Mobile photography – gear, apps and processing

Taken with: iPhone 5s, Pocket Tripod, AvgCamPro app | Processed with Snapseed & VSCO

I’ve been enjoying mobile photography lately. I still carry 13kg of ‘real’ camera gear around with me a lot, but I really like the simplicity of walking around with a smart phone and taking snaps. I thought I would share a post which shows the gear I use to take images on my mobile, and also the apps I use to process those images. I also share a video where I am processing an image taken on my phone so you can see some of these apps in use and follow along with my workflow.

First up – the video. Here’s me processing an image on my iPhone.

Processing a Long Exposure iPhone image from Mike Murphy on Vimeo.

…and now a little more about my gear and the apps I use.

MOBILE PHOTOGRAPHY GEAR
iPhone 5s
I’m thinking of an upgrade when the iPhone 7 comes out, but this is still an excellent smart phone with a decent enough camera in it. More importantly, I always have it on me.

Pocket Tripod ($20)
A very handy credit card sized tripod which I carry around in my wallet. Though I can shoot some images by hand, I do need to use a tripod for my ‘long exposure’ images (more on this in the app section).

The new Universal Pocket Tripod on the scene in the Faroe Islands; AvgCamPro is capturing a long exposure on the iPhone

Edit: The Pocket Tripod is back on Kickstarter, this time it’s universal with the ability to adapt to pretty much any phone size – with or without a case. Check it out – Pocket Tripod on Kickstarter.

Moment lenses ($100 per lens)
An 18mm and a 60mm lens which can be attached to the front of my phone. I don’t often use the 60mm one but do make good use of the wide angle lens. Decent quality, and very small and light so I can also fit these into my pocket to walk around with. They also have a macro lens available.

18mm lens from Moment attached to my iPhone 5s, stabilised with the Pocket Tripod v1; on the scene in Bosnia

That’s it for gear. Nice and straightforward 🙂

MOBILE PHOTOGRAPHY APPS
Taking the shot
iPhone native camera app
I still use this app a lot as it’s easy to get to from the lock screen and means I can quickly grab an image with minimal effort; I use the other apps below if something ‘more’ than a basic shot is required.

AvgCamPro (£0.79)
I use this app to create a fake long exposure. The app takes a series of images over a set time period and blends the images together; this gives the appearance of clouds moving, or indeed water not moving, and is what I use for a lot of my images.

Sample images:

Capture silky water from within a waterfall

Capture the motion of moving objects

ProCamera (£3.99 + in app puchases)
A recent addition to my app suite, I use this for HDR or low light images

Sample HDR:

Taken with ProCamera app, saved as black and white directly from within app

Original non-HDR version saved by ProCamera at the same time

Lapse It (1.99)
A simple to use time lapse app

Sample time lapse (you’ll need to press play):

A video posted by Michael Murphy (@murphyz) on

Processing the shot
Snapseed (Free)
A great app, and probably my ‘go to’ for image editing. It’s got some powerful features for mobile editing, my favourite being that you can selectively adjust areas of your images and also it allows for dodging and burning.

SKRWT (£1.49)
Perfect for straightening up the perspective in your image.

Facetune (£2.99)
I use this for warping my image should I need to straighten something up that can’t be done within SKRWT

Retouch (£1.49)
This is like the spot heal brush in Photoshop, you can get rid of unwanted items within the shot by intelligent healing or by cloning

VSCO (Free + in app purchases)
A set of filters and tweaking tools that I will often run on the final image prior to posting

Enlight (£2.99)
I use this for some simple changes when I don’t need the features of Snapseed

Anticrop (£0.79)
An awareness fill tool that will add to the image you have taken; doesn’t work on all images but is great for those where it does and where you need a little bit of extra sky in the scene, for example.

Publishing the shot
Instagram (Free)
I don’t think any explanation is necessary for this app. I can be found under @murphyz so go ahead and add me 🙂

Here are a few more images showing on the scene shots, out of camera images and then the final processed shots.

Image 1:
On scene

Out of camera (phone) & used as final image

Image 2:
On scene

Out of camera (phone)

Final image

Image 3:
On scene

Out of camera (phone)

Final image

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