I began my journalism career as a photojournalist in 1989, shooting black and white film. Each day I shot and processed rolls of Kodak’s famed Tri-X. I couldn’t imagine photography getting any better than that…and then it did.
Any good photographer will tell you, your best camera is the one you have with you. And so it is with me, I always have my iPhone 4 in my pocket.
When I first purchased my iPhone I used the free and pre-installed Apple camera app. It does a fine job of capturing both still and video images. Its a bit slow and doesn’t give the photographer much control over the image.
My first camera app purchase was Camera+ by Tap, Tap, Tap. If you are going to download one paid camera app, it should be this one. Camera+ allows you to pick a focus point and a separate exposure point.
Camera+ also allows you to shoot in burst mode, firing image after image like a DSLR with a motor drive. The burst images are lower quality but allow you to capture action more effectively.
Basic picture editing and adjustments are included in the app. The cost of the app is $1.99.
I am also a fan of the Hipstamatic app, which makes your digital images look analog.
From the Apple Store, “The Hipstamatic brings back the look, feel, unpredictable beauty, and fun of plastic toy cameras of the past! The Hipstamatic keeps the the quirks of shooting old school but gives you the ability to swap lenses, film, and flash settings all with the swipe of a finger.”
Some of the lens and film choices remind me of my first camera, a plastic Kodak that produced square images. Beyond the look of Hipstamatic prints is the ability to share on Twitter and Facebook.
Damon Winter, a photojournalist at the New York Times recently won third place for feature picture story in the Pictures of the Year International. Winter used his iPhone 4 and the Hipstamatic app to capture images from the field in Afghanistan. The images are compelling but have also raised questions about the use of apps for photojournalism. Judge for yourself, you can see the images on the NYT Lens blog and read Winter’s account.
The third app I’ll recommend is an editing app, Filterstorm 2. Filterstorm gives you the ability to adjust the levels in your images and even has a history brush option much like Adobe Photoshop which sells for $600. You can adjust curves, color correct and even reduce noise in an image.
The single feature that sets Filterstorm apart from other editing apps is the ability to attach IPTC information to an image. IPTC information or International Press Telecommunications Council information is metadata that can be attached to text, images, audio and video files.
In other words, you can attach a caption to the image. This is a crucial feature for photojournalists who use the iPhone to shoot and edit images.
Filterstorm also allows users to send images directly from the app to an FTP site. Photojournalists like this because they can file pictures from their phone directly into their newsroom’s archive system which nearly always uses an FTP server. FTP or File Transfer Protocol is a network protocol that is used to copy files from a laptop or iPhone onto a host server.
Filterstorm is currently $3.99 in the Apple App store.Share