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Androidography: Photography with your Android Smartphone

Photography has gone a long way since the old days of manual focus lenses and film. Even the smartphones we all own and use every day are now equipped with great optics and relatively good sensors. More often than not, however, your stock camera application just won’t take the photo the way you want it to. Here’s six unique androidography apps that will have your friends saying “Are you sure you didn’t take this with your DSLR?”.

Cameras

Google Camera (Free)

Google Camera is an incredible camera that you most likely already know about. With 3 unique modes – Photo Sphere, Panorama and Lens Blur – you’ll find yourself taking so many photos you might run out of internal storage. The Photo Sphere feature and Panorama work great, but just like most other photo stitching methods, they often make mistakes. The truly impressive part about the app is the Lens Blur option – it allows you to take a photo and then slightly move your phone upwards so that the phone can determine the foreground and background through a simple depth detection method. Expensive DSLR cameras for high quality portraits? No need – Google Camera has got you covered.

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Oh – and did I mention it will also make your selfies appear in much higher quality than they actually are? Check out this amazing sample below:

google camera android androidography photography photos mobile phones android kit kat google before after

With an app like Google Camera you’re sure to score double the amount of likes you usually get on Facebook. And just in case your phone doesn’t support Android 4.4 KitKat – don’t worry! We have another great background blurring app for you in this article so keep reading!

Camera FV-5 Pro ($3.95)

Even if you’re a DSLR owner you probably don’t like lugging around your camera all the time just to make sure you can get “that shot”. Camera FV-5 Pro will give you access to advanced DSLR-like settings on your mobile device that will allow you to truly unleash your creativity. You can get really amazing results with this camera app if you know your way around the exposure triangle and photography in general. White Balance, EV Steps, ISO control and Shutter Priority Mode are just a few of the things you’ll find in FV-5.

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Here’s an example I created of the app’s ability to take Long Exposure photographs. Yes, you will need a tripod or a stable surface, but the end result is really worth the time. With a slightly longer exposure you can kill unwanted shadows, run your artificial light source all around a subject and most of all – increase the likelihood of your phone hitting the perfect WB setting. If you’re not 100% sure whether you want to spend 4$ USD on an app you might not use all the time, get the free version first – you’ll be able to shoot in a low resolution only, but it’s still worth a try.

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Camera ZOOM FX Premium (*$2.99)

Here’s an app that does a lot more than you expect – Camera ZOOM FX is the ultimate all-in-one app. Don’t be fooled by the title – this isn’t a cheesy camera app designed to amplify your digital zoom – in fact, it offers far more useful features than any other app out there. Stable Shot allows you to take photos at the precise moment when your hand isn’t shaking, ensuring you always get the sharpest photos possible, even if your phone doesn’t have OIS. Burst mode also helps when trying to capture the perfect photo, and the other built-in modes, such as Voice Activation and Timelapse will have you experimenting with you mobile photography all day long. And after taking that perfect photo, you’ll be able to share it and even order prints all without ever leaving the app. If any of you are still skeptical, you can try the free version before buying, but at just $3 for such a feature-rich application there’s little chance you’ll end up disappointed.

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Editors

Snapseed (Free)

While I’m not a huge fan of Google’s social network, the app they built for editing the image you upload to G+ is really impressive. With a ton of professional tools and features, Snapseed is pretty much one of the first apps I install upon getting a new phone or doing a clean install of Android. The “Tune Image” options bundle alone is good enough to make major enhancements in your photos. Along with the addition of selective adjustments, filters, frames and more, Snapseed might as well be the one and only photo editor installed on your phone. In terms of built-in sharing, the app offers only Google+ compatibility (obviously), but that’s not to say you can’t save the photo locally and then upload it wherever you want.

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Below is an example of just one of the many different looks you can give to your images using Snapseed. The app is completely free, so go ahead and give it a try – you’ve nothing to lose!

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Pixlr Express (Free)

While Snapseed takes the crown for general photo edits and enchancements, Pixlr is a definite must-have if you want to apply more flexible overlays to your photos. Taking hipster photographs to the next level, Pixlr allows you to apply chemical burns, flares, and tons of other elements to make your photo stand out. That doesn’t mean that the app doesn’t offer standard adjustments though – brightness, contrast, sharpness, vibrance are all present in the app, which means that, just like Snapseed, it can also be your one-and-only editor app. Its nice and tidy interface is also a huge plus, making photo edits faster than ever.

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It’s really amazing what you can do to improve your Androidography with this free app, so don’t hesitate to check it out.

pixlr express editor android photography androidography filters hipster photo edit

AfterFoucs Pro ($1.99)

Don’t have Android 4.4? Still want the great background bokeh effect from Google Camera? AfterFocus Pro to the rescue! If you’ve used Big Lens for iOS, this app will seem really familiar. Simply draw lines around the subject you want in focus and then choose the blur intensity – that’s it! Additionally you can choose between different Bokeh shapes, apply filters, adjust the brightness and contrast of the foreground and background individually, and even apply sharpening before you save your photo. The free version will let you get a glimpse of the app’s capabilities, but keep in mind that edge feathering and high-resolution export are only available in the paid one.

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Here’s a quick before/after to let you get a better idea of what AfterFocus Pro can do for you. At $3 USD, it’s definetely not as fast as Google Camera, but it can be much more flexible and accurate if you take your time when editing.

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So here you are – six apps to take your Androidography to the next level. Any other favorites you have? Tell us down in the comments!

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One Response to Androidography: Photography with your Android Smartphone

  1. Andy S October 25, 2014 at 7:07 pm #

    How about the Arto series? https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.moiggi.arto.oilpainting.free
    Not a photo editor per se but a post-effect app. Very good (sometimes stunning) result.

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