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First there was the wheel, followed by sliced bread, then came along the the smart phone (iPhone for me). Outside of being able to pretty much do everything but slice bread, it is a capable camera and creative tool. Here are a couple of reasons why I think so highly of the iPhone (read smart phone).

Looking to learn about iPhone Photography? Check out my Complete iPhone Photography Tutorial.

  • Convenience – Other than the times I misplace it, I normally have it with me all the time. No excuses for missing a creative moment.
  • Distribution – Many photo apps come with features that allow you to quickly share your creations with friends and family. Or, for the Kutcher’s, a combined 7,692,881 (at time of publishing) Twitter followers. Just think, until 1915, mass communication was limited to a loud voice. Long range mass communication was limited to smoke signals. The Kutcher’s have really changed the world (for those serious types, this was a sarcastic misplacement of credit).
  • Creative Exercise– If you have read the six steps I follow to improving my own photography, you will know that I believe that the instant feedback you get from digital photography is one of the most valuable learning tools a photographer can leverage. Another piece of the equation is knowing the capabilities of your software. These two aspects of digital photography used to be separated by a drive home and a download. However, with the advent of the smart phone, you can combine these two creative exercises at the point of capture.

My Challenge – Sure, not everyone has a smart phone, but I bet more people have smart phones than full DSLR kits. That being the case, is all about sharing inspiration through photography and the iPhone has helped to remove yet another barrier between you and your own creative vision.So go out, download some apps, and share your images of the world, with the world!

You can follow my iPhoneography in real time here:

Here is a list of iPhone apps that I am currently using. I will update the list as I update my iPhone, so check back. Just click the iTunes icon next to each one to find it in the App Store.

  • Instagram - Burbn, Get it and create and account! It is totally free. It is like twitter for your camera. Not only can you quickly share photos, you can follow your friends and favorite photographers. Heck, you can even follow me. Just search for JustinBalog and click the follow button.
  • PhotoTiffen Photo FX – Not only do you get a great group of filters (GNDs, NDs, Polarizers, UV, etc…), you get masks, brushes, and layers. All that for $2.99. You can’t beat it!
  • Best – An app, developed in tandem with Chase Jarvis, that allows you to capture, edit, and share all your images single-handedly. Plus, the online community you get access to is a great way spend some time in a waiting room. I’m photographer #15879 and you can find me here.
  • Adobe Photoshop Express – Yep, there is CS5, Elements, and now Express. The app is free and lets you control global adjustment like contrast, saturation, tint, etc. You can also share your images via your own personal online galleries.
  • TiltShift Tilt Shift Generator – I really can’t get enough of this app. Sometimes I use it to fake bokeh. Or, if you just want to make everything you see appear to be part of your model railroad you can do that too.
  • 100 Cameras in 1 - Stuck In Customs 100 Cameras in 1 This is a great little app. It serves three important purposes. 1) It is a quick 1 stop shop to enhance your images (click, add filter, and your done!). 2) It has international textures. Yep, Trey Ratcliff assembled textures from around the world for this one. 3) I think it is the only app that offers game center capabilities. I haven’t quite figured it out yet, but once I unlock some hidden treasures I will let you know!
  • Pro Pro HDR –You thought HDR photography was limited to a bunch of tripod totin’ photographers? Now it’s available to iPhone totin’ folks like you and me. Just take two images, and let Pro HDR do the rest. Heck, it even prompts you to tap somewhere bright for the first image, and somewhere dark for the second image.
  • Hipstamatic Hipstamatic – Keep it real with a configurable camera that let’s you choose film, lens, and flash types. You can get a fully outfitted kit for under $10.00!
  • Pano Pano- Don’t have a wide enough lens? Let Pano stitch together up to 16 images to capture your latest summer landscaping project. Not only does it stitch, if offers an overlap feature to help line up your images during capture.
  • iTimeLapse iTimeLapse Pro – Now you can shoot and assemble avant-grade ‘still-cinema’ time lapse videos using your iPhone. You don’t even need sequential scenes. You can assemble a movie that spans an entire year. It will even remind you to take a photo!
  • PhotoCalc PhotoCalc – A great pocket utility to calculate flash exposure and DoF. It aslo includes a location based Solar chart. Never miss a sunrise or sunset again!
  • LongTime Long Exposure Calculator – Do you have a 10 stop neutral density filter? If so, you need this. Just plug in your exposure value prior to attaching the 10 stop ND, then scroll to your new time per stop. It is easy to use and frees up your brain creative brain by reducing the math load!

In an attempt to extend the Apple lexicon, I present you my iPhonolio. Below are some of my favorite images, crafted solely by the applications listed above, selected from my weekly iPhone Friday posts.


  1. Justin, as you know I’m on the verge of iPhone acquisition. One of the apps I had on my list was DOF Master, just because I’ve occasionally referred to their on-line DOF calculator. Do you know anything about it and if so how it stacks up to the PhotoCalc you mentioned?

    I’m loving this selection of shots – especially the round building, the espresso machine, and the blurred farm building, and the red chair.

    • I don’t know much about it, actually I you brought it to my attention. Who knows, but I guess making a $1.99 mistake is a bit easier to deal with. I will have to check it out. Also, I grabbed a free Long Exposure calculator today that is great. I will have to post a link to that one as well!

      Thanks for the compliments on the images. Looking forward to see your iPhone work. I bet it is going to be great!

  2. lovemyiphone4S says:

    I was just wondering do you use any types of lenses in your photos? I got a great set of lenses from I got a wide angle, fisheye and macro lens. Do you recommend using lenses or just using the iPhone itself?

    • Howdy!

      I have the same set, and I do use the Macro. However, most of my shots (about 98%) are just a plain old 3Gs. Thanks for stopping hope to see you back here soon!

  3. Hi Justin!

    This may sound like a silly question but I’m going to ask it anyways.
    Is there a difference between shooting with a iPod? I have a friend who has the iPod and the photos don’t look as sharp and clear as her iPhone. She has most of the same apps you have, so I don’t think that is the issue. I have the HTC EVO and the photos aren’t great. The lens got scratched and I’m having trouble finding out how to replace it. I won’t be getting an iPhone until sometime next year, when my contract is up, but I was thinking about getting an iPod. Since you are the iPhone/iPod Photo Guru =) … I thought I would ask your opinion.

    • No silly questions here, I’m glad you asked. However, I wish I had an answer for you. I believe the camera is the same, so I don’t think there is a difference. That being said, I have never shot with an iPod so I couldn’t answer it w/ experience. Sorry I couldn’t be more help.

      Have a great day!


  4. Hi Justin, I would like to know what are your thoughts on the app from visual supply co. called VSCO Cam. Any tips?


    • Howdy! As of now, I haven’t done much with it. I do like the film emulations for my DSLR processing. What about you, do you dig it?

      • Peter Hernandez says:

        Hey Justin

        Lately I’ve been using it quite a while, and I’m very pleased with the results. Its a very simple app but its powerful. You get simple tuning images tools that are very simple and very manageable. The app comes with 10 high quality filters that I prefer calling films because they truely feel like a film. This app has become quite popular on instagram since its release. It has become one of my favorite app and my most used app. I use it because the camera is great and the editing aspect is amazing. Give it try you wont regret it!

  5. Bridget says:

    I have been seeing post on Instagram that was edited with iCamera HDR, it’s no longer available from the Apps store. Do you know of a good replace for iCamera HDR?

Leave a comment, I would love to hear from you