Five Favourite Photography Apps

I’ve had quite a few requests recently for more blog posts about phone photography and photography apps, I’m far from an expert in phone photography but more than happy to share the knowledge that I do have!

Generally my first choice photography tool will be my camera, its the tool that best helps me realise my vision – most of the time anyway! I like lovely blurry backgrounds in my images and sadly this is a style that can’t really be replicated on a phone. Yes you can add blur afterwards but it just isn’t the same. The other limitation of using a phone is that it can’t capture the same range of light and dark areas as a camera BUT once you recognise how a phone will capture certain lighting situations you can turn this limitation into an advantage. Each of the images below has taken advantage of this limitation.

online photography courses, phone photography

online photography courses, phone photography

online photography courses, phone photography

Below are my five favourite apps, I use them to varying degrees and sometimes go a long time without using one (apart from VSCO which I use constantly!) but I always come back to these at some point of other. All are free apps, some have in app purchases, I’m using them on an iPhone but I’m guessing they are also available for other phones.

1 – VSCO – this is without a doubt my favourite, its always my first choice for editing in colour or black & white. The presets are intended to replicate the look of old films and I use a whole variety of different ones. They can occasionally look a little overdone but if you double tap the preset you can drag the slider back and reduce the effect. Once you’ve chosen your preset you can also adjust exposure, contrast, crop and various other settings. All of the above are edited with VSCO. There is also an image sharing element called the Grid but it’s not something I use. The three images above are edited in VSCO.

2 – SNAPSEED – this is a really powerful image editing app and one that I’ll use if VSCO isn’t giving me the look I want for an image. As well as basic editing tools it has a range of filters and effects as well as frames. If you are looking to make changes to your original file that aren’t so subtle this could be the app for you!

3 – HIPSTAMATIC – what’s not to love about Hipstamatic! Lots of lens and film combinations to give lots of different looks. I tend to go through phases where I use Hipstamatic constantly and then I don’t use it for a while, I’m in not using it mode at the moment but I’m sure I’ll be back to it before long!

4 – HUELESS – a great app for shooting in B&W, it allows you too adjust exposure and add coloured filters and see the effect before you take the picture. Its a really useful app for anyone who struggles to see whether an image is going to work in black & white.

5 – SLOW SHUTTER – This is a real “hit and miss” sort of app, I find I delete a lot of the pictures I take with it but I’d still highly recommend it. When you master it and get the effect you were hoping for its great! I would highly recommend giving it a try, experiment with the different settings and see if you can create something wonderful. The images below were taken with Slow Shutter and edited in VSCO.


online photography courses, phone photography

Do you have a favourite photography app that I haven’t mentioned? Why not leave a comment and let me know, I always like to try new ones!




  • Reza Reply

    I don’t generally use my phone camera to photograph anything! But about apps, Snapseed and VSCO are the best. And these two are the only ones on your list which have android version too 🙁
    VSCO has really great filters. And it’s cool that you can copy your setting on a picture for others, or change it anytime later.
    Snapseed is great! Always my first choice. Because basically has everything needed. Specially selective editing.

    Slow Shutter seems really interesting and fun!! Cool shots my friend!
    I’d love to try Mextures (sadly still just available for iOS). The idea of sharing editing formula is really great.

    My other apps are Afterlight (for some simple light leaks and giving a dusty look to photos) and Over (for adding texts and some artwork to picture! Really love its artworks), both paid apps! And I used to work with other apps like Pixlr, PicsArt and MIX but I’m done with ’em for now Janet!
    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Janet Broughton Reply

      Thanks Reza, I’ll take a look at those you have mentioned, I’ve heard of Mextures and Afterlight but never tried them. You have a play with Slow Shutter, sometimes the results are rubbish but it’s fun and a bit different!

  • Katja Reply

    Hi Janet, thanks for posting this! I didn’t know any of these apps except for Snapseed, which I love to use. I’m really interested in trying out Slow Shutter and Hueless, but what is exactly the difference between VSCO and Snapseed? Are there any options that Snapseed doesn’t have?

    • Janet Broughton Reply

      Thanks for your comment Katja, do try Slow Shutter and Hueless but be prepared for Slow Shutter being a little frustrating! It’s worth persevering with though, you’ll probably be disappointed with lots of images but then when it works out the way you hoped it’s great!

      I think Snapseed has more different “looks” than VSCO but I personally find a lot of them too extreme. VSCO is a set of filters that give a film like look to your images, they are more subtle than the effects in Snapseed and just give a completely different feel to your images. Give it a try, if you find it doesn’t suit you then you can always delete it!

  • Mark A. Schaffer Reply

    I use SmugMug’s Camera Awesome quite a bit. It’s feature set is sort of like a cross between Snapped and VSCO. I am not a big “filter” user but some of them in Camera Awesome are quite good. One of the best features is it provide image stabilization when photographing.

    Lens Distortions is a fun application but like special effects, best used sparingly.

    For those into Birding and happen to live in North America the Merlin Bird ID application can be helpful.

    Wonderful blog post Janet!

    • Janet Broughton Reply

      Thanks for those suggestions Mark, I like the sound of Lens Distortions although I do agree it’s best not to overdo the special effects. I think phone photography is great way to experiment and have a bit of fun though so I’ll be taking a look at that one

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *