Simple Photography: 3 Best iPhone Camera Apps

Cherry Blossoms with iPhoneI am avid amateur photographer.  I love taking pictures wherever I go and whatever I am doing.

Like any hobbyist, I have collected more than my fair share of cameras and lenses.  But when push comes to shove, I must say that my cell phone camera is the one I end up using the most frequently. As super-photog Chase Jarvis states,

“The best camera is the one that’s with you.”

My cell phone is an older 3G iPhone. It does not have a zoom or even a fabulous lens, but what it does have is instant availability.

What makes this camera really sing are the photo imaging apps for sprucing up pictures.  While there are loads of apps made for the iPhone camera, I currently have three favorites.

The first is from Chase Jarvis and is called The Best Camera ($2.99) This app works after you take the picture. It provides a unique set of effects that can be applied at the touch of a button. You can stack those effects and mix them and then remix them.  I like to use the cropping and add-border effects.  I also like the “Paris” filter which renders a nice black and white image. When you’re finished making adjustments, you can share your photos via Twitter, Facebook, Email, and

Here’s a before and after comparison of an old building in S.E. Portland, using The Best Camera app:

Avalon before

Avalon Best Camera App

The second app is called Hipstamatic ($1.99) This app recaptures the look and feel of plastic toy cameras from long ago. Unlike The Best Camera app, this app works before you take the picture. (In other words, you can’t import previous photos for post-processing). You choose the lens, flash and filter you want and then you take the picture. Also, you can build onto this app by purchasing additional “lenses,” “flashes,” and “films” to get the precise look you are after. It’s both fun and artsy. These pics can also be shared on Facebook, Flickr and Email.

Hipstamatic Tulips

The third app is Mobile . ($0.00).  This app is great for cropping, adjusting, changing color and adding special effects such as Warm Vintage, Pop and Vignette. You can also add a variety of border effects. It allows you to upload pics to Facebook, TwitPic, and mobile. Did I mention that it’s free?

Here is a before and after shot.  The  lower “photoshopped” image is much crisper and brighter:

gernaiums, unretouched

geraniums with Photoshop mobile app

Using a cell phone camera with fun apps is just one way of simplifying your photography. I’d love to hear about the cell phone camera apps you prefer as well as your suggestions on how to simplify photography in general.

door with yellow stucco, Santa Monica

Please feel free to leave a comment below.

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3 Responses to Simple Photography: 3 Best iPhone Camera Apps

  1. Cool.I don't have a camera phone like yours but it's interesting to see the photos before and afters.

  2. Avatar Barbara Clevenger
    Barbara Clevenger says:

    Thanks Christianna for recommending these three IPhone apps. Ironically I was searching for a new camera on line…was looking at an Olympus that has art filters….then searched for art filters and found you. Since I also believe in simplicity I was fascinated that you are ONLY USING your Iphone for these great photos! I am rethinking even getting a new camera….and I am the grandmother of adorable twin girls almost 2 yr old!!! So you really got my attention.

    THEN, I started reading your vegan site….and saw the video of Bill Clinton. TODYAY I had been thinking of a radical change in my diet…perhaps going vegan…maybe even raw foods. I have been a vegetarian for 20 years but have much refined food and lots of dairy.

    So somehow in a few mintues I went from shopping for a camera….to your vegan site!!! I am a Unity minister in Metro Detroit area. I KNOW that I need to pay attention to this. Thanks for being a channel of my good…in cameras and health.

  3. Barbara, thank you so much for your thoughtful comment 🙂 I often wonder how my readers happen to find my sites, and your colorful description of your journey to and through my blogs was very interesting.

    I wish you all the best in both your camera quest and your possible switch to veganism. If you make the switch, I think you’ll be amazed at the difference in how you feel.

    Thanks for stopping by!