We are new to using our iPhone for photographs. We only just bought the new iPhone 4s before leaving on our trip to Europe and we have been learning and testing as we go.

Lucky for us, we had the chance to hang out with iPhone photographer extraordinaire, Kirsten Alana while staying at our apartment in Rome with HouseTrip and she shared a lot of her expertise with us. We’ve been playing around with apps and learning how to use a few of them and I really wanted to share what we’ve figured out.

It’s a Whole New World!

I cannot believe the things you can do with an iPhone. We’re taking photos that we never thought possible and are having a blast doing it. It’s finally fun to upload our shots to the Internet and share them with our network we aren’t embarrassed anymore. We have joined the cool kids and now take fun and interesting photographs. So let’s look at what we’ve learned so far.



Photo of the Colosseum with Instagram App

We started using this app last year when Sherry Ott of Ottsworld introduced us to it during the Mongol Rally and have only just started using it regularly.
How it works – Go to the instagram app and either take a photo with your iPhone or choose a photo from your library to share. Then choose a filter of your choice, write a comment to go along with it and choose the social network you want to share it with. (you can hook up your social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Four Square and flickr) It will automatically go up on Instagram and your friends and family will be amazed with your photography skills.

Follow us on Instagram and let’s start sharing photos we’re ThePlanetD


diptic app-1

Kirsten Alana at Gladiator School with Diptic

This is a very cool app that we were introduced to by another iPhone uber-expert Jen Pollack Bianco. Diptic allows you to combine several photos into a very cool collage. You can choose the amount of photos you want in the image, what way you’d like them to go – horizontal or vertical and choose the type and width of border you want. If you have a photo series that you want to share, it’s a great way to show it off.



Snapseed is sort of like photoshop for the iPhone. It is a fun tool that allows you to enhance your photos and make them pop out of the computer. You can either take a photo or choose one from your iPhone’s library and then turn your snapshot into a masterpiece.

Tools: you can crop, sharpen an entire image or just a specific location, make a photo black and white, add filters and effects such as vintage or grunge, put frames around he photo and adjust the width. You can straighten your image and even use selective focus.  Get creative and have some fun!



HDR has been hot these days and now you can do it on your iPhone. The app will automatically take two photos for you at two different exposures. (You can also have it set to automatic and just tap the screen and the camera will do everything for you or you can put it on manual mode and select the areas you want the camera to focus on) It then combines the two photos taken at different exposures. You can then adjust the brightness, contrast, saturation, warmth and tint, It almost makes your photograph look like a painting. What I also love is how you can write text on the photo, put a border of choice around the photo and turn it into a post card. Yes, I’m having fun with Pro HDR


Camera Awesome

This app by SmugMug does exactly what it says; it makes your photos awesome with the awesomize app. You can choose from different filters, textures, effects and frames. Camera Awesome does a lot of what instagram does, but it gives you a wider range of choice and you can crop, flip and rotate your photos as well.

What I love is the image stabilizer that steadies the camera while taking a photo in low light.

You can select focus on an object after the photo is taken and change your exposures.

You can do so many things with the apps mentioned above. Each of them has their benefits and we’ve been using them all for different occasions. The one draw back we find is that the apps suck our battery life. However, there is an extra battery pack that you can buy that we’ll be ordering when we get home. We also learned another trick by National Geographic photographer Ken Kaminesky  (yes, I had to throw that in, I know a National Geographic photographer) about getting a mount for the iphone so that you can put in on a tripod or an extender to take photographs of yourself!

In a few weeks, I may have to do a follow up post about all the extra gadgets you can buy for the iPhone. I think I’m converted. It’s iPhone photos for me!

Final Thoughts

There are other apps that we are just starting to play around with like Photosynth which I am loving on the iPhone, but don’t have a clue how to upload onto my computer since we use a mac and it is a microsoft program. We have some awesome 3D images from the Vatican that are so far only being used for our viewing pleasure. We’ve also been playing around with PhotoBox allows us to bulk upload to facebook add photo effects to your pictures.

We’ve only just scratched the surface as to what you can do with iPhone photography and there are several other apps out there as well.

