Some of my iPhone camera apps

Some of the apps in my iPhone camera bag

My Camera Bag:
The Tools I Shoot With

My updated, original Camera Bag article — preserved here with its original post date, 11.21.2009.

The best camera is the one that’s with you and the one that’s with me nearly all the time is my first generation 8 GB iPhone 2G.

I don’t use one app exclusively to shoot with. I have several and try to match up the image with the app. Here are some of my faves from my toolbox.

1. Camera Genius

Probably the best camera replacement app in the App Store. I now use this as my default camera app. What I like best about the app are the grid lines which help to compose better images and the anti-shake feature. When you drink as much coffee as I do, the anti-shake really helps….

2. Apple’s Camera App

I still use this app often. There is no wait time between images as the app saves your shots. Thanks to the new APIs, other apps are catching up, but for rapid fire photography, this is still my go-to app.

3. Zoom Lens

Digital zoom with a bit of built-in post-processing. This is a real digital zoom that saves at full resolution. The bit of behind the scenes processing that this app does really improves your images. I’ve found no other zoom app that produces zoom results this good, including Snapture (both jailbroken and non). This is the best digital zoom app I’ve found for iPhone.

4. Camera HD

All this app does is allow you to shoot in-camera with different aspect ratios. Yes, you could achieve the same results by cropping in post-processing. What I like is the ability to compose my shot to the frame in-camera. I use this app a lot.

5. Camera XL

Resamples images as you shoot. This app has its limitations (read my review here), but sometimes you just need more than 2 megapixels. Camera XL produces good results in doubling the size of your images, without the need to carry around a laptop and Photoshop.

6. Snapture

This used to be the mack-daddy of camera apps for me back in its jailbreak days. Still a good app, although Snapture’s digital zoom quality isn’t up to snuff with the previously mentioned Zoom Lens app. I use Snapture mainly for its multi-shot feature.

As of November 21, 2009, these are the apps on my iPhone that I use to post-process images:

7. Photogene

Sure, PhotoForge is more powerful and has more features, but I use Photogene for about 75% of my image processing because it does what I need it to most of the time and it does it quickly and easily. When I need more, there’s…

8. PhotoForge

Big and powerful. In addition to all the filters and effects it has, PhotoForge also give me greater control of my image settings. The downside is that it’s slower than Photogene. The upside, it can do a lot more. I have both on my iPhone and use them. If I had to choose only one, I’d get PhotoForge to do some serious work.

9. CameraBag

A nice set of filters that add mood and texture quickly and easily. My faves are the Helga and Magazine filters. Helga is their implementation of the classic Holga lo-fi camera. Magazine adds some great film grain to a vintage effect. Both filters are classic lo-fi.

10. AutoAdjust

Exposure enhancement for dark or underexposed apps — definitely a problem on the iPhone camera. This is more than just a brightness cranking “flash” app. AutoAdjust performs histogram normalization. I could get similar results after a lot of jacking with the Exposure and Contrast settings in Photogene, but this app often gives me good results faster and easier. I’ll also use iFlashReady and PerfectlyClear. All three apps produce different results with the same image.

Your camera bag will probably look a lot different than mine and there’s new apps being released all the time that push the envelope of what you can do creatively on the iPhone. Find what works best for you and have fun!

Unless indicated, nearly every image you see on this site has been shot with my iPhone and processed on my iPhone with one or more of the above apps.