Photo Apps That Give Your Images Professional Quality

Make your smartphone camera even smarter with these 13 terrific tools

by Mark Harris • Next Avenue
smartphone pictures image

More people use cellphones to take pictures than to access the Internet, read email or even send text messages, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

But are you getting the best from your phone’s camera? While many take quite decent shots, there are apps that can simplify shooting, turn grainy photos into works of art, build stunning panoramas and help you share your vision with friends — or the world.

Of the thousands out there, I’ve selected a baker’s dozen that make it easier than ever to shoot and edit pictures and organize them for easy viewing. These apps work with your smartphone’s normal camera and tend to save photos to the regular gallery. While all are straightforward enough to pick up and play with, I’ve included a couple more advanced apps that can keep up with your photo skills as they develop.

Easy Upgrades
You don’t have to stick with the camera app that comes with your phone. These replacements offer powerful new functions and increased convenience.

Platform: Apple ($.99)
This all-in-one app is an instant upgrade to your iPhone or iPad. Camera controls are kept to a minimum, letting you simply touch to set exposure and focus. The app includes an image stabilizer and timer modes. Beyond that, handy editing features, filters and captions round out a superb value package. The iPad version (also $.99 but going up soon) adds red-eye removal, white balance and other editing options.

Platform: Apple ($.99)
All the photo skills in the world won’t help if you keep missing shots because your camera opens slowly. This ultra-basic app does just one thing: take a photo the instant you hit its icon. There’s no viewfinder, no framing and no delays — just a picture saved to your camera roll in less than a second. Image quality leaves a bit to be desired, but then again, your cat will probably only ever roller-skate for that one split-second.

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Photo courtesy of Oleksiy/

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