Do you have a favourite iPhone photo app that you’d like to share? 

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Leave a comment


  1. Ayngelina

    Ooh love your recommendations, I have all of these but I haven’t gotten past Camera+ I still really like it for basic photos.

    1. debndave Post author

      We are so far behind everyone when it comes to iPhone photography. This is a whole new world for us. We’ve seen Camera + as well. Good to know you like it. Cheers.

  2. John

    I’m amazed that you can do HDR photography on an iPhone – the phone cameras have come such a long way. Pretty soon that’s all Dave will be using, right? :)

    1. debndave Post author

      We’ve been joking about that. Dave is carrying around all his heavy camera gear and I’m snapping away with my iPhone. All the accessories for it even fit in my pocket. I watched Kirsten pull out a wide angle lens from her pocket! It’s awesome.

    1. debndave Post author

      Awesome, I’m glad that we could give you some new ones. People like Kirsten and Ken and Ayngelina (who has them all also) already know about all these apps, but for people like us who are just getting into it, it’s all new and fun. I think that more people are like us, just finding out what the possibilities are in iphoneography.

  3. Lane

    We’re tinkering with Instagram via our iPad. Our photos lack any clarity, very disappointing. Maybe cell phones work better with this app?

  4. melvin

    I would have loved that post even more, if it wouldn’t just be focused on iphone apps, but on smartphones… Apple got some great products, but the company’s politics are so un-social. :(

    1. debndave Post author

      Hi Melvin, we only use the iPhone so I can’t comment on smart phone apps. You’ll have to share a post for smart phones and then the two can complement each other. What do you say?

  5. Simon

    I’m like an eternal child, and love to play with i-Phone apps.

    I’m not a big fan of Instagram any more for processing photos, while it find it great for sharing pics that I’ve processed with other apps. I use a lot Camera+ (which I consider the most comprehensive one), PS Express (that’s a basic photoshop for i-Phone) and Filterstrom (which allows a lot of options and is the most similar to what you would do with a computer).

    Not a photo processing app, but I find very useful Photosync, to synchronize your pics on pc, laptop and i-Pad via Bluetooth.

    Have fun with your i-Phone!

    1. debndave Post author

      Hi Simon, thanks for the recommendations. Yes, Instagram is the best for sharing, but definitely not the best for processing. PS Express or Filterstrom. Fantastico! and thank you, we are having a lot of fun with the iPhone.

  6. Sarah Lee

    Huge fan of iphoneography and having lots of fun with it at the moment. New fave apps: Hipstamatic (hat tip to gladiator Kirstin Alana for that one), Power Cam and Lo-Mob for some vintage filters.
    Glad you guys are converted now too – looking forward to seeing what you do with it!

    1. debndave Post author

      Oh yeah, we heard about Hipstamatic (probably from Kirsten) we forgot to download it, so we’ll be getting that soon. Thanks for the recommendations for the others, we’ll check them out!

  7. Wftristan

    I do a lot of iphoneography and there is a new Kid on the Block….. look up 645Pro in the appstore !
    amazing app – more control (almost fully manual) brilliant in almost every way


  8. Larissa

    Ooooh I’ve got a ton! PictureShow has been a staple of mine along with Camera +. FX Photo Studio, CameraBag, Dynamic Light, and Pixlromatic, just to name a few :) Cool that you guys are getting into this form of photography. Just started following you on Instagram – really looking forward to watching your feed!

  9. Laurel

    I have some of these but not all, will have to check them out. I’m with Ayngelina, I love Camera+ and use if for most of my photos. Somewhat related is Postino, an app that lets you turn your photos into postcards and send them either via email (free) or by mail )charge) directly from your iPhone.

  10. Gavin Harvey

    Thanks for all of these handy recommendations! My iPhone could never replace my normal camera entirely, but it’s great for those times when taking a camera just seems like too much hassle. I’ve never even thought about using something other than Instagram.

  11. Leyla

    This is the perfect post for me today! I unwrapped my brand new first ever iPhone a couple of days ago and having now figured out how to get emails and take a photo, I’m going to become very dangerous as I experiment with all these cool apps. Great thing is you don’t even need a WIFI connection to use them so I can be stranded on a train or bus (happens depressingly often) and this will keep me busy. Love the suggestions!

