Smartphones are gaining more and more importance in photography these years. Without saying they will entirely replace traditional cameras, technology has improved a lot, and smartphones now allow you to take amazing pictures of excellent quality. Even a Vogue cover was recently created using an iPhone 7 for instance, incredible!

Moreover, smartphones and clever applications can help the professional photographer, putting at his disposal several tools that can help him/her during a photo shoot.

We propose this week to show you our selection of the best 10 Smartphone Apps from all categories, to make better pictures with your smartphone’s camera, retouch your photos or just help you in your photography life! Here we go!

Camera

Smartphone cameras are more and more accurate, and of high quality, you can even make portraits with bokeh with the new iPhone 7 camera effortlessly… But apps go further and allow you to control all the settings to take the best picture. From the focus, exposure to the white balance and many other manual controls.

VSCO (free)

VSCO app (pronounced “Visco”) is without any doubt the best camera app that combines all necessary settings.

When taking photos in VSCO, you can have manual control of focus, exposure, white balance, and even ISO and shutter speed. Depending on how new your smartphone is, you might even be able to shoot in RAW mode.

When you’re working with these kinds of manual controls in VSCO, you’re essentially using your smartphone like you would use a manual DSLR camera.

VSCO is a great app to use if you’re just starting out with using third-party camera apps. It’s free to download from the App Store and Google Play and has a good selection of manual controls that can add a level of sophistication and creativity to your images.

(+) VSCO gives you also several filters (preset) of outstanding quality to give a vintage look to your pictures, all in one click!


Caméra+ ($2.99)

Camera+ is a great camera app with advanced settings.

Over the years, the makers of Camera+ have continued to improve the app, and it’s now more powerful than ever. All the old features are still there, but you can now use the RAW mode for even further control of your final images.

In Camera+, it’s straightforward to change the focus, exposure and white balance to affect the mood of your photos creatively.

Camera+ is very powerful and can be a little overwhelming at first. So it might be best if you try out one feature at a time and master it before moving on to the next one.

(+) : You can use the shutter speed and ISO settings in Camera+ to achieve special effects like long exposures, you are a master!

(-) : Only available on iOS, for now


Retouch

With apps today, nothing is simpler than retouching a picture directly on your smartphone! From the basic options (contrast, saturation, etc.) to more sophisticated photo editing like removing objects or making creative retouch!

Snapseed (free)

Snapseed is one of the most favorite photo editing apps for iPhone & Android, and for several reasons. It’s super easy to use, but it offers many helpful tools to use.

This app excels in all basic photo processing techniques, including exposure, color, sharpening, cropping, and straightening.

In addition to these, there’s a great selection of filters that you can use to convert your photos to black and white, apply textures, add blur effects, and otherwise enhance the mood of your images.

If you’re new to Smartphone photography, this really should be the first photo editor app you download and learn to use.



For those who want to go further, the three following apps allow you to make more complex retouch of your photos.

Touch Retouch ($2.29)

Many apps now offer the ability to remove unwanted elements from a photo, but TouchRetouch is dedicated solely to this purpose, and it’s still one of the easiest and most efficient to use.

Using your finger, you can quickly and easily highlight the objects (or parts of objects) that you want to remove. The app automatically removes the selection replacing that area with pixels from the surrounding of the object.

Removing more complicated elements may be difficult and need some practice, but that is an excellent tool to remove little objects or simple details (electrical outlets for instance)


SKRWT ($1.99)

Taking pictures with smartphones often results in somewhat “distorted” images in which the image looks bent or stretched.

This is a standard issue with all sorts of wide angle lenses. It’s most noticeable with architectural photos of tall buildings where the lines appear to converge towards the top. With SKRWT, you can quickly and easily correct these distortions and straighten converging lines.

Other apps offer this type of functionality, including Snapseed, but SKRWT is solely focused on this kind of editing and is still one of the best options.


Superimpose ($0.99)

If you want to get more creative and start compositing multiple images into a single photo, one of the best apps to use is Superimpose.

If you’re not already familiar with masking and layering images, this app does require a bit of experimentation to learn, but it isn’t that hard and can be mastered in less than 30 minutes.

You can use Superimpose for a broad range of compositing effects, from just removing an unwanted background from your image to creating truly unique compositions and double-exposure photos. With this app, you’re only limited by your imagination!


Photography Planner

Have you an exact outdoor shooting idea? Want to make a picture of a beautiful sunset just at the place you want in your composition? Make your photography dreams come true with these smart Planification apps!

Photopills ($9.99)

PhotoPills is like having a Swiss Army Knife for all photography matters in your pocket, at your service. Whether you’re a professional landscape photographer or someone who’s barely touched a camera, PhotoPills has you covered. You have a question; you get the answer!

It is a very cool app with a broad range of features, especially for landscape photography. PhotoPills can help organize your planning including saving and sharing your plans and manage locations. You’ll get access to plenty of info about the Sun and the Moon to be in the right place at the right time with just the right lighting. It also includes the augmented reality of the Sun, the Moon, and Milky Way positions and paths. PhotoPills can also help you to calculate exposures, depth of field, and compute the parameters need for time lapse sequences.


The Photographer Transit ($8.99)

For a more sophisticated interface and more tools, I would recommend The Photographer Transit & The Photographer Ephemeris apps.

The Photographer’s Ephemeris is possibly the most popular photography app of all; the app even includes a free desktop app. TPE can help you to plan your outdoor shots through its map-centric Sun and Moon calculator. It will show you how the light will fall on the land at any location and for any time of the day or night. You’ll get information on sunrise and sunset, phases of the moon and percentage of illumination, as well as the times of civil, nautical, and astronomical twilight.

A fantastic app for those who want to go further!


Contract Editor

You are used to shooting with models, and you want to make an Image Right contract quickly and easily? It is now possible in just a few minutes on your smartphone with a super cool app!

Easy Release ($10.99)

Easy Release professional model release app replaces inconvenient paper model release forms and contracts with a slick, streamlined app. It collects all data and signatures right on a touch sensitive Android & Apple device then email a PDF of the release directly to you.

It has been pre-bundled with industry standard (Getty Images) model and property releases in 17 languages.

A cool tool to have in the pocket!


Lightmeter

Want to make the best light for your photos at almost no cost and anywhere without a flash meter? It is now possible too!

Luxi ($22.45)

Luxi is not only an app because it comes with a little accessory that you can put on your smartphone and tablets.

Luxi is a small attachment for smartphone and tablet which works with a FREE app to turn your device into a practical light meter. When paired with the FREE Luxi™ App, Luxi For All will help you determine the best settings for your DSLR or other cameras so that you can take perfectly exposed pictures every time!

All that for as little as $22.45.