Captured on an iPhone 4 using ClassicPAN; post processed with Painteresque, Blender, Iris on an iPad 2.

Favorite iPhone/iPad apps - References

I've been doing iPhone photography since September of 2011 and continue to be amazed at the wide variety of apps available for post processing images on an iOS (iPhone/iPad) device. It can be overwhelming at first (and continues to be somewhat overwhelming as more and more apps appear to be useful or fun). I'm trying to winnow down my list of favorite apps and post some comments about why for each.

I keep changing my mind about the best way to approach sharing information about iPhone/iPad apps... so here's an outline that will continue to be filled in with more information as time allows.
  • Camera apps
  • Comparison of Pro HDR and TrueHDR
  • Blender: One of my favorite apps for blending (combining) two images; Blender deserves a page of its own because it can be tricky to use.
  • A+ Signature is currently my favorite app to use for signing images; tutorial.
  • Perfect Photo is a great choice for cropping, sharpening and/or removing noise from images before continuing with any other post processing; tutorial.
  • PhotoStudioHD (iPad; tutorial) has a marvelous selection of effects from which to choose.

Camera apps

I will say that although there are many more sophisticated camera apps than the native iPhone Camera, I always seem to resort to the native Camera when I'm in a hurry to capture an image or am out and about without my tripod! When used in HDR mode, it is quite fast and does a reasonable job of capturing two images (one exposed properly for the highlights, the other exposed properly for the shadows) that can later be merged in Pro HDR or TrueHDR. (this section will be expanded as time allows to include other camera apps)

A word or two about Pro HDR vs. TrueHDR. As a beginning iPhone photographer, I was introduced to Pro HDR and taught how to use it by John Barclay. Until I started paying attention, and taking more courses (highly recommend those taught by Teri Lou Dantzler and Harry Sandler), I didn't even realize that I could also TAKE pictures with Pro HDR. Teri Lou and Harry introduced me to picture taking capabilities of Pro HDR and also taught me about using TrueHDR to both take and merge images.

  • Pro HDR: MUST be used with a tripod unless you are steady as the Rock of Gibraltar, has a timer, analyzes the scene, takes awhile to take two images, can save both the original (bright/dark) exposures and a merged exposure. Pro HDR does not save the merged exposure until you click Save after waiting for it to analyze and merge the two images. If you want to keep shooting without waiting for the analysis and image saving, click Done and then OK to the Picture not saved dialogue. (One annoying, to me anyway, feature of Pro HDR is it always opens ready to shoot an image and you must click the Actions menu to choose other options. This is NOT intuitively obvious.) 
    • When using Pro HDR to merge two images (one light, one dark), the app asks you to pick the dark image first and then pick the light image. Sometimes the difference between the light and dark thumbnails are hard to judge, especially on an iPhone. For that reason, I prefer to use TrueHDR for merging, ESPECIALLY if I'm doing this somewhat boring task on my iPhone with a string of images (to ready them for later post processing) while riding the subway!
  • TrueHDR: When used as a photography app, it needs to be used with a tripod, has a timer, allows one to choose the bright vs. dark area of the scene, takes a bit of time to take two images which are automatically saved, can be merged immediately (use Merge and then Save). Use Clear + Remove all from list to clear the images from the True HDR app without taking time to merge them right away; this doesn't delete the light/dark images from the camera roll. Although TrueHDR is an iPhone only app, as long as you have an iPad with a camera, you can install it on an iPad and use it there (use the 2x button to make it fullscreen). 
    • Whether on an iPhone or iPad, the TrueHDR merge option is accessed from the menu that appears when opening TrueHDR. Use the Choose Pictures option to locate the two pictures (dialog is choose first, choose second but for impatient people, you can tap quickly on both images to access the Merge option without waiting for the second dialog! If you are performing a string of merging actions, tapping the Back button after you get the message that your photo was successfully saved will bring you back to the EXACT location where you selected the previous two images.
  • One last word of caution for now about using TrueHDR vs. Pro HDR to merge HDR images... it does seem that TrueHDR doesn't handle reds well. If you wondering about the best way to merge your images, I'm guessing you will find others have favorites other than what I've discussed here. There certainly are more apps for HDR than I've mentioned. Experiment and see which app gives you a result that coincides with YOUR vision.

Who knows when I will get back to this but I do promise to continue adding reviews, hints for using apps, and my list of favorite apps as time allows. My biggest problem these days is having WAY more images than I have the time to process and being on a roller coaster ride of learning as much as I can about capturing and processing images with my iPhone. MUCH of what I am posting here has been taught generously by others. I will try to give references as I go along.

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for this...going to start downloading now:)


I appreciate your comments and hope to return your visits soon. If you have any questions about apps used in tutorials, drop a comment with your question and I will either respond here (if the answer is brief) or address it in a future post if I have an answer for you. :-)