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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Top 10 iPhone Apps

My favorite apps to improve your photography

This Article Features Photo Zoom
FX PHOTO STUDIO
If you're looking for a classic or unusual filter to apply to your image, this app will have it. Created by Tiffen, who you probably know best as a maker of optical filters, FX Photo Studio has over 190 effects you can apply to your shot. Simply scroll down the FX effects window and choose the filter you want to apply. Better yet, you also can use brushes to apply the filter where you want in your image. The filters are grouped into categories, which helps you narrow down your search for the right effect.

INFORMATION & UTILITIES

THE PHOTOGRAPHER'S EPHEMERIS
As a landscape shooter, knowing when and where the sun rises is critical to getting a good shot. The Photographer's Ephemeris will tell you where the sun is rising and setting at your location, and the exact time. Also, this app shows where the moon will be and what phase of the moon is occurring. Imagine trying to predict exactly where the full moon will rise in Arches National Park. If you want to know where the moon will rise relative to Delicate Arch, you better have The Photographer's Ephemeris loaded on your phone.

THE NIGHT SKY
I shoot a lot of star trails. One of my favorite techniques is using the North Star as a rotation point for the star trails during an hour exposure. And unless you're an astronomy buff, chances are, you can't tell the North Star from planet Mercury. The Night Sky solves this issue by using your GPS location and generating star maps at your location. Just hold your phone above your head and aim it at the part of the sky where you want to identify the constellations. Choose the night-visibility mode to see a red version of the map and keep your night vision intact. And turn off the music unless you want to relive Star Trek!

TOMTOM
I log so many road miles each year that sometimes I think I live more in my car than my house—there are just too many great photo locations to explore! I don't own a dedicated car GPS system; I use TomTom on my iPhone instead. Where TomTom really shines is how fast the maps appear on your phone. TomTom installs all the map data at purchase (a big download), so it doesn't need to wait on a weak phone signal to download information. Using your phone's GPS, TomTom instantly shows you what road you're on and where you need to go. You can type in a destination and use voice GPS with 3D views similar to a car GPS. The app comes with U.S. maps ready to go. If you travel abroad, you can download maps for your destination. We used TomTom in the Atacama Desert in Chile, and it rendered amazing detail. TomTom even showed small creeks we were crossing over!

WEATHERBUG
Simple, free and very informative, WeatherBug tells me in seconds everything I need to know about the weather. Wind direction, the high and low temperatures, and the three-day forecast all pop up on the main screen. Tap the Sun/Cloud icon, and you instantly know the sunrise and sunset times. Tap the Camera icon, and the closest webcam image will appear. Very cool! Be forewarned that you'll get banner advertising at the bottom of your screen.

RADARSCOPE
If your fantasy is to be a storm chaser, RadarScope is your answer. RadarScope taps into NEXRAD radar in your area and gives you raw uncompressed data to use. You can detect a tornado's hook echo or a supercell generating lightning with this app. RadarScope refreshes every few minutes as radar scans the area. National Weather Service alerts are displayed, as well. It's like watching the live weather map on TV, except it's on your phone. At $9.99, it's a little more costly than most apps, but it's worth it.

EASY RELEASE
On assignments, I often shoot with models, and many times the images will be used in advertising. This means I'll need the models to sign a release before I can offer those images for advertising and commercial uses. Instead of bringing "old" paper releases with me to the shoot, I use Easy Release on my iPhone. Easy Release is a model-release app that your model can sign right on your phone. Models fill in their contact details, read and agree to the release, and then sign using their finger. The signed release can be emailed from your phone to your office or printed directly from the phone using a compatible Wi-Fi printer. Headed to Mexico to photograph mariachi bands? No problem, Easy Release comes in Spanish and many other popular languages. And in case you're wondering, Easy Release is a legitimate release—even big stock agencies like Getty accept it.

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