We scoured multiple Android app stores to find the ultimate photography apps for shooting, editing, and sharing pictures. Here are the nine apps we tested that every photographer should have.
The Best Apps the App Stores Offer
Most new Android phones these days have a 5- or 8-megapixel camera, as well as a handful of advanced features and settings. And unlike Apple’s iPhone, many Android phones allow you to tweak basic camera settings–such as the white balance and exposure value–so you can get some really great photos out of them.
The iPhone App Store still has the advantage in photo apps, however–and it’s a shame, really.
Thankfully, the number of Android camera apps is growing. A few successful iOS camera apps have migrated over to the Google side, as well. But beware: You’ll run across a lot of duds and cheap knockoffs that aren’t worth your 99 cents. Luckily for you, we scoured the Android Market (as well as other Android app stores), tested as many photo apps as we could, and selected the very best for your buck.
Lightbox Photos: Filters, Instant Photo Upload, and Social Networking
Lightbox is Android’s answer to the Instagram app for the iPhone, and it’s one of my favorite apps in the Android Market. When you first install the app, it will require you to sign up for a Lightbox account; after a few simple steps, you’re ready to start snapping pictures. Take a picture, and like magic it automatically uploads to your Lightbox online account. (Yep, it pretty much does what iCloud will do for the iPhone in iOS 5.) After you take some photos with the app, you’ll be able to access them easily from your tablet as well as your PC. You can add filters to your photos, à la RetroCam or Magic Hour, though the filters are a bit limited. Lightbox also has excellent social networking features: Not only can you share directly to Facebook, Foursquare, and Twitter, but photobloggers will also love the ability to upload directly to Tumblr. Maybe the best thing about Lightbox is that it doesn’t require an Internet connection or a cell signal to use–you can still snap photos, and it will sync up everything you captured once you’re connected again.
Pocketbooth: Photo-Booth Snapshots
Although the Android Market has a few photo-booth apps, you have to look elsewhere to grab Pocketbooth, the best of the bunch. Pocketbooth, which is wildly popular for the iPhone 4, is available in the Amazon App Store, not in the Android Market. Unlike other similar apps, Pocketbooth uses your phone’s front-facing camera so that you can see how you look before you start snapping the photos. Once you’ve checked your teeth and patted down your hair, you just press the start button, and the app will snap four consecutive shots. The app’s user interface smartly mimics a retro photo booth, with a light sea-green frame and wood paneling surrounding the camera viewfinder. Then, when your photos are done, you retrieve them at the “slot dispenser” on the next screen. From there, you can send your photo strip via email or MMS, or post the pics to Facebook or Twitter. You also get a small variety of retro filters to pick from, and you can adjust the border color, the strip size, and the time between shots to your liking. It’s almost as fun as being in an actual photo booth.
HDR Camera: More Definition and Details
The iPhone 4 has HDR, so why can’t your Android phone? Out of all of the HDR (high dynamic range) apps we tested, HDR Camera by Almalence is the best. Such apps allow for a greater dynamic range between the lightest and darkest areas in an image; for daylight photos, that means more definition in shadows and sharper details in light areas. Sometimes, HDR can look a little cartoonish or unnatural if done poorly. But HDR Camera uses “fusion algorithms,” which compensate for shaky hands–a common problem with phone cameras. The software also detects moving objects in the scene, so you won’t get any blurring or ghosting artifacts. HDR Camera is tailored for mobile phones, so it can process the image quickly without bogging down your handset. A Pro version of HDR Camera, available for $3, gives you more control over contrast, color vividness, exposure, and more.
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