Recently my phone died, unfortunately, there is no app to fix water damage, so I had to buy a new one. Re-installing all the apps and settings was very simple. You just log in to everything and away you go. When I logged into Google, it simply started to download all my apps. The same sort of process is on the iOS-based systems.
However, there was a problem
I didn’t have room on my new phone for all my old apps. This prompted me to have a good look at which apps I wanted to keep and which app I no longer needed. It was time for a cleanup, an update and a fresh look at what is out there for not only my phone but my iPad Mini too. You can continue to read about my experiance or jump right into the list of the 30+ apps that every photographer needs.
My requirements for my portables are more about workflow than capture. I very rarely use the camera on the phone or iPad. Editing apps are not important to me as much as weather apps and the ability to edit videos when I need too. If I do need to edit an image, I need a workflow that links back to the desktop & laptop. Backing up images and videos on location is important as is control of such things like drones and go-pros. Capturing good audio is important too.
This list is subjective to me and might help you to refine your apps. If there is something you have found that I am missing, or you know of a better app – leave a comment and I would love to look into it. The other note is that I have both an iPad and a phone not all apps are on both devices. The last thing to note is that I including my vlogging apps in the camera app genre, which is why you will see an audio-related app and some drone apps. I have not included apps such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, What’s App and all the normal apps that you might think a person would have.
So, here is the list, in no specific order
Photoshop For iPad
Download here Apple only
At the moment, Adobe has only brought over Ps to the iPad. Which is fine for me as I have an android phone but as mentioned use the iPad mini on the road. It is just amazing to see how powerful this app is.
If you want a full, on the go, pro-level tool, this is the one you want and only ever need.
The new cloud-based documents are awesome. Start editing on the iPad and through the files over to the desktop when you get home for the finishing touches.
We should take a moment to address that, this is a brand new drop of Ps on to a system. All of the functions of the mainline drop of Ps are not on the tablet version today… but Adobe says they will come in time.
“We’re not going to try to get 30 years of features and unload them on a brand new customer, on a brand new platform, from day one,” Belsky says. “Instead, we’re going to rethink the evolution of some of these features.” Photoshop on the iPad may not be “full” Photoshop yet, but it is real.
We’ve built Photoshop on the iPad with a new user experience completely redesigned for the tablet and the era of touch and mobility. At 1.0, we started with Photoshop’s top workflows, compositing, masking and retouching because these are core to almost any Photoshop-based project.
We also built Photoshop on the iPad so you can open and edit your PSDs any time, anywhere and see and edit your layered documents. The app supports very large PSDs and thousands of layers, just like Photoshop on the desktop. In addition, your PSDs are automatically saved to all the devices where you have Photoshop through our new cloud documents functionality. Our goal is to give you a seamless experience, so you can create anywhere you have Photoshop, on the desktop or on the iPad.
Make sure you are updated to the most recent OS for this to work.
The Lightroom app is one that I do go through phases of using. It’s on both the iPad and phone, but is mostly used when I want to showcase something rather than use as an editing program. It is very good and the smart collection sync is great, but not something I use on a day to day level. That being said, it is a remarkable app and impressively works on my phone and iPad.
Things I really like about this app.
- Install presets from Lightroom Classic
- Familiar tools
- Edit RAW files synced to the main Lightroom catalogue
- Clean and simple UI
- Powerful & fast
- Great way to share & display images
Make sure you are updated to the most recent OS for this to work.
Download here Andriod / not for Apple
This is the best app I can find for recording audio notes as well as using it for proper audio when I don’t have my Tascam (check out the audio on this video). There is a pro version, but I just use the free one. The thing that works well with this app is the gain adjustment that can be adjusted manually on the fly. It just does all the stuff you need with no drama.
I use Dropbox daily. To put it in the most simple terms, if you are looking to have a simple fast way to share files across computers, offices or clients, Dropbox is normally the best way, if you don’t need any fancy stuff. It’s awesome and if you are not using it, you are missing out on one of the best applications ever made. If you are using the pro versions you will love the Rewind and the history features. Countless hours have saved hours of wasted work when we thought files had been lost. If you don’t have dropbox – click here to have a look at everything.
