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22 photo apps to supercharge your iPhone camera

There’s an old adage amongst photographers that goes, “The best camera is the one you have with you.” The point being that when the perfect scene pops up, any camera is better than no camera at all. And since most of us carry our smartphones with us everywhere we go, more often than not the best camera we have just so happens to be an iPhone. Moreover, the camera on the newly-launched iPhone 6S and 6S Plus — and those adorning nearly all recent iPhone models — are nearly as powerful or more so as the point-and-shoots of yesteryear, with a massive selection of sophisticated applications that render them even more versatile. Check out this list of our favorite photography apps for iPhone if you want to make the most of your smartphone’s camera, whether you’re looking for a way to shoot, edit, or organize your photos with the touch of your finger and a little intuitiveness.

Related: 13 strange, but helpful camera accessories for your iPhone or Android

Camera+ ($3)

Camera+

Even with the iOS 9 update, Apple’s native iOS camera app is rather anemic when it comes to features. Thankfully, Camera+ provides a wider range of exposure controls and advanced tools such as continuous flash, frontal flash, touch-focus adjustment, 6x digital zoom, a timer, and preset filters. The well-organized interface also makes it a breeze to utilize, whether snapping or sharing shots on social media.

Buy it now from:

iTunes

ProCamera 9 ($5)

ProCamera 9 + HDR

When iOS 8 launched, rather that updating the existing ProCamera app, developer Cocologics decided to go ahead and make an entirely new app. The new app — now optimized for iOS 9 — still sports a minimalist interface, with a host sophisticated features for setting exposure time, tint, ISO sensitivity, and more. It even features a night camera and full-resolution previews in addition to robust exposure control and more than 70 unique filters and effects.

Buy it now from:

iTunes

Pro HDR($2)

Pro HDR

ProHDR is probably one of the most fully-featured apps we’ve encountered in the HDR category. The interface isn’t quite as slick as VividHDR, but it offers you a wider range of control over exposure adjustments and tone-mapping settings. It also features an array of beautiful preset filters for you to use, if you’re into that sort of thing, along with options for digitally zooming, cropping, captioning, and setting a self timer, among other features.

Buy it now from:

iTunes

Adobe Photoshop Express (free)

Adobe Photoshop Express

When it comes to photo editing software, nobody does it better than Adobe. Though the mobile version of their renowned desktop software offers a smaller work space than most apps, it’s still one of the most capable after-effects programs you can buy. Popular Photoshop features such as layers, selection tools, and adjustments all make an appearance, as do options for adding text, applying effects, and blending images. Unfortunately, many features are locked behind in-app purchases, so be ready to spend some dough if Express is your photo editor of choice.

Download it now from:

iTunes

Adobe Lightroom (free)

Adobe Lightroom

Although many of Lightroom’s tools require a newer model of iPhone to run, it remains one of the most feature-rich apps on our list, particular for photographers who want to edit their workflow while on the move. The app automatically syncs images with its desktop counterpart – whether you’re using images shot on your smartphone or raw images from a DSLR – allowing you to quickly edit, enhance, and share your photos using a variety of familiar tools.

Download it now from:

iTunes

Instagram (free)

Instagram

What would our photography app roundup be without any mention of the undisputed king of photo filters? There are dozens of apps out there that essentially allow you to do the same thing, but Instagram remains the best given the enormous user community. It still supplies a bevy of classic filters from which to choose, along with the ability to comment, like, share, and send photos directly to friends of your own choosing.

Download it now from:

iTunes

Pixlr (free)

Pixlr Express

The Web-based Pixlr has long been one of our favorite image editors, and thankfully, so is the mobile incarnation of the software. The app lets you choose from four pre-defined dimensions when resizing photos, with additional options for cropping, rotating, stylizing, and sharing photos on standby. Lighting and overlay effects even let you adjust the mood, while one-click adjustments allow for quick and automatic control.

Download it now from:

iTunes

Facetune ($4)

FaceTune

A mere $4 is a small price to pay for perfection. Not everyone is as photogenic as this guy, and more often than not, the images you snap of yourself and your friends aren’t as flattering as you’d like them to be. That’s where Facetune comes in.As the self-professed favorite app of Kim Kardashian, one of the most photographed celebs on social media, the app allows you to perform specific touch-ups like teeth whitening, blemish removal, and color correction so that your mug looks perfect when you post the pics to your social media profiles. Hell, you can even change your eye color or color over grey hairs.

Buy it now from:

iTunes

Photo Editor by Aviary (free)

Photo Editor by Aviary

If you’re looking for a solid after-effects app that doesn’t cost anything up front, check out Photo Editor by Aviary. Recently acquired by Adobe, it’s got plenty of advanced features and a sleek, minimalist interface from which you can stylize and edit your photos using a wealth of purchasable filters and content. Like Facetune, Aviary includes tools for eliminating redeye and whitening teeth, along with options for adding text, replacing color, and sharing.

Download it now from:

iTunes

Manual ($3)

Manual

The aptly-titled Manual, one of the more recent photography apps to hit the App Store, is a sight for sore eyes. The mobile software gives you full control of the shutter, white balance, ISO, focus, and exposure composition for a more hands-on approach to capturing photos. Furthermore, you can use the app to monitor automatic exposure values and view a live histogram, that is, when you’re not using the flashlight or slick grid mode.

Buy it now from:

iTunes

Photoblend (free)

Photoblend

Photoblend makes being artsy easy. The photo editor allows you to blend to images together to create a simple, double exposure effect, with the option to add a melange of quotes to your photo (i.e. “To love and be loved”). Furthermore, you can add images to one of Photoblend’s many traditional frames, or add modern figures such as an owl, peace sign, tree, or sun, among others. Is it gimmicky? Yes, but who really cares?

Download it now from:

iTunes

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