18 Feb 2016

CAMPER VANNERS, DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHERS?

life on board
Don't miss even the smallest of details from your camping van holidays: here are the 10 best apps for your smartphone while on the road.

There's no holiday without photos and there can be no photos without a smartphone with an app to improve end results. With reflex and compact cameras relegated to the backs of wardrobes, for many of us the smartphone has become the only piece of equipment we use to take photos, and even for those of us who have remained faithful to traditional means, the phone camera is still a valid second option.
So it's a good idea to find out about some apps which enable you to enhance the quality of your shots and manage them, also on social networks.

Mobile phones are our most faithful travelling companion aboard our camping van, perfect for taking quick photos everywhere and any time and capturing pleasant or unique moments.

But when we take a photo with a smartphone using predefined settings, we often fail to achieve optimal results. And so we are left with blurred images whenever light is scarce, or photos that are too dark or bright.

Of course if you configure the numerous camera options there is room for improvement, but this is far too time consuming to repeat on every occasion. Furthermore, if we wish to edit our shots, perhaps with filters or special effects, it would be great if we had easy-to-use tools which do not require an excessive amount of time or effort.

There's a vast array of applications so why not choose some which are recommended for travel (for iPhone and Android), for instant or semi-professional effects and editing:

Retrica
Probably the number one app of this kind, renowned and popular throughout the world, available both on Android and iPhone. This application contains over 100 filters divided into different, evocatively named themes: Chic, Allure, Cinema, Retro, etc. All filters are available for free, all you have to do is select the one you like, using one of the two buttons at the bottom right, for a preview on the image field of your camera.

You can also view all the filters and choose your favourite ones. Apart from filters, Retrica offers over 20 formats for taking collage shots, directly and without the need for post-production intervention. There are also buttons to adjust light exposure, photo focus, set the self-timer and access settings where you can switch between front and back camera and decide on the logo (with Retrica it is not possible to remove the logo from the application and it appears beneath each shot you take).
This application is particularly suitable for taking selfies and sharing on social networks.

Candy Camera
Candy Camera is an even better app, also free and available both for iPhone and Android.
It has three main advantages:

- You can save photos without a logo or watermark, by simply removing them in app settings.
- The choice of filters is very fast and all you need to do is swipe the screen right and left for previews, or swipe up to open the list of effects.
- Apart from colour filters (there are less than in Retrica), the app also contains numerous effects such as cartoon effect, x ray, mosaic, picasso, and effects for selfies, so that you can take photos and correct skin and face imperfections.

Instagram
Both a social network and app which enables users to take photos or shoot videos, edit them, apply filters and share them on numerous other social channels, including Facebook, Foursquare, Tumblr, Flickr, etc. Instagram's trademark square photo format features thick white top and bottom margins,vaguely reminiscent of the historic instant development Polaroid paper format. The application, developed by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, was launched in 2010. It is compatible with any iPhone and iPad, and is also available for Android, Windows Phone and now also for Apple Watch. Instagram allows you to take photos with filters in high definition, support larger photos, send private messages with photos and videos directly to another user, without publishing them.

LINE Camera
It strikes the perfect balance between simple and complex. Totally free for Android and iPhone, this application is a camera which allows you to take optimised photos without having to configure anything. It features numerous incorporated filters, similar to those on Instagram, and you can adjust brightness, contrast and saturation for each filter.

So to shoot just open Line Camera, change brightness by swiping up or down, and instantly apply a filter in live mode, all this before even taking a photo. With Line you can use buttons without having to search internal menus to: view the grid, take photos by touching the screen, change photo size before sharing, rapidly set the self-timer, switch to silent, see framing height level and switch to burst mode.

You can also add frames to images - with over 100 types to choose from -, add stamps to photos, such as small icons, use brushes to add colours and other types of effect, or even write a text on photos, with over 100 types of character and colour.

Google Photos
An application-gallery for viewing, editing and storing photos and videos: it allows you to search for people, animals or objects in you photos, carry out an automatic backup, manage photos and view them ordered by day, month or "comfortable view", ordered by day in a tile grid. It is an image editor and also allows you to assemble videos, create interactive stories, collages and animations. Sharing is simple and enhanced by Google.

You can select all the photos and videos you want, two or even three hundred of them, and share them with an auto-generated link on Facebook, by SMS or any other service: in this way, any user who clicks on the link can view photos and videos we have chosen to share, without uploading them.

If you like to tweak shooting parameters or access particular functions to obtain visually superior results, you can opt for different and more professional apps, for example:

Camera FV-5
Transforms your smartphone into a sort of reflex camera, with full manual control over all parameters. Therefore it is best suited for photographers and experts who want to intervene on times, diaphragms, white balance, flash intensity, ISO and more. It also enables bracketing and time lapse shooting and you can save images in raw.

Camera Zoom FX
A complete app, rich in functions, effects and filters. It is easy to use, you can set it as your camera or even just as a post-processing software. Suitable for smart devices with powerful processors, its vast array of functions includes stabilised shooting, vocal activation, time lapse, mosaic and the application of effects and frames.

Perfectly Clear
Guides you in taking the perfect photo with our smartphone, with guides for framing, grid, golden sections, level, stabiliser and three autofocus modes. It also enables you to photograph in HDR, burst and panorama mode. With the Edit mode, you can enhance your image: required corrections are automatically applied in accordance with calculations from the internal algorithm.

Pro HDR Camera
For those of you with a passion for high dynamic range photos, with this application you can create HDR images both in automatic and manual mode. Rather than merely applying filters which simulate the effect without the addition of detail, it fuses together different shots and enables the post-production editing of brightness, saturation, contrast and hue. You need to be perfectly still while taking a photo.

NightCap Pro
If you enjoy taking photos at night or in low-light conditions, this is the app for you. It transforms your iPhone into a powerful tool for twilight photos, with shutter release delay for up to a second (requires a stable support), increasing the sensitivity of the sensor and reducing background noise when shooting.

What apps do you use to make your camping van holidays unforgettable?
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