11 awesome camera apps for your smartphone

Any photography enthusiast would agree that inbuilt camera apps that come with smartphones are not good enough to give you a quality photograph that you crave for. Thankfully, there are a bunch of apps that take better photos.

By Avinash Kothuri Published Date
17 - Apr - 2014
| Last Updated
17 - Apr - 2014
11 awesome camera apps for your smartphone

1. Retro Camera
Definitely one of the most popular photography apps available for Android. Retro Camera is like the Hipstamatic (iOS) for Android users. This vintage camera app basically allows you to add various effects such as vignette, film scratch, black and white filter & cross-processing effects to add an old-school look to all your pictures. It has a set of 5 different cameras, thus allowing you 5 different sets of these effects. The UI, though not extremely intuitive at first glance, still works fine. The app isn’t all that perfect though – the shutter button isn’t the best, and changing it to a physical hardware button seems like a better option. The viewfinder is relatively small, and with larger phones, this becomes slightly inconvenient. Even though there haven’t been any updates for almost a year now, the app is still slightly heavy on the newer, quicker phones that have come out (I tried it on a Nexus 5). There have also been complaints that the camera shutter makes a sound even in silent mode after turning the setting ‘off’. Overall, the app does what it has to – take good, low-fi retro photos with a nostalgic feel to it – and does it well.


Price: Free
2. Camera Zoom FX
To put it in a nutshell, this app is all about taking better photos. And boy, does this app work wonders in doing that. This award-winning photo app can actually replace all the other apps single-handedly. Packed with a ton of features such as Stable-shot that only takes the picture once the camera is steady, a voice-activated shooting mode, a fullscreen shutter, and a Best Photo mode (apart from the standard burst mode) that lets you take several shots and then decides the best photo by itself – the app as a standalone is very impressive. The only apparent con with this app is that it comes with some amount of bloatware, including the extremely corny feature that allows you to take pictures with Famous buddies. One major problem we faced was that the app just refused to work well with our Nexus 5 – and upon further research, found out that we weren’t the only ones. This is quite disappointing, especially considering that the Nexus doesn’t really have a great stock camera. Keeping that aside though, the absolute multitude of features that this app offers, along with its front-camera functionality places it at the top of the photography app stockpile – a must have.
Price: Android only - Rs.180
3. Photaf panorama
This is definitely one of the best apps out there to create 360-degree panoramic pictures. The app uses an auto-stitch mechanism to stitch together photos taken side-by-side turning it into a complete 360-degree view. The best part is that, from the startup, the menus make it very simple to follow and understand. To create a panoramic photo, all you will need to do is to select automatic shooting and rotate your phone - albeit with some stability - and the app will automatically recognise the right hand characteristic of the previous image and sound a beep. Thus, the app takes a continuous set of pictures and stitches them together making a panorama, all by itself. The free version comes with a bunch of annoying ads, and also does not allow you to shoot in HD, both of which are tackled in the Pro version. There might be slight problems with various light settings in the same panorama, and the light and dark differences might show up. Photaf has a designated website also which lets you showcase your panoramas to the world. It’s a brilliant, sophisticated app that lets you take stunning panoramic pictures.
Price: Android only: Pro-Rs.316/Free

4. Pro HDR Camera
This one is for more serious photographers out there. High Dynamic Range imaging or HDR imaging is an old photography technique that involves taking three photographs – all at different exposures – and then using image editing software to put the three images together, thus highlighting the best parts of each photo to form one photo of extreme awesomeness. Pro HDR brings this technique to smartphone photography – and boy, does it make your photos look that much better. This app lets you create photos with a perfect blend of shadows and lights even with a sub-standard camera. Sure, when you turn on the HDR mode, it takes longer to take the same picture, but this is because it takes 3 images, and not one, and luckily for us – the layman smartphone photographers – the app does the image editing by itself and gives you the final product in its entirety. Though it definitely qualifies as one of the more advanced photography apps, it is relatively simple to use – with the only trick being holding the camera very still while its capturing the images. Therefore, Pro HDR is probably not the wisest option for taking motion pictures. The app also gives you an option to tinker around with settings such as brightness, contrast and saturation after you’re done taking the pic. The app allows you to load pics taken by other apps as well, and it has a manual mode as well, which lets you adjust exposure and focus. So, whether it’s night-time photography, or just creating bright – almost surreal – images, Pro HDR is the app for you. 
Price: iOS – Rs.110 / Android - Rs.107
5. Fast Camera
It might not have the most creative of names, but this app is a definite must-have in your list of camera apps. Why, you ask? Well, for one – it can take up to 800 pictures per minute! Yes, EIGHT HUNDRED – that wasn’t a typo. If you want to capture fast moving targets at absolutely the right moment, then this app is the perfect bet. And the best part is that the 800 pics aren’t stored in your memory for you to browse and take up space on your phone - instead you can pick your favorite pic from the app itself, and the rest of the images are automatically deleted. And you also have the option to store the pictures as a video. The app also offers some different ways to shoot pictures. The default ‘Auto-on’ feature starts taking pics as soon as you start the app – so you might just end up having a hundred or so pictures of the floor before you even realize it. It has a manual mode, and our favourite – the burst mode, which takes pictures continuously till you hold a button and stops once you let go. The number of pictures the camera takes, changes automatically by altering the quality of the images – higher the quality of the images, lesser the number of pictures. Navigating the app is a breeze – and it also works with both front and rear cameras. All in all, for any occasion where you don’t want to miss a moment, Fast Camera is the app for you.
Price: iOS – Rs.270

