashtags (Instagram’s limit) to add to your photo by showing you the top used tags in a variety of categories. For example, if I have a picture of a sunset, I will look through the Instatag Scenery, Trending Live and Top 40 categories to select the hashtags that will get me noticed the most. Sure, it’s an extra step but the app makes it easy to select and copy the tags so that you can paste them directly into Instagram. Try it out for a few days, I think that you’ll be surprised by the results.