Instax Share & Fujifilm Camera Remote
Download Instax Andriod /Apple Fujifilm Android / Apple
Who does not love Instax. We print all the time and when we have enough, a trip to IKEA and some cheap frames are bought to make a new montage. They are a super way to show memories and create wall art for your home or office.
This one app will work with all the current Instax printers. Next is the app for the Fujifilm cameras… Fujifilm needs to address how bad this app is.
The app is not currently in sync with the hardware they produce but, they are not alone in the market here. All the camera manufacturers seem to forget about the software side of the workflow. Since Fujifilm just updated the app, we are not something expecting anything to change soon. This new update is just about on par with the older version. It’s on my phone, but not managed to get it working yet, but it stays on my phone as I just hope that one day it will.
As a summary, Instax are great, Fujifilm, not so much.
Affinity Photo for iPad
Download Affinity Apple (only for the app, but on all systems for the desktop version)
The Affinity app is pretty amazing. It is a very full and valid competitor to Ps though. As you pay once and it’s yours for life, it’s a pretty decent option. If you’re looking to make a move away from Adobe – this is the most valid option. I did use it for a while, but the wider scale of the Adobe workflow is just working for me so well right now that it’s worth moving over totally, so I have been switching from one to other to slowly learn how Affinity does work.
I use and have used SmugMug for years, not only as it is the creates the front-facing part of my business – my website, but as it also acts as a storage site, client delivery, printing server and client soft-proofing for me. Beyond these core functions, the app gives me a whole new way to use the service.
The app gives me ‘on the fly’ access to everything that I have uploaded. Meaning that I can edit, adjust and tailer make galleries on the go. It also gives me access to download, in full res from anywhere. I use the SmugMug pro account & it has been the backbone of my website for years. If you are thinking about signing up, you are in luck, try 14 days free and if you click this link, you get 15% off a years subscription, how cool is that.
Don’t forget to check out the Lightroom plugin for SmugMug too. It is the fastest and best workflow tool to sync your desktop and website.
Just as I am writing this, I am about to update my iPad Mini and my Andriod phone. I use this app to control my DJI Osmo Action, but it does work well with the Pocket too, in fact, I am told it unlocks some extra functions.
BTW, if you are struggling to link your Andriod Phone and your DJI Action camera. I knew your pain until I find the right way to link them. Click this link and you shall be rewarded (read the rest of the blog first though).
One of the things I love about the update is that we now have the Hyperlapse function that I have loved and used a great deal with the Mavic 2. This app is stable and does just what you need it too.
*update* – Since doing the update, the DJI Mimo app has stopped working with my iPad. Which is a shame.
DJI go 4
Download DJI Go4: Andriod /Apple
These two apps are for the three DJI products that I use. The Mavic 2, Spark and Osmo action camera. It is a shame that there is not one app for all DJI products, maybe this will be the way in the future. These apps are among the best apps out there, DJI is a company that is nailing everything right now.
DJI’s Go 4 App is amazing, I am not sure I have ever had a single problem with it freezing, stalling or even a slight hiccup. Which is pretty reassuring since it controls my Mavic. DJI, your just awesome right now.
Capture the world from above. DJI GO 4.0 has been optimized for all of DJI’s latest products. These include the Phantom 4, Mavic Pro, Phantom 4 Pro, and Inspire 2. It provides near real-time image transmission and camera settings adjustment, as well as editing and sharing of aerial imagery.
- All-new Homepage and UI
- Near Real-time HD Image Transmission
- Camera Settings Adjustment
- Updated playback interface
- Updated Editor with improved UI
- More templates and music tracks in Editor
- Convenient video downloading, editing and sharing
- Integrated live streaming
- Near real-time flight data recording
Download Snapseed Andriod /Apple
Snapseed is great. Its power lies in the great UI, which puts them right tools just where you want them.
The image below is an image that I have edited using the app. The layout is very simple & clean. Snapseed was the first editing app I downloaded and pretty much my goto app.
