photo1There are 4.5 billion mobile phone subscribers across the world today. That’s billion with a B! If each user only had one device, that would account for approx 78% of the entire world’s population. In the United States alone, there are 321 million mobile device subscribers. That’s a lot of mobile devices.

Something like 52% of people who own a mobile device use that device as their primary tool for taking photographs. A little over 20% of these users also use their mobile device as their primary tool for capturing video.

So much of the population of our country and our planet have instant access to capture photographs and videos at simply a moments notice. These multimedia products have become the pen and paper of our time. Photographs and videos are quickly becoming ubiquitous in places that they never were before. With classrooms being wired with interactive whiteboards, AppleTVs, and 1:1 student solutions, photographs and video are quickly becoming the preferred medium for presentation and content creation.

“Education is evolving… We cannot teach our students in the same manner in which we were taught. Change is necessary to engage students not in the curriculum we are responsible for teaching, but in school. Period.” – April Chamberlain

So with all of that being said, I wanted to pass along a brief list of tools and apps that I feel need to be a part of everybody’s photo/video toolkit. This is not a list necessarily designed for just educators or students, but everyone who wants to use videos and photographs in their lives.

Remember that iOS apps (or apps for any other mobile device) are different than apps on your computer. Mobile device apps normally specialize in just one feature or action. They do one thing, and (hopefully) they do it really well. That’s why I have an iOS photography toolbox that consists of a number of apps where on my computer I basically stick to 2 different tools. I use a separate app for editing images, than for capturing them. I use yet another app to share the final products.

No matter who you are; student, teacher, businessman, parent, etc, you should look at having the tools below available to you at all times. These are the things that you should be able to DO at any time.  Which specific tools you choose to use is up to you. But I have identified my favorites below.

Everyone should be able to do the following without having to stop and download an app…

  • capture and edit images
  • capture and edit video
  • Combine images into a collage
  • Add text and graphics to an image
  • Scan a QR code
  • Capture the text from a document
  • Share your images and video projects

IMG_1799My favorite tools for accomplishing what I need to, photographically, are:
Camera – I really like the native Camera application on the iPhone and iPad. It works pretty well in low light, shoots fairly quickly, and is quick to open. You can lock the focus and exposure, record images and video, and even use your earbud microphone as a shutter release cable.

Snapseed – Easily the photography app that I recommend the most. Snapseed is the Photoshop of the iOS world. In terms of image editing, everything that I have wanted to do, can be accomplished with this free app. With Snapseed you can edit the entire image, or just a part of the image using the selective adjust tools. There are a number of really nice filters included in the app as well as some fairly standard frames for the images.

iMovie is my app of choice for editing videos on my iOS devices. For the $4.99 price tag, i feel like you cant find a better, easier editing experience. My favorite part of iMovie is the trailers, which are prepackaged projects which you simply put your video and text into and the app produces a sleek, professional-looking movie trailer. It is also very easy to share video projects to a variety of sources from the app.

Instagram is how I share my images. This free app allows you to share your images with a HUGE community (100+ million) and even add filters and a few special effects to the images. It will also post your images to your Twitter and Facebook feeds.

PhotoCollage does just what you think it would. It will collage up to 5 images together using a variety of layouts. Then you can export you completed image to the camera roll or a variety of other places/services. There is not an option to add text though, for that I use the app InstraFrame.

i-nigma is an app for scanning QR codes. There are a lot of apps that do the same thing out there, but I prefer to use i-nigma for one reason… it is fast. This is by far the fastest QR reader that I have used, and I have experimented with a number of them.

LeadTools OCR – This is an OCR app. (Optical Character Recognition). That means that I can take a photograph of a textbook page and the app will putt all of the text out, for me to edit and then paste into something else or share. This app is a little basic, but I find that it works well. I especially like it because it has both an iPhone and iPad version.

LeafSnap is one of those free apps that I have simply because it blows my mind! I don’t use it often, but when I do, anyone that I show it to who is not already familiar with the app is amazed. Leafsnap will take a photograph of a leaf from a tree and then identify the type of tree for you. It gives you information about the species, and will even let you tag the tree on a map to visit again later.

MotionPics – This fun little guy creates timelapse videos from still images. Simply open the app and select how many images you want to take and at what duration (how long between each image) and then start. The apps puts the images together into a movie and exports to your camera roll so that you can easily share the video or use in with another app.

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One thought on “Expanding your mobile device photography

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