    1. debndave Post author

      So Glad we could help Leyla, you are going to love your iPhone. It’s going to change your life while traveling. We have so much fun sharing photographs through Instagram. Enjoy and let us know how it goes.

  12. Natalie T.

    Great post! I like the examples. :) Frametastic is another alternative to Diptic. I’ll have to try Snapseed. Of course, I’m obsessed with Camera +!

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  14. Ralph Velasco

    All wonderful suggestions…I especially love Instagram and Snapseed, and I just downloaded Diptic, looks great. I might be a bit biased, but I also enjoy using My Shot Lists for Travel (http://www.myshotlists.com), an app that I created to help travelers of all photography skill levels to bring home a more well-rounded portfolio of images of any destination or subject, one that truly captures the essence of a place. As a photography instructor I like to help people to go beyond the “postcard” shots.

    1. debndave Post author

      Thanks for the suggestion Ralph, I’ll check out MyShotlits for sure. We’re always looking for new apps and love your stuff, so it must be great!

  15. Nikka | Two2Travel

    Good read! You can also try Hipstamatic & Pudding Cam for vintage shots. Love Snapseed too, it’s the only one I use for filter-less editing. If you’re into putting text into your photos, try Phonto & Phoster, both are really good. PicBlender for blending two photos together, and Lens+ if you want to take videos with built-in filters. :) Happy shooting!

  16. Paul Krol

    Every time I use my iPhone4S for photos I run them through the VSCOcam app. Then Snapseed for some slight modifications like straightening, WB (white balance) and then finally Instagram.

  17. Heaton

    These are great! I’ve used Instagram periodically, but no Pro HDR. I saw someone taking pictures that looked like paintings, and hoped to find the app for a while. Thanks for finding out for me!

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  19. Reena @ Wanderplex

    Very cool. I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface when it comes to photography apps, but I’m definitely on the lookout for good ones now. I feel like they make my photo skills look so much better than they really are!

  20. Forest Parks

    I love Snapseed but also a great app is Camera+ which allows you to separate exposure and focus which can be very handy when snapping photos.

    I love my iphone.

  21. Britany

    I recently bought a new camera but still find myself using my iPhone pretty frequently. Its just so convenient and it doesn’t call attention to you (in places that you might not want to call attention to yourself) like a big camera might. Hadn’t heard of most of these apps though so thank you!!

  22. Mike

    I am a little embarrased to say, but I am an Iphone convert. I had a blackberry for 10 years, went from that to an Iphone 5. Holy cow! It was like going from a covered wagon to a Ferrari. Loving it. Great post.

    1. debndave Post author

      With Snapseed, you can do a lot more editing than simply adding filters. It’s great to start with snapseed and then send the photo to instagram.

  23. GRRRLTRAVELER | Christine

    I like the Pro HD app. I have a iPod Touch and the resolution is just crap but I like the way that app punches everything up. I tinker a lot with instaframes but really, I wish there were just a multi-purpose app out there because I feel like I need to go to different apps either to get a sharpen feature, to resize a frame so my photo fits in it, etc… Nuts.

    1. debndave Post author

      Very true Christine. One thing we are finding lately is that Instagram takes so long to do. I like Twitter and facebook because it is simple and easy. Instagram, can take about 10 minutes to do right. between editing the photo, playing around with apps, adding frames, text and tags….It’s become and ordeal to post. One multi-purpose app would be awesome.

  24. Lis

    I also love camera+, if you find a way to make it the default iPhone camera that would be awesome.

    I use instacollage, which seems very similar to Diptic, but I love the collage idea, so am going to download Diptic to see which I prefer.

    A couple of other fun, 360, camera apps are Dermander (DMD) and 360. These two apps let you take a photo from every angle…fun to look at later. However, I haven’t quite ironed out the best way to share this with people that don’t have the app.

  25. Liz

    We love the iPhone!!!!!

    Thanks for the advice on Apps.

    What do you think of the film quality on the iPhone. Personally I think it is brillant, and now that you have Vine, shorter clips means less drain on the battery.

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