HedgeCam 2 | Android
For complete control over what your smartphone cameras capture, you need to get acquainted with its Pro/Manual mode. But many of us don’t find ourselves navigating within the camera app to find those settings, and this is where HedgeCam 2 comes in.
This open-source tool brings all the controls you need to your fingertips to help you click pictures that are simply not possible with point-and-shoot cameras.
Its interface gives you quick access to the flash settings, battery levels, auto and manual modes, advanced selfie settings (by a timer, face recognition, or voice commands), ISO levels, HDR (High Dynamic Range) and DRO (Dynamic Range Optimisation) photo modes, exposure bracketing, burst mode, noise reduction, camera resolution, composition grid, white balance, preset scene modes for different kinds of light settings, and even colour effects.
You get automatic image alignment based on your device’s accelerometer so your photos are always in sync with the horizon. Plus, there is a composition guide that comes with guide grids and the “Golden Ratio” onscreen overlay to help you capture perfect frames.
Besides, HedgeCam 2 is highly customisable to give you complete control over its GUI, image previews, and it even lets you assign hardware keys for separate functions.
Open Camera | Android
If you find HedgeCam 2’s interface too overwhelming, you might want to try the Open Camera app. It gives you similar features, but with a user interface that seems less cluttered and more polished.
Ultimately, whichever app you choose, boils down to personal preference; regardless, they will make a huge difference to the quality of your photographs.
Snapseed | Android, iOS
Snapseed is one of the best photo editors developed for smartphones. This 100% free app packs fantastic post-production features to help you enhance your snapshots—whether JPG or RAW—before you print or share them on your social media accounts.
With Snapseed, you can adjust exposure and colour of your images; accentuate surface structures for more details; crop, rotate and add perspective to your pictures; adjust the colours, retouch exposure, saturation, brightness and warmth; use the healing tool to get rid of blemishes; create dark or light vignettes; add a Bokeh to portraits for better depth; boost details in the shadows, mid-tones and highlights; create HDR images; apply filters such as Drama, Grunge, Grainy Film, Vintage and Noir; add frames with adjustable size; blend two photos to create double-exposure images; enhance faces in portraits by adding focus to the eyes, lighting-up the face, and even correcting head pose in portraits.
The possibilities with Snapseed are limitless, and you will also find many tutorials on the web to help you elevate your photography post-production from the mundane to the sublime.
Hypocam | Android, iOS
While Snapseed is a great “digital studio” for almost any type of photography, you might want to consider Hypocam for your B&W snapshots.
You can shoot photos from within the app for a live view of your frame after adjusting for exposure, contrast, and colour channels. Hypocam sets you up with a few free B&W filters and textures—which you can apply to a frame before you capture it—and you also get the option to buy newer ones to add to your collection.
Alternatively, you can import images from your camera gallery into Hypocam for editing. Here, the app lets you apply filters, and use a slider interface to fine-tune your image’s exposure, contrast, fade, vignette and highlights.
You also get options to crop and rotate your shot, select a colour channel, choose between different types of grain that mimic film photography, and much more. If you seek the drama and starkness of B&W photography, you will do well to consider Hypocam.
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom
Adobe has been the premier brand when it comes to photo-editing, and it now brings its expertise to your handset with Lightroom.
On its main screen, under ‘Library’, you will find all the photos you have imported into the app; ‘Learn’ is where you will find interactive tutorials divided into categories such as Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced, and ‘Discover’ is where you can see photos shared by Lightroom users, along with the steps that they have used to edit those pictures. You can not only view those photographs but also save their ‘edit actions’ as ‘presets’ to use in your own pictures.
Besides, the app comes with tools to crop your images, apply colour profiles, auto-edit pictures; adjust exposure, contrast, highlights and shadows; fine-tune colour temperature, tint, vibrancy and saturation, apply effects like vignette, textures; sharpen details and even auto-correct image distortion.
You can also shoot pictures from within the app using its camera option; this lets you choose exposure, timer, instant presets, the RAW format, and you also get capture modes such as Professional and HDR.
All in all, a feature-rich package, but one that also teaches you the basics of image editing.