6. Groupshot 
Imagine all the times when a perfect group picture is ruined by that one face that is looking elsewhere or blinking at the exact right moment. This app that claims to perform magic with pictures just solved that problem for you by letting you take faces from other photos and ‘stitching’ them onto an existing photo. The app lets you take a series of pictures, or import photos from your library to the app. Then it loads into a split panel view that lets you see the main/template picture on the left and a set of smaller thumbnail images on the right. You can select the face that you want to change by just rubbing your finger on it, and then Groupshot shows the faces from the thumbnails that you can stitch onto the original. Just select the best out of the options available, and voila! The app after “performing magic” just let you replace a face on your iPhone. 
Price: iOS – Rs.55
7. Instagram
This is the most popular and the most obvious app on this list, because it would be a shame if it wasn’t. This app is perhaps almost single-handedly responsible for converting most smartphone users into hardcore photographers. Thanks to its simplicity and its pricing (it’s free!) it has over 150 million users worldwide! Functionality might not be its forte – it lets you take a pic, add some cool effects, and when you’re satisfied enough, you can add a caption along with geotagging and then share the picture – all pretty basic. What makes Instagram the most powerful photo app is the fact that its user base lets you share your pictures with an enormous social network. These stylized photos have become a medium of story-telling for millions of users with millions alike listening. Photography for most is about sharing something special, and Instagram lets you do that better than any other app – which is why it had to be on this list.  
Price: Free
8. Camera awesome
An app that primarily started out for Apple devices, its popularity surged extremely high getting it a spot on the PlayStore as well. The Camera Awesome app basically acts as a replacement for your native camera app and offers more shooting modes, editing and effects features. It has a very easy to use interface to begin with, and most menus can be accessed with a single touch. Features such as ‘big button’, ‘image stabilization’, ‘slow burst’, ‘fast burst’ and self timer are all included. It also allows the user to control the exposure and focus points, which can come in very handy in badly lit situations. There’s an ‘awesomize’ button that automatically adjusts the temperature, sharpness, contrast etc. to make your picture look that much more awesome. This can also be done manually by resetting the sliders yourself to tweak the above mentioned effects. You can also edit a picture by cropping, rotating or adding filters or text. The app has some neat sharing features as well that let you share pictures on your favorite social networking websites with just a tap of a button. Overall, Camera Awesome lives up to its name and provides a very decent (and free) alternative to your inbuilt camera app.
Price: iOS - Free / Android - Rs.190
9. Gifboom
Everybody loves GIFs, right? These quirky, short, animated pics are what keeps the internet going. Now you can make your own GIFs on your smartphone for free! Gifboom lets you do exactly that and more. This app is the instagram of GIFs – it lets you create GIFs and then join a community where you can share and view some of the best animated GIFs on the internet. At the start, you will need to create a free account which does not take long to setup. After creating your account, you can start making your own GIFs to be able to share them. Making GIFs isn’t very complicated either – all you have to do is click the red camera icon at the bottom to begin recording. After you’re done recording, the app lets you add a bevy of filters, frames and texts along with the options to crop or adjust the speed of your GIF. Audio track can also be added manually to a GIF by the user. All in all, it is a swift app that does its job quite exceptionally. 
Price: Free
With Nokia being purchased by Microsoft, it is pretty clear that the Finnish company and their monstrous camera phone line (the Lumia series) are all going to roll out with the Windows platform. We have a couple of apps for those users who do not want to miss out on their photography life upon the switch from an Android or iOS platform.

10. Fhotoroom
Fhotoroom is probably the best free photo app out there for the windows platform. It's a powerful photo app that has a ton of features – including a lot of editing tools, exposure and focus adjustments, a timer, and more than 75 filters to play around with. It also lets you share photos on its own community site, and other major social networks. While the filters are good and stacking of filters is allowed, there is no option to moderate how much of the filter is applied. It is a pretty decent photo editor at the end of the day, though not being able to zoom to edit is a bit of a problem.  Considering that it is a free app, Fhotoroom is definitely worth a try. 
Price: Free
11. Super Camera
Super camera is another free app for windows that lets you make the most of the stock camera. It has a bunch of filters, but they can’t be applied in real time because of which some post-processing is required. It also provides basic image options along with interesting features like collages and speech bubbles. Perhaps its most standout feature though is that it also lets you create GIF images from video and text – removing the need for another app for the same.
Price: Free
Avinash KothuriAvinash Kothuri