As a photographer, I use my smartphone all the time. It’s not only my go-to point and shoot camera while traveling, but also my mobile office. I use a variety of apps that allow me to plan, capture, and edit images on the fly.

Because of the wide variety of apps photographers use, I thought I’d share a list of the eight apps I wouldn’t want to live without.

Apps Photographers Use

Apps photographers use: snapseed is the most popular smartphone editing app.

I think it’s easy to break the apps photographers use into three categories: apps used to plan photography shoots, apps used to capture images, and apps used to edit images.

Here are my favourites that I use regularly:

Planning Apps

The Photographers EphemerisTPE is the one-stop app for planning photography shoots. It’s possible to pinpoint any location on a google satelite map and learn the time and angle of pretty much every light source: sunrise, sunset, milky way, moon rise, moon set, etc.

It isn’t free, but considering just how much info it packs into a single app, I’d consider it essential.

SoLuna – As much as I love TPE, it does provide a lot of information. When I am in my shooting location and simply want to know the sunrise, sunset, blue hour, and ttwilight times, I use SoLuna. It’s fast and efficient.

SkyGuideFifth Star Labs’ app is essentially the easy guide to the night sky, which makes astro-photography much easier.

Their description is pretty much perfect, so here it is:

“Sky Guide, there is no fumbling about with confusing star charts, compasses and flashlights. Simply hold it overhead and Sky Guide automatically adjusts to your viewing direction so you can easily identify stars, planets, constellations and more.”

Capture Apps

Camera – I shoot plenty of my iPhone and I almost always use the native Camera app. It does pretty much everything well. Although I have limited experience on an andriod, I’m sure the same is true. Don’t waste money on apps that do less than the native camera app!

Cortex Cam – One camera app I love is Cortex Cam because it performs black magic. It’s actually brilliant at digitally creating a 1-2 second exposure style from a handheld image. Honestly, just spend the couple dollars and photograph the nearest waterfall. You’ll understand immediately.

Editing Apps

Snapseed – I consider  Snapseed the ultimate smartphone editing app. If you take time to explore all it’s features, you’ll love it.

Check out this cool tutorial on iPhone Photography School‘s website to get started!

VSCOVSCO is a popular app, especially for the popular desaturated instagram image style. Although I rarely use it, I think it’s a great way to begin gaining consistency in an editing style. Use it, but be subtle.

Lens Distortion – I’ll add this one just to create some controversy. I’ve only used Lens Distortion on a few instagram stories images, as I’m not a big fan of dramatically enhancing or changing an image. But if you want to add lens flare, fog, or some unique light to an image, this is where you’ll find it!