Jon’s Top 10 iPhone Apps for Adventurous Photographers


I have viewed numerous Top 10 iPhone App lists and thought that I should share my personal favorites. Most of the lists that I have read focused on photo related apps. The images and videos that I create with the built-in camera are great for sharing on my social networking sites, but there are several apps which don’t involve taking pictures that are just as integral to my photography.  Here are the apps that I always recommend to other pro photographers & my photo tour clients.

Sun Seeker 3D Sun Seeker – This app is indispensable for my landscape photography.  It costs $2.99 and requires an iPhone 3GS.  I use to carry around a compass and sunrise/sunset tables to figure out where the sun was going to be at a certain time of day or year.  I no longer need to now that I have Sun Seeker.  When I click on the 3D augmented reality camera view it shows me a live view with the current day’s sun track along with the tracks of where the sun would be during the summer and winter solstices.  This app has helped me anticipate many shoots and allerted me to when I needed to come back to a location at a better time of year.

AutoStitch AutoStitch – This photo app is a lot of fun!  It costs $2.99 and is compatible with all iPhone models.  I can take up to 20 side-by-side images and automatically merge them together to make sweeping panoramas.  Depending on how wide I go, I sometimes encounter ghosting edges not lining up, but it is usually renders a very nice pano worth sharing.  It also took me a while to realize that I could auto-crop the edges so that I did not have weird overlapping black sections with missing data.

Photoshop Mobile Photoshop Mobile – This app is FREE.  I only use it to adjust the saturation and sometimes exposure of my iPhone pictures.  I think that it helps liven up my mobile exposures before sharing them.  It has a bunch of other fun functions that I don’t use, but are worth playing around with if you want to explore your creativity.

Tide Graph Tide Graph – If you do any shooting around the ocean, then you are probably familiar with tide tables.  Most fishing and boating stores give them away for free.  I used to carry these tables around with me, but no longer.  For $1.99 I can access the tide table for any location if I have a signal or download them ahead of time if I know that I am going to be out of range.  I really like the graph feature.  By dragging my finger across it, I can see where the tide might be at a particular time of day.

Peaks Peaks – Have you ever been out in the mountains and wondered what the name of that peak was?  Me, too!  This 3D augmented reality app can help.  It costs $2.99 and requires an iPhone 3GS.  I see a live view of the world with the names, heights, and distances of the mountains overlaid on the screen.  I’ve also used it in remote locations without a signal, because the app contains a preloaded data set.

Topo Maps Topo Maps – In the old days, I use to drive down to the local outdoor gear store to buy a topo map of wherever I was going backpacking for the weekend.  I thought that I was so savvy when I bought a CD set of topo maps that I could print out myself.  For $7.99, I can now download all the topo maps that I need for free before heading out.


Priceline Priceline – I do a lot of budget travel for my photography.  I also like to keep my itinerary open so that I can adapt my shooting schedule based on the weather conditions.  I have found the FREE Priceline app to be a great way to secure a deal on last minute lodging.  If you are as flexible as I am, give Priceline a try.

Walmart Walmart – Why do I use the FREE Walmart app?  Whether you frequently shop there or hate what they stand for, Walmart allows RVs to stay for free in their parking lots overnight.  When I am on a big road trip driving long distances and need a place to pull over for the night, with a simple click I can locate the nearest Walmart.  RVs usually cluster in one section of the parking lot, there is a security guard on duty all night, and the parking lot lights are left on, so they offer a safe place to spend the night.

Twitter Twitter – I don’t think that Twitter is for everyone, but if you enjoy using it as much as I do, then you need to tweet from you iPhone.  The app is FREE.  I love how simple it is to share iPhone pictures, videos, & shorten long URLs.

Facebook Facebook – A few years ago, I thought that it was amazing that I could check my email on my cell phone, but now it is just as important for me to keep in touch with friends & fans on Facebook.  The app is FREE.

I would love to read app recommendations from other photographers.  What apps do you find indispensable?


    Nice list. I recommend trying out the app ‘EveryTrail”. You log your trek/hike through gps and it inputs pics and videos along the way that you have taken. So people can see your hike and where you were (exact geo location)when you took the pics/vids. Also scout out an area using other peoples shared hikes. Main page on site shows video intro explaining whole process and can be used with iPhone/blackberry/ android os.

    Thanks for putting this together Jon. I found some equivalent apps for Android, but it looks like the Apple app store still has more options. I just got an HTC Incredible a couple of weeks ago and I’m looking forward to use it out in the field.

    Solid list, Jon. Here are my additions:

    ProHDR: Easy to use HDR that uses 2 existing photos in your library or taken within the app using the camera. I find it generally gives pretty good results and is pretty quick.

    Photogene: Editor for adjusting levels, exposure cropping. Again, fairly easy to use.

    PhotoMarkr: Program for adding a watermark to your iPhone photos.

    MotionX-GPS: I use this to GPS the location of photo locations. You have the ability to assign a photo to the waypoints you capture.

    Some other sunrise/sunset/moonrise/moonset apps:


    MagicHour and..

    FourthDay (what I like about this app is that it specifies the transit time for the moon. Something I haven’t seen in other similar apps).

    Thanks for the recommendations, Steve! I owned Photogene, but replaced it with the FREE Photoshop Mobile app. I’m going to check out PhotoMarkr. That sounds like something I’ve been missing that could further reinforce my branding. I’m intrigued by the moon apps. I currently don’t have anything for the moon, but then again I rarely try to photograph it. Awesome!

    Great suggestions. Chase Jarvis’ “Best Camera” is fun app for photographers as well. The pre-loaded, custom filters are great to use on images loaded to the iPhone via synched iPhoto galleries.

    Certainly a great suggestion, Jim. I’ve recently installed the TweetPress plug-in on my WordPress blog, so that I can host my own mobile images, thus keeping them within my brand and website traffic. I admire what Chase has accomplished. He’s a fellow Seattle-ite and was very generous to me 10 years ago when I was starting out in photography.

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