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Smartphone cameras aren’t just for quick snaps and selfies anymore. Phone cameras have improved substantially in recent years, and apps both for phones and to support traditional cameras have proliferated.


$2 on iOS

If you like to manually adjust your camera settings, you’ll love Manual, $2 for iOS. Instead of relying on a phone’s camera to guess the right settings, users can tinker with shutter speed, white balance, exposure bracketing, and more.

The live-updating graphic at the bottom of the viewfinder image could even help create a final photo that’s more pleasing to the eye. The controls are a bit tricky — they’re small so they don’t get in the way on the screen — but there is still a lot to like here. If you need to take a photograph but your fancier camera is at home, Manual is a useful alternative.


Photoshop Express

Free on iOS and Android

How can we talk about professional photography without mentioning Photoshop?

It’s criticized when used to distort images of models, but it’s also frequently used to smooth out mistakes.

The more basic Photoshop Express software has been translated for both iOS and Android devices, and it’s free, with paid in-app upgrades.

Photoshop Express is automated and is ideal for quick improvements to photos taken with the phone.

For iPads and Android devices, there’s also Photoshop Touch for $10. It has more of the image editing tools of the “full” PC software.

Of course, this means it’s also more complex.

Sometimes its menus and icons can be bewildering, even for experts.

But if you need to edit photos taken on the camera without a computer, this is the app to do it.


$1 on iOS and Android

I prefer Afterlight, which is $1 on both iOS and Android.

It has some sophisticated image-editing tricks, and its interface is
much more intuitive than Photoshop’s. For access to Afterlight’s full range of features, you will need to make in-app purchases.


We may like our camera’s automated systems. But a few apps can help you add a human touch to your photography.

Kit Eaton writes on technology
for The New York Times.