There is nothing really bad about this app, it’s just that I prefer using Snapseed, why, it’s pretty hard to say, they are both very good. They both have clean and efficient layouts. Both do everything you would need them to do.
The only downside with VSCO is that many of the good presets are only open to members, which is not that cheap. Membership is currently at $4.99 a month, which is half Netflix charge for their service.
Recently, I have had the fortune to test out the remarkable Lumix S1R. (Check out this blog for more details & have a listen to the Irish Photography Podcast – an evening with the Panasonic S1R)
Of all the camera control apps that I have used, aside from anything made by DJI, this is among the best. It uses Bluetooth to connect, then setups up the WiFi Connection for you. You can see me using the app in this video.
The Panasonic LUMIX Sync application software allows you to operate a Panasonic digital camera supporting Wi-Fi with your smartphone. With it, you can copy images into your smartphone, take pictures from your smartphone by remote control, and do more.
Spotify is life. It is the app that provides the soundtrack to my life. Not much else to say. Never needed to look anywhere else like Tidal or iTunes. Spotify is great. It’s around the £10 a month mark, with some added costs if you want to add users to your account. I use this app more often than any other apps, aside from the normal stuff like Insta, FB etc.
Want to try some of my playlists, try these out and let me know what you think of my music taste in the comments.
My editing and work playlist (when shooting in the studio)
Something a little more chilled
We have the £14.99 account which gives you up to 6 accounts on the one profile. Meaning my self and my partner can both use it at the same time. The TV has a profile as does Alexa. It just brings everything together nicely and only a few bucks more than a single profile at $9.99 a month.
I have an awful memory and not that much of a love for social media, which is why Later is so good for me. Later is the best app for planning your social media agenda and calendar. The bit about Later that works so well is the web-based login. This gives you total control from your computer when you are in the office, then being able to switch to the app when you are out and about. Later will handle your social media accounts by setting up a calendar then pushing your content to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. They have a free version of the smaller folks with support and very cool pro-end features for social media houses and brands. Works best on my iPad, I have not dared to put this on my phone as I think it would not be able to cope very well.
Personally though, having the app on my phone and this list is cheating a little as I mostly do the planning on the later.com website and just monitor the progress using the app. It is available on both fruit and none fruit-based devices.
Adobe’s newish Rush app is amazing, and that’s not something said lightly. Used in conjunction with its big brother Premiere Pro, it can be very powerful and free too. We use it for all our videos that are made ‘on the fly’, we just add in the pre-made intro and outro sequence and trim the clips and export. A really neat feature of the app is that it can publish directly to social media providing all the relevant crops as when they are needed. To sum this app up would say that makes video editing very simple on the go, but still provides enough for a vlogger to be happy. There is no other app that can do what this app does.
Premiere Rush is included with a Premiere Pro Single App plan. There is a Prem Rush Free starter plan which gives you 3 exports to let you test out the app. This link is a good one to have look at if you have questions about system requirements. Editing and rendering full HD footage is a breeze on my iPad mini.
So far the only thing I have not found is a quick way to sync audio together. This would be awesome. The best way round I have found is to make sure there is a location marker placed on to the sound file for both the camera track and audio track. Maybe something like a loud clap or whistle that shows us a clear peak on the histogram.
The reason that the My Cloud app is on this list is that we use the Western Digital Wireless Pro hard drive. This is the app that controls and provides access to the drive. The drive is a WiFi-enabled hard drive with an SD card slot. The drive backs up the SD card with a single touch of a button, or automatically. There is lots of stuff you have access to in the settings so if you want to control every manually, you can do. This then provides access to the files via the My Cloud app or FTP access via the internet or local WiFi. When using Rush, or other editing programs on a tablet-based device you will have to just download the file to the local device. It is super simple and easy to do though.
When I next need to by some HDD’s I will be looking at drives that sync with the system for sure.
This is an app that is used on the iPad mini and my Huawei Phone. Those of us who fly drone will probably know and use this app. It’s one of the ‘Must Have’ apps.
