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Smartphone cameras are more than just a convenience. As David Chen’s monthly photo challenge makes clear, they’ve emerged as a serious tool for photographers and an artistic genre all their own.
What I love about Windows Phone 8 and my Lumia 920 from Nokia is that both were designed with mobile photography in mind. Windows Phone 8 introduces lenses, camera apps that plug into your phone’s viewfinder and potentially give it all kinds of crazy new powers. And the Lumia 920, with its fast F2.0 lens and optical image stabilization technology, is helping redefine what’s possible in low-light and other tricky shooting conditions.
In the months ahead, I’ll be focusing more on Windows Phone photography—highlighting new apps and passing along tips for taking better shots. (I’m learning as I go, too.) Let me know in comments what camera-related subjects you’d like to see here. And if there are any Windows Phone-toting pros out there who’d be interested in sharing their secrets in a guest post, let me know that, too.
Meantime, here are five essential apps for anybody serious about taking or showing off their shots. You’ll find more great handpicked options in the Store’s new Photo and Visual Effects Collection.
If you were confined to just one photo-editing app on your phone, this is the one I’d go with. Fhotoroom (Free) turns your phone into a mobile photo studio with 18 editing effects and more than 50 beautiful filters. The app supports both Windows Phone 7.5 and 8, and makes it a cinch to share favorite images on SkyDrive, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumbler. That said, the Windows Phone Store boasts several worthy editing apps, including Pictures Lab, Thumba Photo Editor, and Nokia Creative Studio (for Lumia phones only). I’d sample a few and see which one suits you best.
Control freaks take note: ProShot transforms your display into something more like what you’d see on a point-and-shoot, providing the ability to manually tweak shutter speed, ISO, white balance, exposure compensation, focus, and other key settings. Also worth a look for Windows Phone 8 is CameraPro ($2.49), which has many of the same basic features as ProShot but adds burst, time-lapse, and bracket shooting modes.
If you’re looking for a foolproof solution for group photos—or just want to minimize blur-inducing vibrations from shaky hands—ReadyClick! ($1.99) for Windows Phone 8 is the answer. The app lets you issue voice commands to your phone camera, triggering the shutter when you say “Ready Click,” so you can shoot from shouting distance and without accidentally jiggling your phone.
If you dig the retro “Lomo” look popularized by apps like Instagram, you’ll love Lomogram for Windows Phone (Free). Packed with more than 40 filters and 70 lighting effects, the free app offers literally thousands of creative ways to transform even your most mundane lo-res shots into sepia-toned works of vintage art. Lomogram also comes with a handy cropping tool to size them just right for Facebook and other popular photo-sharing sites.
Sharing one photo at a time to your Twitter or Facebook followers can get tedious. But Phototastic (Free) makes it easy to turn several into an attractive collage, right on your phone. With 50 collage arrangements—including now Facebook cover photo frames—you’ll have plenty of options for showcasing your best shots.
Nice article! I love the Lumia 920 camera and the photo apps, just make it better.
* I love Fhotoroom - it's my go to app for photo on my phone! I hope they update the camera app replacement so I don't have to add ProShot or CameraPro. I'd GLADLY pay for a Fhotoroom app like that.
* For some more in-depth editing, I'll use Fantasia, as well.
* I have Phototastic, but I also use PhotoGrid for a different look and different features in the collage arena.
* Why did you pick ProShot over CameraPro if "has many of the same basic features as ProShot but adds burst, time-lapse, and bracket shooting modes."?
* I have Ready Click! installed, but I've never used it.
* I'm waiting for Microsoft to grant us Photosynth. (Can you go down the hall and ask them how it's coming along?)
Going to check out the Photo and Visual Effects collection that you linked above. Thanks!
P.S> will we ever see any video editing and/or slideshow making apps?
Thanks Michael, those are really great photo apps.
But... you know, many iOS and Android users reminds us *every* time that Instagram is the big one missing, and they would never make the switch.
Are any chance to have it also on WP7/8?
@dalydose: It's great to hear your take. I always love hearing what other people use on their phones. To your questions:
I picked ProShot over CameraPro because it appeared some folks were having some stability issues with CP, judging by reviews. Once those get licked...
The Photosynth team tweeted a week or so ago that they're getting very close to release...so hang on. Sounds like they're almost there.
Lol!!!.... Now Michael, you know you saw Licantrop0's comment.. That's funny how you responded to dalydose, but not Licantrop0... I know you guys have some juicy Instagram information that you would love to share with us, but I understand that you're not at liberty to disclose anything yet... I know you guys can't tell us when, and where, but I just wish we could get a yes, or no.. Oh well,, we have no choice but to wait patiently...
As far a camera apps go I've been using thumba photo editor for a while, but I do like the smart shoot app on my 920.. The only issue I have is sharpness.. Everyone says that my pictures are great, but I just think they should be sharper. Am I being to picky?? Any solutions??
Please make Fhotoroom available in the Philippine Market!!!
Great article and can't wait for more of the same. I'd love you to do more in depth reviews of each one though
Phototastic would be the favorite app for my future Windows Phone.
Fhotoroom is not available for Windows Phone 7.8.
I checked in my Nokia Lumia 710 in India.
Find out today's top most phone application for photographer top7mobiles.com/.../top-apps-for-windows-phone