Top Android Photography Apps for Serious Smartphone Photographers

Have you noticed that most mobile photography apps are just silly gimmicks?

I have no interest in photography apps that add crazy filters or pink sparkles and speech bubbles to cat photos.

I also don’t care if an app is free or it costs two bucks.

So in this post, I thought I’d share what I think are some of the top Android photography apps for serious mobile smartphone photographers.

mobile smartphone photography photographer jp danko toronto commercial photographer paper mache darth vader

“Darth Vader Paper Mache Mask and Child”   – by JP Danko – Digital Artist

Full Disclosure

Before we get started, I’ll be the first to admit that I am not a seasoned smartphone photographer.

The apps discussed in this article are simply apps that I have discovered that work for me and that I recommend.  I would love to see a more in depth discussion in the comments about our reader’s Android photography app recommendations.

I recently upgraded from ye olde Blackberry, which I pretty much never used as a camera.

I’ll probably date myself here too, but right now, my philosophy towards smartphone photography is basically as a camera of last resort – ie. if no other real camera is available (DSLR, mirrorless, point and shoot, pinhole), only then will I resort to taking photos with my smartphone.

But, now that I have this spiffy new Android mobile smartphone, I thought it would be worthwhile to really explore what I can do with it as a tool for serious photography.

mobile smartphone photography photographer jp danko toronto commercial photographer lego wonder woman

“Lego Wonder Woman Helicopter” by JP Danko – Digital Artist

 

And please, let’s avoid the Android versus iPhone arguments.  This post is for Android users (although some of these apps are available on iOS too) – we all know how much you love your iPhones, how great iOS is for creativity and that we’re idiots for buying Android smartphones.

Top Android Mobile Photography Apps – Capture

The built in Android camera app is actually surprisingly good (I’m coming from the world of Blackberry).  You can manually set the ISO, focus, flash settings, exposure compensation, metering etc. – but all of these settings are buried inside of menus, so they are hard to use on a regular basis.

Camera FV-5

mobile smartphone photography photographer jp danko toronto commercial photographer camera f5-v

Camera FV-5 is the best Android Camera app that I have found.  I like it so much that I have replaced the default Android camera app on my smartphone’s home screen with Camera FV-5.

Camera FV-5 essentially takes all of the built in camera control functions that are buried in menus and puts them all into an easy to use DSLR’ish looking interface.

Camera FV-5 also has a histogram which is fantastic for experienced photographers.

There is no manual mode, or aperture priority (I am guessing that the aperture of smartphone cameras cannot be adjusted) and the shutter priority mode isn’t really that usable – so you are basically left with good old program auto.

But I find that having the histogram and the exposure compensation slider always available is indispensable for any sort of serious Android smartphone photography.

Lapse It

mobile photography time lapse app jp danko toronto commercial photographer lapse it

Lapse It is an Android camera app specifically designed to produce time lapse videos.

Camera FV-5 and many other Android camera apps include an intervalometer, but I find Lapse It infinitely easier to use.

Lapse It also has the major bonus of being able to produce fully edited time lapse videos right in your phone – you don’t have to export your photos and use an external video editor.

Obviously time lapse video captured on a smartphone camera are not quite going to be the same quality as time lapse video captured by a DSLR, but it is fun to play around with once in a while.

Other Android camera apps that look promising, but I have not tried include ProCapture and CameraMX

Top Android Mobile Photography Apps – Editing

I don’t go to the grocery store in my pajamas, and I don’t share unedited photos with the world.  I also think that real photo editing involves an old fashioned desktop computer and a giant calibrated monitor.

mobile photography filter app coffee cup jp danko toronto commercial photographer blurmedia

“Coffee Cup With The Wrong Name And Desk Clutter” by JP Danko – Digital Artist

 

However, I will concede that there is defiantly a place for one touch photo filters and basic slider mobile photo editors.

VSCO Cam

vsco cam smartphone mobile photography app review jp danko toronto commercial photographer blurmedia photography

VSCO Cam is an Android photo app that applies vintage styled film filters to your smartphone camera photos.  Although I personally really hate the classic “Instagram look”, there is just something about VSCO film filters that look great and feel more authentic.

You can apply VSCO Cam film filters with one touch, or you can fine tune the effect with a number of adjustment sliders.

VSCO Cam also offers an online community for sharing your VSCO Cam edited photos, but I already have enough social media places to share my photos – the last thing I need or want is another one.

I have been using this app more and more over time as the vintage film look is growing on me.

Snapseed

snapseed top android mobile phone app jp danko blurmedia toronto commercial photographer

Snapseed is your general purpose, multi-use Android photo editing app.

Snapseed was originally created by respected photo editing software company Nik Software, although it is now owned and operated by Google.

I find most of the default Snapseed photo effects a little too gimmicky for my tastes, but there is no question that there are some very powerful photo editing tools here.

Photoshop Touch

adobe photoshop touch review top android mobile phone photo editing apps jp danko toronto commercial photographer blurmedia photography

Photoshop Touch is definitely one of the most sophisticated mobile photo editing apps available, but that is also something that I don’t really like about it.

I figure if I am going to be doing detailed photo editing with selections, layers and blend modes, it’s not going to be on my smartphone or tablet.

But, if for some reason, you really need do something more advanced than just basic slider adjustments to edit your photos on your smartphone or tablet, Photoshop Touch is your most advanced option.

