As a fineart photographer I am always seeking to control the way my images are made. If you too are like me then I guess you already know the difference between "taking an Image" and "making an Image".
In this quest to "Make" my images I often use external tool that will make my choices on the field easier. Here I talk about 5 of my most favourite smart phone apps (available on both Apple & Android mobiles) that have helped me in areas where I seek to have the most control, Shoot Location, Camera Settings and Image Presentation.
Apps for Optimising on the Shoot Location
"PhotoPills" - This is the Swiss Army knife equivalent for a photography app but has helped me immensely in optimising my shoot plans. When out on the streets or in the jungle I always look for opportunities in sunlight, the play of shadows, sunrise, moon set etc. PhotoPills has an extensive tool set to help you in all these departments. It has an augmented reality filter to overlay the sun and moon paths. For the astro photographers it shows the location and timings for the rise and set of the milkyway, a DOF calculator and an exposure guide to make sure you get the night sky right. The best thing about PhotoPills despite it's complex interface is it's equally extensive support and video guide in the "Academy" tab on how to operate this complex app. Learning it will take some time but in that process you will also understand photography and the physics behind photography much better. So it's a totally worthwhile investment for any serious photographer.
"Clear Outside" - This is a simple free app that has just one objective - determine the cloud cover outside. Its ideal when I want to quickly know if its going to be a clear day to plan my shoot. You can check the cloud cover for any location you are interested in and also check the forecast for the next 7 days. It lists the % Cloud cover along with the possibility of rain and temp at an hourly interval. After using this app for a few months I have got good confidence in its readings and it seems very reliable. In fact I am using this app right now to plan my upcoming shoot next week where cloud cover is going to play a critical factor in determining the success of the shoot.
Apps for getting the right Camera Settings
"Light Meter"- Multiple free Light meter apps are available for both platforms. If you are like me who shoots "Manual" then the right exposure may not always be the exposure as suggested by the camera. In the olden days we used to carry dedicated light meters to measure the light and adjust the Shutter, Aperture or ISO accordingly. Now with the Light Meter app you can have the same power. I haven't listed any specific app here but a generic "Light Meter" search in the Playstore or App Store is bound to get you a ton of results, just pick anyone that has a good rating.
Camera Lens Simulator - This free app is especially useful when you are exploring the shoot location doing a recce to decide on the right lens needed for your shot. Trying out different lens while on field costs time and sometimes may not even be possible. This app comes in handy by simulating the frame of view with different lenses and at different focal lengths without actually needing to pull out your camera and lenses. Once you have decided on the focal length you can pull out your gear with the right lens mounted to execute that shot.
App for selecting your best Image to Print, Frame, Mount & Sell
aRt Filter by ArtBuRt - Technically this isn't an App on the App Store but rather an AR effect inside ArtBuRt's Instagram profile. One of my main objectives in Fineart Photography is to make images as Art that can be hung proudly on the walls. That said it becomes very important to know the impact an image can make when mounted on the wall. But it is not possible to try prints of all potential images on the wall for the obvious reason it costs too much and is a pain to print! So we at ArtBuRt built a simple set of 3 AR effects on Instagram & Facebook that overlays your image onto your wall in a beautiful frame so you know how your image may look when printed and mounted on the wall in a frame. The best thing you can even share these renders with your family and friends & take their feedback on how the image transforms the space. One tip I always give people who try the app is to include furniture in the render since it gives context to the image on the wall. If you want to try it out visit ArtBuRt's Insta handle (on mobile) and click the 3 star "Effects tab" to super impose your images onto any wall. In fact this tool has helped us quite a few time when trying to make a sale of prints when the customer wants to see how any image may look on their wall. You too can use this filter to pitch a sale for your potential customers.
So there you have it, some great resources for photographers who want to go beyond the "take" to MAKE images.
Let me know if you have any other favourite app that you use, which can help others in the comments below.