Plan a Safe Operation: AirMap informs pilots of rules they are following or may be violating with each flight plan. Get approved to fly in controlled airspace in seconds with automated airspace authorization.
Connect Your Drone: Fly a DJI drone directly from the AirMap mobile app. Toggle airspace and camera modes for seamless video and image capture with AirMap-powered situational awareness.
Fly with Confidence: Real-time Geofencing, Geo-caging, and Traffic Alerts assist pilots with in-flight conformance to changes in airspace advisories as well as to a planned flight path.
I know this is meant to be a photography-related app article, but I did want to give a shout out to Life 360, and here is why.
Many photographers are happy to go exploring, commonly on their own and for hours on end. We like to go out in the worst weather and often for long periods of time. Having an app like Life 360, give you peace of mind but also your family and loved ones. So, next time you are out storm chasing or hiking, use an app like this to check in with your family. If the worst-case happens, they know where to come to send the folks to help.
SPOT GPS Tracker & messenger
Check out the apps here for both systems
If you’re like me, then apps like Life 360 won’t offer a robust enough solution to being out in the wilds. Step forward SPOT. They specialise in GPS based trackers. Check out the SPOT x for all the bells and whistles.
SPOT X provides 2-way satellite messaging when you’re off the grid or beyond reliable cellular coverage. Connect SPOT X to your smartphone via Bluetooth wireless technology through the SPOT X app to access your contacts and communicate easily with family, friends, or directly with Search & Rescue services in a life-threatening situation. If preferred or when necessary, SPOT X can be used as a standalone communication device. SPOT X has its own dedicated U.S. mobile number, so others can message you directly at any time.
Apps on my “Maybe Queue”
Moment Pro Camera
I have some friends who tour with rock legends Zebrahead. They shoot all the social media, daily videos and capture life on the road using nothing more than a couple of iPhones and this app. I used it super briefly and was very impressed. The only reason I don’t use it is that my actual phone is a pretty low spec when it comes to camera technology, the hardware is just not up to the job.
This is a new app. It is super fun to play about with but not really used it in any meaningful way. If you want to play about adding textures to images on your phones – this is the one to go for I think.
Download App Apple Only
Film Born is a free editing app that helps recreate that magic of film. They have a great website, stunning sample images and the app looks simple to use, amazing. Will be looking into this app in much more detail when I get a chance to upload it and play about. It’s free so, nothing to lose. It also looks like you can get some presets that work in Lightroom. Awesome, just less awesome that it is Apple only…
Download App Apple only
This app, that replaces your normal camera app to help you take photos. It only works on the iPhone from what I can tell but will wait to see if they make a version that I can use with my iPad mini.
Halide is an award-winning camera app listed in Macworld’s “Must-Have Apps,” The Verge’s “Apps We Love,” and picked by The Sweet Setup as “Best Third-Party Camera App for iPhone.” Daring Fireball says, “This sort of maniacal attention to the smallest of details deserves to be celebrated.”
Halide is a groundbreaking app for deliberate and thoughtful photography. With high-end tools, and a beautiful UI designed from scratch for the latest iPhones, Halide is your go-to camera when you want to really take a photo rather than a quick snapshot.
Use gestures in Halide to change exposure and manual focus with a swipe. Halide’s professional tools include focus peaking, histograms, adaptive level grid, manual depth capture, and RAW support on supported phones.* Customize controls to adapt the app to your needs.
The Photographer’s Ephemeris + related apps
These are pretty interesting apps. They aim to helping the photographer select and understand viewpoints, landscapes and generally understand a location. They look extremely well made, with a good level of detail. These might be worth a look for sure. I would love to know who has been using them, drop a note in the comments.
The Photographer’s Ephemeris (TPE) helps you plan outdoor photography shoots in natural light, particularly landscape and urban scenes. It’s a map-centric sun and moon calculator: see how the light will fall on the land, day or night, for any location on earth.
Our premier app for iOS, TPE offers a rich set of planning tools for landscape, cityscape, outdoor, architectural and night photography.
