10 Mobile Apps Every Photographer Needs
JUNE 25, 2014
By Greg Scoblete
It’s something of a cliché to complain that we’d be lost without our phones, but for professional photographers and videographers, it’s increasingly difficult to do business without them. Whether you’re an iOS loyalist or an Android aficionado, here are ten recent mobile apps that will help you get the job done.
PHOTOSMITH BY C2 Enterprises
Looking for a robust photo organizer capable of handling RAW images from close to 500 camera models that can also sync to Lightroom? Photosmith is your app. You’re able to view, edit, and organize your JPEG and RAW images on the road and have Photosmith sync with Lightroom when you’re back in the studio. Images can be imported wirelessly via Eye-Fi memory cards or FTP, or by USB, and stored in their own collections within Photosmith, even if you empty out your camera roll. A SmartGroups function will automatically group similar photos together based on the app’s algorithmic assessment of which photos belong together. You’re able to sort and filter images yourself by flags, stars, color labels, dates and file names. When you’ve found the images you want, you can upload them to Dropbox, e-mail them, apply keywords, or share them to Flickr and Facebook.
STUDIOGENIE BY GENIE LABS
StudioGenie turns your iPad into a mobile photo studio. Using the app, you can show off all the images you offer, input customer data for leads, create and track orders, generate invoices and more. You can use the app to show clients proof prints with rating, tagging and commenting capabilities. Any comments or tags a customer leaves on the iPad can be synced with the company’s desktop software or imported into Lightroom. An Ideas tab lets you interactively share and explore all aspects of a photo shoot: from pre-shoot setup to lighting diagrams during the shoot to sales opportunities. All the data that’s generated by StudioGenie is backed up to its Portal cloud so it’s secure in the event some calamity takes out your iPad. A Basic subscription package buys you 2.5 GB of storage while a Pro package delivers 10 GB. Pro users will also be able to create and share an unlimited number of online proofing galleries so clients can access their images in a controlled environment.
Prices: $30 per month for Basic; $45 per month for Pro
SHOT DESIGNER BY HOLLYWOOD CAMERA WORK
For directors war-gaming their shoot, Shot Designer helps you plan complex scenes by uniting camera diagrams, shot lists, storyboards and even animation into a single program. As you diagram your scene, the app automatically compiles a shot list for you and responds to changes you make, so as you move characters, cameras move as well. You can animate your scene to test how it will unfold while retaining the ability to make changes to camera positioning along the way. The app also supports importing production drawings and storyboards, and Pro users can export camera diagrams and shot lists in PDF, JPEG or Excel formats. The Pro version also allows you to sync and share files across multiple users, including desktop Shot Designer clients for Mac and PC.
Platforms: iOS and Android
Prices: Free; $19.99 for Pro
GOOGLE+ BY GOOGLE
While Google+ may not have the billion-plus users that regularly flock to Facebook or the photographic pedigree of Flickr, Google is unquestionably putting a significant degree of effort into enhancing the photographic chops of its social network thanks, in part, to its purchase of Nik Software (makers of the highly regarded Snapseed mobile editor). Among the photo-friendly features recently added are non-destructive image editing across any device. Once you upload an image to Google+ you can begin edits on your desktop, and continue them on your phone or tablet. If you goof, you can always revert to the original, which Google stores safely for you. There are a bevy of new filters and editing tools now available for images you upload (including brightness, contrast, saturation and sharpness controls). Edits can be applied locally or to the entire image. For those who want a quicker fix, Google+ supports a suite of “Auto Awesome” features that will instantly animate, correct or throw an effect on any image you select. Google has also streamlined how stored images are viewed with a new All View feature that shows every photo you’ve backed up on Google+ (including photos stored on devices and those stored only in the cloud).
Platforms: Android and iOS
FILTERSTORM NEUE BY TAISHIMIZU
Filterstorm is a powerful image editor that goes far beyond slapdash photo filters. It offers a wealth of editing features, including tone mapping, noise reduction, temperature adjustments, RGB curve adjustment, cloning, sharpening and blurring. You can add several effects including amatorka, posterize, sepia and X process, while a ten-step undo history ensures you can walk back edits you’re unhappy with. The program displays image metadata and can export IPTC fields (such as copyright, headline, keywords, job ID and more). It can even open and edit RAW files, though doing so will tax your mobile processor and slow the app’s performance. Your final images can be exported to FTP sites or as TIFF, PNG or JPEG files with file-size previews available before you finalize.