Editorial Photos

By the way, in case it isn’t apparent, the editorial images in this piece are meant to be an ironic commentary on the current state of smartphone photography.

Essentially, I needed some photos for this post, so I took a few mediocre smartphone snapshots of a bunch of random crap around the house and applied some filters.

Enjoy.

morning coffee and booze typical smartphone mobile photography jp danko toronto commercial photographer blurmedia photography

“Morning Coffee Mug and Booze on a Counter Top” by JP Danko – Digital Artist

What Are Your Favorite Android Mobile Photography Apps?

Leave a comment below and let us know what Android mobile photography apps you love.

  • http://profiles.google.com/bogorad bogorad

    I used to love “Camera FV-5″, but since I switched to CyanogenMod on my SGS3 I can’t use it any more. It became useless since the “S”-mode no longer works, and in some modes I get weird results (like ‘a dirty green screen’). Had to switch to SmugMug’s “Camera Awesome”, which at least works, and allows (more or less) easy selection of high ISO.

    One addition – AfterFocus. It’s only helpful once in a while, but when you need selective focus – it’s the best!

    • jen

      I buy a lot of camera apps, but after buy afterfocus never use it is that much, I rather use PicSay pro to give dof and with the selective tool I could do pretty much as much as I want or use tilft shift and place where I want to the area selected, also PicSay pro look simple but after u play it a while u find u can do a lot of things more easy and quick than on others. If that pic show here I do a quick example that I don’t even do to look pretty or perfect, just to show

    • jen

      I try to add a screenshot but failed

  • olidie

    I’ve been using Shot Control for a good while now and like it a lot.
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.starvingmind.android.shotcontrol&hl=en

  • http://www.mobilography.net/ Jacob Dix

    Nice to see we are in agreement on the best. Yeah, gimmicks are what you get from crowd sourced lists, and blogs that don’t specialize in the art. Yours is based on expertise. I wrote a recent blog post doing the same. It is not exhaustive, but close. I didn’t put Lapse It into the camera apps, but I agree it could be there. Would be interested in your thoughts.

    http://www.mobilography.net/the-definitive-list/

  • Christopher Stivala

    Photo mate r2, handyphoto and repix are editors I found to be very usefull or powerful. Camera2, camera360 and a better camera are the additional photo taking apps I use, all have their time and place. Im trying an all android editing this year and along with what you mentioned the above are what I found will let me get close to lightroom /photoshop and onone pc software editing.

  • Morgan Glassco

    I’m a big fan of PicSay Pro for editing. Been using it a long time. Really dislike VSCO and others that don’t have text explanations of their settings. I have to go through bunch of different options to find the one I want, and no the icons are always easily distinguishable.

  • João Pereira

    I loved FV-5 up until it ‘told’ me I had to pay for it if I wanted to keep taking pictures with more than half a Mpx. Because I am niggard I switched to ‘A Better Camera’ (that’s actually the name of the app) witch is to me at the present moment the best FREE camera app.
    P.S.: I do prefer my DSLR but my phone is my 2nd best

  • MichaelR

    I second AfterFocus, and encourage everyone to check out Handy Photo editor, by the makers of Touch Retouch. It has higher-end functions like Photoshop Touch.

  • http://julieannad.smugmug.com/ JulieannaD

    Vignette ! Love their platinotype, holga and toy camera filters.

  • john n

    I’m a commercial / event photographer coming from PS CC and Lightroom looking to get into the mobile side of things. Thanks for this post. Very informative including the comments. Heard good things about camera zoom effects as well.

  • sourav

    Make your image look creative in seconds through effection app… i just love this app… https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.techbla.effections

  • http://johnnytthatsme.com/ Johnny T (That’s ME!)

    Camera FV-5 is a favorite of mine. I also like Fast Burst Camera as a good one for taking quick burst shots of action movement, and then being able to edit and crop later. PS Touch is great for editing and I also rather enjoy Aviary for something quick and easy for photos that don’t need a great deal of touching up. Though I, above all, enjoy shooting on 35mm film still, can’t help but use the SII in most cases when I’m on the go, or at my kids events.

  • Arpita

    For creative art and paintings I am using this app
    Touchtalent(https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.app.touchtalent)

    There are some creative work there …

  • Andy S

    I released an app series of photo effect very recently. The name of the app series is Arto. So far, I have done six effects: watercolor, oil-painting, sketch, monochrome, retro and (fake) infrared. It all started with the watercolor effect since I cannot find a good one on Android (yay, so I wrote one on my own :). The ui is similar to snapseed (it and befunky are my goto editor on Android), so you will get a lot to fine tune the effect. So far, they get pretty favorable feedback.

    You can find them all at: https://play.google.com/store/search?q=pub:Moiggi%20Interactive

  • http://paris.fortune-softtech.com/ Jessica

    Photo’s give us sweet memories of past.Everyone likes to take photo’s and want them to be looks beautiful.Mobile apps gives us a different look for photo’s.Here are 10 best Mobile apps for photographer: http://paris.fortune-softtech.com/news/10-best-photo-apps-mobile-photographer

  • Freddie Park

    Just want to add more interesting information regarding photo editing so why don’t you explore more and read more about it here.

    http://globalphotoacademy.com/

  • http://etech4u.com Mohit Gupta

    Great article with great apps. Thanks for sharing such good photography apps but there are some more unique and awesome smartphone photography apps also. Some of them are listed here http://etech4u.com/smartphone-photography-apps-tips/.