Night mode, Augmented Reality, line-of-sight analysis and visual search support the most sophisticated photo planning needs.
TPE is a universal app with optimized user interfaces for both iPad and iPhone/iPod Touch devices.
Head over to here to check out more this range of apps
Sun Surveyor (Sun & Moon)
A popular and effective app for charting and planning the movements of the Sun & moon. Very helpful if you are looking to get that killer sunrise or sunset shots. Timing is everything, with photography.
Sun Surveyor takes the mystery out of the sunrise, sunset, and moon phases, allowing photographers and filmmakers to scout the best locations, plan effectively, and get the perfect shot.
The Live Camera View, Interactive Map (with Street View), 3D Compass, and detailed Ephemeris provide a wealth of information about the largest natural light source in the galaxy, as well as the moon, and milky way:
– View augmented reality projections of the sun and moon paths, pinpoint the time the sun or moon will be at a particular location in the sky
– Predict and plan for the golden hour, blue hour and every sunrise, sunset, moonrise and moonset
– Prepare night photography shots with the Milky Way & star trail features
If you’re looking to push your DJI drone a little more, why not have a look at KittyHawk. The feature I really want to have a look at is the link back and forth with the Desktop. Planning a flight out via a laptop on a location seems quite appealing somehow.
Kittyhawk makes it easy for companies to manage a drone program that’s safe, compliant and reliable. Whether you’re a pilot out in the field or a manager back in the office, Kittyhawk provides easy to use mobile apps and desktop tools that keep teams flying safe and their data organized. It’s one connected platform to navigate airspace, maintain aircraft and manage aviators.
[update: I have installed this app and it’s great, not yet to fly with it though.]
This app is a top one that I need to check out for sure & making this list will give me a perfect opportunity to do so. PP is available on both android and apple. After looking at the website it seems that PhotoPills helps to remove some of the stress around planning shoots regarding the environment. Check out the website to see what we mean.
PhotoPills is your personal assistant in all photographic matters. It provides tasty remedies to help you answer most of the questions when planning and shooting your creative ideas.
There are quite a few good model release apps for both systems. Model releaser seems to be the pick of the bunch though.
Model Releaser is the most complete and comprehensive model release app that allows you to make a photography model release contracts on the go. Your model can sign their name, you can attach their photo, and a model release in PDF format will be generated… that is its core purpose. But we’ve also included many other helpful tools and resources. Just take a look below for some of the features you won’t find in any other model release app
If you want to have a look at some of the others – the guys & gals over at expertphotography.com made a great list of just these sorts of apps.
I really wish I had found this app before our travels up and down the Wild Atlantic Way. It could have saved a bunch of time trying to work out which mountain was which, I love the fact that it works offline too. Will download on my phone I think.
The mountains are calling! Explore more mountains than any mountaineer! PeakFinder makes it possible… and shows the names of all mountains and peaks with a 360° panorama display. This functions completely offline – and worldwide! PeakFinder knows more than 650’000 peaks – from Mount Everest to the little hill around the corner.
Normally, I would use the standard Google Maps to do any location research needed. Things like checking locations have carparks, or treelines etc. However, if you want to use some of the more enhanced functions, then Google Earth is the one for you.
For one example, I love using it to work out rough travel times & distance.
There are a number of useful weather & environmental apps
These are all very solid weather apps, pretty much all of them are great. I have the ones in bold installed and tend to check them off with each other to create my own idea of the weather. Because they all use the same data sets maybe.
UAV forecast. This app is the app the I feel gives the best information in terms of flying the drone. Because of the simple nature of the app, it gives fast access to the important information, while also, giving a bunch of information about cloud cover, visibility wind speed, and % of rain. (Apple & Android)
Yr Weather (My Pick for Apple & Android)
Weather Live Pro ( also installed on Android)
Dark Sky ( Also installed on Android and iOS)
AccuWeather (Android and iOS)
Weather Underground app (Android and iOS)
A shortlist of other apps that I use across my workflow.
- Android Auto
- Eat Sleep Ride – Motorbike related app
- Touchnote – for making fun postcards
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