Android Photography Apps

Manual Exposure using LightMeter Free by David Quiles

Manual Exposure using LightMeter Free by David Quiles

There are many many apps available for Android these days and there are some really great photography related apps and I thought I would give you my thoughts about a few of those that I really like.

1) LightMeter Free by David Quiles

I'm always dubious about the accuracy of a Light Meter app but this one seems to be fairly good. I wouldn't rely on it 100%, but it will certainly get you out of trouble if need be.

It also has the added benefit of being able to take Incident light readings as well as Reflected readings (depending on your phone model I think). Incident light readings can be very useful, especially for portraiture. The cheesy Christmas portrait of myself above was taken with settings given to me by the Incident setting in LightMeter Free.

2) Google Camera by Google Inc.

© Andrew Newson

© Andrew Newson

I love my Google Nexus phones and I'm now on my third with the Nexus 6 made by Motorola. Google Camera is a standard feature on these phones but it is also availble on most Android phones.

So what is so great about it? Two words... Lens Blur!

© Andrew Newson

© Andrew Newson

Lens Blur is a great little trick that allows us to take a photograph and mimic shallow depth of field. Normally this can't be achieved due to restrictions in the sensor size that is able to fit inside mobile phones. When you take the photograph in Lens Blur mode you are asked to move your phone upwards and tilt down towards the subject as you do so. The camera is actually going to build a 3D model of the scene and then process the final image to mimic shallow depth of field. You even get to fine tune the results afterwards too. It's not always perfect and it does take a little getting used to, but when it goes right it can look really great. Give it a go yourself.

Google Camera also has some other nice features like Panorama and Photo Sphere modes.

3) Instagram by Instagram

Most people know about Instagram but it's worth mentioning just in case. Instagram is essentially software that allows you to add filters to your images and more recent versions have improved by allowing us to choose the amount of that filter we wish to apply. We also have some other basic editing features.

But actually it's the social platform that perhas sets it apart from other options. I find it much more active and fun to use than Flickr. I was a huge Flickr fan for many years but have found that interest amongst my contacts and friends has dropped off and therefore makes it feel a little like talking to yourself.

Sure Instagram was intended to process photographs taken with a mobile phone, but there is nothing to stop you posting images taken with any camera, you don't even have to put an Instagram filter on your photos just process them in Lightroom like you would do normally and open in to Instagram and share. If like me you like to retain the original 3:2 image ratio you can use an app like Square InstaPic to place your 3:2 ratio image on a square canvas with no cropping.

4) VSCO Cam by VSCO

VSCO or Visual Supply Company is a lot like Instagram in some ways, it's a way of editing your photos, applying filters and tweaking them further. It also has a social network like Instagram, but I have found that social part less engaging than Instagram.

However I find the filters and processing features to be superior to Instagram and often find myself processing mobile phone shots with VSCO Cam before sharing them through Instagram.

5) HyperFocal Pro by Zendroid

This is a Depth of Field calculator App that enables you to work out how much depth of field you will have in your image with particular settings.

Just choose...

  • Camera Model
  • Focal Length of Lens
  • Aperture
  • Subject Distance (Focus Distance)

The App then works out the depth of field and shows you on a handy little illustration. You can even ask the app to show you the hyper focal distance (the optimum focus distance to achieve maximum depth of field).

6) Square Insta Pic by Studio 8 Apps

It's a really simple little app that I already mentioned above, it allows you to place a 3:2 (or any other ratio) of image on a square canvas of your colour choice. I prefer white and to give a little border too and I use it for sharing images on Instagram.