Feb 15, 2019

The iphone is my pocket photography darkroom. It is nothing less than a miniature studio in the palm of my hand and in the past year or so it has also become my favourite camera of Choice. And this is taking into account my purchasing the Sony A7 III and the 35 mm Ziess Distagon Lens. I love this kit so much that I now have an instagram portfolio which is 100% iphone only street photography. @the_street_thief. I also use my phone extensively for recording video, for instastories and other social media outlets, for writing blog posts and pretty much for running my day-to-day life. This is a list of my top iphone photography apps of 2019.


I have no idea why it’s called Snapseed. The snap part I get. But not the seed. It’s probably staring me in the face but I can’t figure it out. If VSCO is the Volkswagen of smartphone editing then SNAPSEED is surely the Porche. I’ve used a lot of editing apps and for sure most of what is in snapseed can be found in all these other apps but there is something going on here I can’t quite put my finger on. Refinement is the word that springs to mind. Excellence is another. The app feels first class. It lacks the batch processing option of say VSCO but frankly this works as a positive for me as I find myself slowing down and taking my time on the images I edit. In short I’ve outed VSCO.The interface looks gorgeous and everything that is available works brilliantly.

There’s no filler with regard to filters and attributes. I get the feeling a lot of apps I’ve used simply sling in a bunch of options because they feel they have to but haven’t really thought the whole thing thru. With Snapseed there is little or no filler. What is there is for a reason and it doesn’t disappoint from the curves option, thru the HDR Scape and grainy film and out the other side with the Vintage colour emulations. There is something about the app that, like I said, makes you want to slow down and experiment to come up with something different.


8mm is basically the coolest film emulator style video app out there. It was used in the Stones Roses documentary by Shane Meadows as well as the Oscar nominated movie Searching for Sugarman. When the director run out of cash for film – he went to this app. Enough said. My favourite filter is NOIR. It damn looks like film. There’s also a cool little nudge button which allows you to flicker the screen as you record. It sounds pretty ludicrous but it’s actually as cool as fuck.


Unfold is an rockin’ little tool for instastories. It anchors your posts to a consistency by offering up a variety of dynamite templates within which to frame your photographs and text. New templates are announced regularly. I think it’s the best app in it’s genre.


One of the oldest on the market but it’s aged like fine wine for want of a better cliche. I came to Hipstamatic quite late but I love the simplistic, shoot and go, aspect of the app. Your images are processed as you click and it’s the closest digital feel to using film that I can find. There are a zillion filters to purchase but I have to say once I found my combination I use one colour and one black and white for everything. Many of the images taken on the Street Thief instagram profile are taken with this app.


For me in-shot isthe best and most fun video editor I’ve stumbled across. (Take it from me – i’ve looked hard). It is packed with features including multiple platform canvasses for different mediums, instagram, instastories, iphone wallpaper and on and on. Adding music, chopping and cutting frames, speed editor are all there, but what I love about it is its ease of use. When I’m editing I don’t want to be fucking about having to figure out where everything is. I use the iphone in my in-between moments, standing in a queue a at a bank or at a train station, waiting for a bus, walking to the park.

I want to be able to, work fast and in-shot covers all the exits in that regard. This isn’t Final Cut, or adobe premier by any stretch. But I don’t want or need that complexity on my phone. That’s the point. It’s meant to be quick, it’s meant to be simple and it’s meant to be fun.


Dirty up and age-ify your images with this awesome apps. Mextures is packed with lots of emulations, scratches, dust, light leaks etc but the great think about this app is the ability to multi-layer your work.


My go-to app for creating photo grids is Diptic. As simple as that.


This is a planning and scheduling app for your instagram photos as well as a mid level analytics system for tracking and projecting your posts on instagram. It also has a nifty hashtag finder / creator. The guys that run the show here are awesome too, so friendly, and down to earth.


Grab control of the built in camera of your iphone with Pro Camera. Allows you full manual control over ISO and shutter speeds and a whole lot more.


I don’t like to be put in a box by anything and instagram has it’s limitations with regard to GIF files you can use on stories , etc., So I use Giphy which has a plethora of cool Gifs which I can copy and paste over into my stories.

If someone had come up to me in the street 20 years ago, with an iphone, and said they were a time traveller from 200 years in the future, I would have to have believed them. I’ve a sneaky suspicion, as photographers, we take this little robot seriously for granted. I’ll get into that in a future blog.