Alessio Michelini Photography

The apps that any photographer should have on their smartphone

05 February 2014

As I said in the past, I’m a Nerd. I make websites for living, and I spent most of my time in front of a computer, I’m a fan of both Star Wars and Star Trek, and I wear funny t-shirts all the time, the only reason I don’t get a degree in nerdyness is the fact that I don’t read comics (but I read plenty of sci-fi books, does it count the same?). And as a nerd with the passion of photography I have my phone, my iPod and my tablet full of apps for photography, some are next to useless, but there are some that are extremely useful, and I decided to make a list of the must-have apps that any photographers should install in their smartphone/tablet.

Tides Near Me

If you are into landscape photography, and if you often go on the seaside to take your pictures, knowing when is the high or the low tide it might be essential, as you can plan ahead where and when to go, but having the low tide, or the high tide in the wrong moment, it could ruins all your plans. This app has a free and a paid version, it doesn’t cost much and apart from the ads it doesn’t have any limitations.
(Google Play | iTunes)

DOF Calculator (Android)

This is possibly the most handy app you can have. If you shoot often in a studio, or even for still photography, knowing how much depth of field you have with specific settings is fundamental. I used it many times for my portraits, when I wanted to have just the head of my subject in focus while the rest had to be out of focus, or even to calculate the hyperfocal distance for my landscape stuff. It’s as simple as it is useful, and I have it on all of my devices.
(Google Play)

Depth Of Field Calculator (IOS)
This app does the same thing of DOF Calculator, but it’s for IOS, I had it on my iPod (before my girlfriend decided to wash it in the washing machine) and it’s as great as the Android one.

Sundroid (Android only)

If you have seen my landscape and cityscape photos, you have noticed that I’m a big fan of the Golden Hour. It is the best moment of the day to take these sorts of pictures, but I also love it for taking portraits. And knowing when the sun rise or set it’s vital, so I have to recommend this simple app, which has a free and a paid version. The free version it just tells you when the sun and the moon rise and set, while the pro version has more detailed info, it has a sun and moon tracker, and other functions that are handy to know (even though not essential). 
(Google Play)

My Tracks (Android only)

You are travelling around the world, you are visiting places that nobody know and you haven’t a clue where you are and how did you get there? Unless you don’t have a GPS build-in like the Canon 6D, you are pretty screwed. But, if you have a smartphone with you (and most of the times a smartphone as a GPS chip build-in), and you previously downloaded this very hand app, you are back on the track (sorry I couldn’t resist)!
This is possibly one of the less known app made by Google itself, but it’s extremely handy. What you need to do is to start the app and start to record your GPS coordinates, and stop it when you don’t need it anymore. You can save your trips and export them in several formats, as the GPX or KML (this one is used by Google Maps), and once you are at home you just need to load the files in Lightroom (or whatever software you like, they just need to be able to read these files) and the photos will be synched with the GPS coordinates, that’s it! The only thing you have to be sure is to have the clock of your smartphone/tablet and your camera are in sync.
(Google Play)

Google Earth / Google Maps

Maybe these two apps are not the most original, but they are extremely handy when it comes to find new places to photograph. More than once I found new places to photography using these two softwares, places that often are unknown by the most.
(Google Play | iTunes)

MapFactor: GPS Navigation (Android only)

This is the only app that has nothing to do with photography, but if you have to travel abroad and drive in places you never been to, it’s dead handy. You can download the maps offline, and decided if use the Open Street Maps for free, or pay for the TomTom Maps. The Open Street Maps are not perfect, and a couple of times I had to ignore the driving directions as they were completely wrong, but a good 95% of the times they work, and they are free.
(Google Play)