Platforms: iPhone and iPad
EASY RELEASE BY APPLICATION GAP
This wizard-based release app lets you quickly get talent signed up or secure location shooting rights on the spot, without a laborious paper shuffle. It offers both standard model release and property release language that passes muster with the major stock agencies (Alamy, Getty, iStockPhoto and others) plus the ability to add your own custom legal text. The app can present contracts in 13 different languages and, for Apple users, supports seven different user interface languages. You can store and re-use previous release data to speed the process along. Via in-app purchases you can add more functionality (this option is for Apple users only as of this writing), including the ability to import and export custom release templates, add an unlimited number of custom data fields, turn off existing data fields and display multiple brands across your template options.
Platforms: iPhone and Android
STOCKIMO BY ALAMY
Stockimo is Exhibit A for the case that the iPhone is an unambiguously serious photographic tool. The product of the stock photo agency Alamy, Stockimo offers a platform for iPhone photographers to sell their work into the stock pool. Any images snapped with an iPhone can be tagged and uploaded to Alamy where it is judged on a scale of one to four. If your pics average a two or higher by Alamy’s panel, they’ll be approved for sale. Alamy wants only iPhone images uploaded through Stockimo (you can use the desktop Alamy site for your more serious camera work) and they’re perfectly fine with filters, too. According to the company, the average photo fetches $90 if it’s licensed. “Early bird” users of the app will earn 40 percent on any photos licensed through the service, while late birds earn Alamy’s standard 20 percent. Photographers will retain their copyright and images will stay on Alamy for repeat sales until you pull them down (simply deleting the app will not remove your images from Alamy’s portfolio).
SHOOT & SELL BY ARIANA FALERNI DESIGNS
Shoot & Sell gives your product pitch a high-tech edge. For professionals selling wall art, the Shoot & Sell app lets prospective customers see how large prints will look on their wall. You can use either a stock image of a wall or demo the print using a photo of the customer’s actual wall (using an image you import or one you snap with your tablet). If you’re not handy with the tape measure, the app’s calibration tools will guide you to the proper spot to hang the work. Images can be imported from your tablet’s camera roll, Dropbox or Flickr, and final designs can be exported to personal Web pages and social networks. The app offers extensive customization controls over your presentation, including the ability to crop, flip and zoom images, add watermarks, set prices and add frame/matte combinations. There’s also a ten-level undo to reverse your mistakes.
Platforms: iPad, Android and Kindle Fire
PHOTO SHACK HD BY APPLGASM-APPS
This comprehensive photo organizer lets you tame a large collection of images with the flick of a finger. The app syncs with iTunes and lets you browse through your collection via a variety of keyword searches; the images can then be saved as album selections for easier organization. Images are displayed in one of three sizes, or simply as file names and titles for even faster scrolling. You can view and edit EXIF data, including GPS coordinates, or make changes to file names, titles, and image ratings individually or in batches. While it’s not purpose-built to be a portfolio app, you can use Photo Shack HD to show off images to clients by setting it to Portfolio Mode, where the current library gets locked into place, enabling a customer to scroll within the specified library without making changes to the photos or straying into other photo collections. You can choose from eight different transition effects and add music to your Portfolio presentations as well. Photo Shack HD can share images to Dropbox and other third-party platforms or via e-mail. AirPrint and AirPlay are also supported for wireless printing and sharing on HDTVs, respectively. While you won’t mistake it for a photo editor, Photo Shack HD does support some light editing such as cropping and applying chromatic effects or masks to images.
ARTEMIS DIRECTOR’S VIEWFINDER BY CHEMICAL WEDDING
Turn your iPhone (or iPad) into a viewfinder with just a few finger swipes. Once you input your camera format and lens grouping, Artemis will simulate the field of view of the lens. It’s a great tool for comparing the effects of various lenses; the app can display two different lenses in a single view or view one-at-a-time. Director’s Viewfinder draws on an extensive database that includes over 100 cinema cameras covering both film and digital formats as well as digital SLRs (including both full-frame and APS-C-sized imagers). Digital and film still cameras are also supported. In the unlikely event that you can’t find your specific camera in the app, a custom function will help you reproduce your unique setup (with the ability to send it along to Chemical Wedding’s database). You can save pictures and metadata of scenes to your phone for storyboarding and build your own lens bag for quicker access to your go-to gear.
Platforms: iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry
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