First up is TiltShiftGen. This app has got to be one of the most underrated iPhone photography applications in the iTunes store. That’s likely due to how its creators have positioned it… wrongly. Even the name hides the power of this thing. For example, in the all-important iTunes title, the developers call it a “Fake DSLR”, and say it “will allow you to create retro miniature pictures”. Sorry guys, but this application does SO much more than create fake miniature pictures. In short, TiltShiftGen has become my go-to application for creating the “look” I like from my iPhone pics. Now I’m admittedly fickle when it comes to apps on my iPhone — some sexy new number might show up tomorrow and catch my eye. But for now, I’m completely in love with this one. But why?
Well, for starters I’m a HUGE fan of shallow depth-of-field, saturation, vignetting, you know… that sort of stuff. The user interface, features, and speed of this application allow me to create some pretty cool effects very quickly, and just using my thumb. Take the above image for example. It’s a simple shot of a Japanese garden taken at Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, CA. With about four quick corrections (Blur, Saturation/Contrast, and Vignetting). The image went from “oh nice”, to “oh my!”.
For $0.99, I don’t think this is an application you can afford NOT to purchase.
Second on my list is PhotoGene. This app is my “Swiss Army Knife” of iPhone Photography. It’s kind of like Photoshop on the iPhone — you know what Adobe’s Photoshop iPhone app should’ve been. Complete with cropping, saturation, rotation, sharpening, borders and more. The power of this app becomes clear the first time you see a histogram on your iPhone with shadow, midtone, highlight sliders. Most of what I need for basic on-the-go pixel pushing is tucked neatly in this application. There are a few features I’d love to have, like some sort of rudimentary cloning tool, and more control over the size of borders, etc. But for my measly $2.99, I’ve already gotten WAY more than my money’s worth out of this application.
It’s the camera you have with you.
Photographers like Chase Jarvis were early to recognize what a game-changer having a decent camera with you at all times is. But the iPhone camera is so much more than just a camera. Not only do you have a camera with you, but one with photo-manipulation software and a way to share your creations. All of this wrapped up in one pocket-sized package.
So celebrate the restrictions, and the new capabilities of this new kind of image-making. In future posts I’ll go into detail on my other iPhone apps, and how I use them. In the meantime, post your favorite iPhone apps in the comments, and please check out a few of my iPhone pics on Flickr.