top 5 best iphone photo apps

I get separation anxiety when I’m away from my iPhone for an extended amount of time.  It is in essence, my office.  More than that, it is my day-to-day camera.  While I love my DSLR for portraits, the clunkiness and weight of the camera deters me from bringing it out for anything other than photoshoots.

Here are my Top 5 iPhone photo apps of 2014, rated based on ease of use, functionality, and how happy it makes me feel.

Disclaimer: this is clearly not an objective list.


Cost: Free (with in-app purchases)

If I could only have one photo app on my phone, it would be this one.  It’s slick, fast, and has gorgeous filters.  It can take multiple photos in quick succession, and it works off an internal library system  so it’s not necessary to leave the app to take or edit photos.  This speeds up workflow considerably, and it frees you up to save only your best onto Camera Roll.

Another reason I like VSCO Cam is because I have a ton of control over how the photo turns out after I apply the filters.  I’m able to adjust the exposure after the fact, tweak the temperature coloration, change the depth of the shadows and highlights.  It also allows me to micro-align the photos so that my lines are straight.


Another good app for editing is Snapseed, which also has a ton of control, but it’s not great for taking photos.  It’s made with editing in mind, not photo taking, which means I hardly use it compare to VSCO Cam.


Cost: $2.99 (it used to be $5, so a bargain really)

If you’ve ever had to take photos on a day when you forgot to put your makeup on and you’re breaking out like crazy, this app will save you.  Here’s a quick edit I did in Facetune using one of their example photos provided with the app.  It’s incredible how easy it is to use.  Seriously, who needs photoshop when you’ve got apps like this at your fingertips.

before and after facetune


Cost: $2.99

This app can transform your photos into watercolor paintings.  If your friends don’t know about it, they might even think it’s you who painted it.  Rather fun right?

The results are hit or miss with portraits, but it does a rather good job with landscapes.

Here’s one I made just yesterday.

Cardif Castle Painted in Waterlogue


Cost: $.99 cents (with in-app purchases available)

If you want to intentionally make your photo more grungy, vintage, and hipster, Afterlight is the right app for you.  The advantage and disadvantage of this app are the same: there are way too many options.  Every time I use this app, I spend more time tinkering than editing.

I think the creators of this app could easily do away with half its filter.  I would actually use the app more if I could easily identify which filters are the best ones.

For it’s cost and capabilities though, I think it’s one of the better photo apps.

Afterlight App Review


Cost: Free

Those of you who use Instagram know how frustrating it is when a photo just doesn’t fit the square format.  Before this app came out, I had to go into Photoshop to manually add borders.  This took way too much time, and it decreased my motivation to post on Instagram.

Whitagram made it super easy to load the photos and convert it to a square.  There are many apps of this kind, but I still go back to Whitagram because of its simplicity.

whiteagram app review


On Instagram, I ask my followers to guess what sort of of light I used with this photo below.

The answer is the iPhone flashlight. While I was traveling in NY, I did a session with my friend Grace Weber. Normally I would be using my Westcott Ice Light, but since I had planned on traveling for an extend amount of time, I didn’t want to lug around my lighting. I used what was most available to me, my husband and his iPhone. 😛 Now normally, flashlights tend to give off a green or orange hue, but since I intended this photo to be black and white, I didn’t really care. It was only after I converted this photo back to color that I realized it looked pretty great in color as well.

So there you have it, the iPhone flashlight is perfectly capable of lighting up a scene if you need it. Congrats to @lamp_head003 for being the first to guess it correctly.

Top 5 Photo Apps of 2014

June 7, 2014

Ling Wang