One thing I love about my iPhone 5, and all the iPhones I've owned before it, is its ability to take a decent photo. Sure, Droid and Win phones can take nice shots, but my iPhones have consistently yielded pix that rival shots taken with pro rigs.
My contention has always been that you can take a great photo with any equipment as long as you understand the limitations of said equipment. For instance, until very recently the iPhone's photo capture ability in low light has not been great, but that doesn't mean that you can't take a great low light shot. It just means that you have to compensate for the limitation.
This shot for example:
Dog on a Sidewalk
It was taken around midnight and the only available light was a mercury vapor lamp to the right. If I had taken it using the Camera app that comes with iOS 6 the resulting photo would not have had the grayscale range this one does.
What did I do differently? I shot it using PureShot ($1.99), an app that gets me as close to camera RAW as possible.
What's camera RAW? Briefly, when you tap the shutter button on almost any camera, including the iPhone, it quickly processes the photo you just took and produces a JPEG file. Usually by default all consumer cams produce a JPEG photo, which are Reader's Digest versions of what the camera sees.
JPEG photos have small memory footprints and they tend to look pretty good. The problem is that in order to make them small you camera threw away any photo data it thought it didn't need. That data is preserved if you shoot camera raw, you have to decide how your photo should be processed. Since you have more data to work with you can make a so-so shot look stellar. So, the poor little pooch comes out looking especially sad in my shot.
Of course, not everyone wants to take the time to tweak every shot they take, but for those of you who want to take more than what any phone can spit out, I've got a few apps you should look at. So let's get to it.
Zoomdeck [18.0 MB, all iOS devices iOS 6.0 or later, Maker: Zoomdeck Technologies Private Limited]
All the stars in your photo taking universe aligned and you've managed to capture that perfect shot. Of course you'll want to show it off. You could write up a little caption that explains what's going on in the pix, or you can use Zoomdeck.
The red dot is a clickable spot!
This app and service lets you put clickable hotspots in your photo for others to click on. What do the hotspots do? Pretty much whatever you want. Make it a link to a Wiki explanation, or to your web-store. Add a more detailed text or voice explanation of the shot or point to a behind-the-shot video. Use your imagination.
Create more clickable spots!
Yes, there's yet another site you have to get an account on and invite your friends to, but it may be worth it in the long run if it saves you from explaining over and over again why you took a photo of a fire hydrant.
Repix [34.2 MB, all iOS devices iOS 6.0 or later, Maker: Sumoing Inc]
To some folks even the most perfect shot ever taken on an iPhone could use a li'l some-some to give it that extra personal boost. If that's what you want, then you want Repix.
There are all sorts of photo adjusting apps for iOS but few offer the breathe of tools found in Repix. Add sparkle with lens flares, paint drips and more by just selecting then painting with your finger or stylus. Went a bit overboard with the edger? No worries. Use the selective undo to remove your mistake only in the areas where it matters.
Added lens flares now make more adjustments with Repix
Of course there are all the standard adjustment tools for cropping, exposure, and so on, and you get a nice selection of filters as well. Repix offers add-on filters and brushes too, for a price.
Once you are done tuning up your masterpiece you can push it out to any of the standard social services or just save it to your camera roll for later disposition.
Even though I'm a purest and never jazz up my serious photos, I've found that Repix can be a lot of fun. Give it a try.
Shadow Puppet [7.0 MB, all iOS devices iOS 6.0 or later, Maker: Shadow Puppet Inc]
If Zoomdeck was interesting then Shadow Puppet warrants your attention as well. Here, instead of focusing on one photo, Shadow Puppet lets you string together a series of shots into a hyper-slideshow, complete with sound.
What's really cool is that you can adjust what's shown in each slide. For instance, let's say that slide 2 is a photo of you and your Aunt Molly. You can zoom in on Aunt Molly for a few seconds to highlight her during the show, then zoom out to show the whole shot. Pretty cool.
Create a great slide show with Shadow Puppet
You then record a voiceover to explain what's in the photos. Once you're done Shadow Puppet lets you out your work though Facebook or Tumblr, or via their site. I would like it more if I could save my shows to my camera roll. That's not an option currently.
I see this as a great way to create a travel log, learning aid, or just showing off your photographic chops. I'm sure you'll find other uses for this cool tool.
That's a wrap.