“The best camera is the one you have with you,” or so the saying goes. But, until recently, I’ve been nervous to trust my iPhone camera for anything other than selfies, food, and cat pictures. Unless I am being paid to shoot, the hassle of taking DSLR camera gear through airports and the strain on my neck caused by carrying my large camera around does not make it a good camera for vacations. Since upgrading to an iPhone 7, I am much happier with the quality of pictures and have decided never to take my DSLR on vacation again, unless I am specifically going on a photography tour. The apps on my camera help me control the camera on my smartphone to achieve the results I want. I also have some other apps that help when taking pictures with my DSLR.
645 Pro turns your iPhone camera into one with similar functionality of a DSLR. It allows you to manually adjust the shutter speed, ISO, and White Balance and to save the results as RAW files in your Camera Roll or in an iCloud folder. The iPhone has a fixed aperture, so it cannot be controlled and the slowest shutter speed you can set is 1/3 of a second. This means it limits the ability to get slow shutter speed effects such as light trails, but it can be highly customized to give great results. When capturing JPEG, there are a large number of film looks and filters that can be applied to an image.
The iPhone can’t shoot with really long shutter speedss, so this free app combines several exposures to simulate camera Bulb mode. Used with a tripod, you can capture pictures of light trails or movement in water.
This has been on my phone for a long time and is a lot of fun to use. The app simulates a plastic toy camera and gives the choice of a lot of old film looks. A recent upgrade also gives users the choice of a more standard interface. Instagram photographers addicted to cheesy filters should definitely add this app!
Essential for drunken parties where group selfies are mandatory, this app allows you to take a picture by simply waving at the camera. It’s fun to use and a hit with kids.
I use this as a teaching aid, as it converts aperture, focal length and focus distance into a reading for depth-of-field or hyperfocal distance. It can be customized for the circle of confusion of popular sensor formats and lens sizes.
I use a 10-stop neutral density filter to cut out light from my DSLR camera, allowing me to set really slow shutter speeds even on relatively bright days. This simple tool allows users to quickly calculate the difference in shutter speed between the DSLR camera meter and the setting with the filter installed.
For calculating for a long bulb exposure,s I balance my camera meter at 30 secs by adjusting the ISO and aperture, then convert it back to the target ISO and aperture I wish to use. This app does the calculation for me and also incorporates the timer for bulb mode. Long exposure photography made easy!
I do not have the self-confidence to carry a selfie stick, but a miniature tripod is very useful, especially to hold the camera steady while I do slow shutter speed photography. You should fit your smartphone’s ear buds onto the camera, because the volume control can be used to fire the shutter, eliminating camera shake. Combined with the 645 Pro app mentioned above, the tripod will allow you to use lower a ISO and improve the quality of your pictures.