I am looking for apps for my mobile phone (Generalizing it to any mobile phone rather then being a specific Android, Apple or Windows phone) that I will find helpful while taking pictures on my DSLR.

For example I've an app that calculates the Depth of field given some parameters and another one that shows sunrise / sunset time and position.

I am not looking for apps that do creative stuff for pictures taken on the mobile camera itself.

Are there anymore apps around that could be considered as "must-have" for photographers?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you looking at a specific platform (iphone/android/rim) or all of them. \$\endgroup\$
    – fluf
    Commented Jan 27, 2012 at 19:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have an Android phone but It would be helpful for the whole community if the list includes other platforms as well.. \$\endgroup\$
    – Viv
    Commented Jan 27, 2012 at 19:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ok... I'll post it on the main site... \$\endgroup\$
    – Viv
    Commented Jan 28, 2012 at 0:13
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ We already have similar questions specifically for iOS and Android; I don't think the general question adds much. (Plus, the "list of bests" questions are only infrequently useful/helpful over time — especially for a field which changes so rapidly, never mind the subjectivity of "must-have". You'll get some suggestions while the question is on the front page, and then every few months someone will show up to post something promoting their own app.) \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Jan 29, 2012 at 14:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ I did search for Android and iOS but I couldn't find a question similar to this one. I did post it on meta first and was said that there is no reason why I should not be posted in here. \$\endgroup\$
    – Viv
    Commented Jan 29, 2012 at 23:20

5 Answers 5


The Photographers's Ephemeris

With this, you can pick a location on a map, and the app will show you the times of sunrise/sunset (and moon), including the times and a graphical indication of where the sun/moon will rise/set on the map, so you can plan shots. This has been a windows app that is now available on Androis and soon on iOS. This may be the one you referred to.

Stuck on Earth

Another map-based app. This one uses crowdsourcing to pick popular locations, and photos of those locations. Very useful if you are travelling somewhere and want to know good locations or vantage points for photos. You can zoom in on a map and view photos.

Easy Release

This is an app for paperless model releases (Android and iPhone)

  • \$\begingroup\$ I've always thought it a shame that Trey Ratcliff's Stick on Earth app is iPad only as I think it would be useful on iPhone too. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mark J P
    Commented Jan 28, 2012 at 10:31

The Photographers's Ephemeris (as others have mentioned) is very powerful and a great app, useful for getting you into rough position for a shoot at the right time and place.

However I find some astronomy apps can be useful also to fine-tune exactly where you are positioned in relation to a sun or moon soon to rise (or to set). Hidden Sky is one, you can see where the moon is currently in an AR mode (shows where the moon/sun is located and a tracking path as you move the phone around).

I used the combination of those two apps to position myself for this shot of the "Super Moon" (perhaps you remember the hype):

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kigiphoto/5541740013/ enter image description here

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for Hidden Sky I was looking for something like that \$\endgroup\$
    – Vijay
    Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 11:11

All of these relate to iPhone:

The Photographers Ephemeris is absolutely fantastic but pricey (you can access it on your computer for free). Alternatively there is Sun Seeker which is similar but less expensive or free depending on the version you go for. These apps can be used for working out the sun and moon positions and related times.

I don't use it regularly but Longtime Exposure Calculator is a handy app to have if you are using ND filters. It will allow you to easily figure out the correct ND filter exposure time based on the exposure time without the filter and there is no need to do any maths.

Another app I've found quite useful is the Geotag Photos app. This simply logs your GPS position as you walk around taking shots and then it allows you to easily tag all of your photos with accurate GPS data during post processing - just make sure your phone and camera clocks are in-sync. It does impact the battery life of your mobile device but saves you from having to buy a separate GPS unit. Although it is about time Canon DSLRs had geo tagging functionality built in!

I'm sure you know already but Instagram is great fun for posting shots, it's just like Twitter for photographers and has a really active community. Giving your photos a faux-lomo look is entirely optional!

Lastly Nik Software's Snapseed is really quite powerful for photo editing directly on the handset, I've been really impressed with it. Their desktop software is very good and so is their mobile software. Although I realise from your question that you may not be so interested in this type of software.


Pretty much all you can ask for is:

  • 1.DOF calculator
  • 2.Exposure meter
  • 3.Remote control of DSLR
  • 4.Photographer's ephemeris

Those are the main categories of useful apps that add to DSLR photography.

I understand what mattdm is saying, and I think we do have more specific questions about the mobile platform specific offerings - but you seem to be asking about something I don't recall having questions about. That is - what apps are useful on a mobile device to aid in DSLR photography. If we don't have that question already, I think that is somewhat valid. It risks becoming less valuable over time as the software changes - but if you generalize it like my example above it might work.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Sure, there is more. I just use the 4 I outlined. \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Commented Feb 2, 2012 at 3:48

I've never had a phone that has "apps" and never missed it. Same with generations of photographers over the last more than a century since the artform was established.
Thus there are none that we "must have" at all. In fact anything at all would detract from our photography. Now, that's not to say some things couldn't come in handy, things like a mobile moving map/GPS solution to find your way to a shooting location, a dictaphone to take notes, things like that. But nothing you can't live without.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ -1. Even though I agree with you, I don't see any valid information in the answer to consider it as valuable. \$\endgroup\$
    – lalli
    Commented Jan 30, 2012 at 7:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ so tell which "apps" are "required"... None are, the things are utter hype and nothing else. \$\endgroup\$
    – jwenting
    Commented Jan 30, 2012 at 11:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ You can debate the term "must have" but it's more silly to say "anything at all would detract from our photography". Being able to see, at a glance, where the sun or moon will rise in ten minutes is in fact invaluable to minute adjustments of position. P.S. Also, I will not get off your lawn. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 30, 2012 at 21:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ I believe a lot of the apps available today are useful and have the potential to help photographers at all skill levels. I would agree that none of these apps are essential but it seems a shame not to take full advantage of the technology that is available to us when creating or planning shots. I'm sure that many of the photographers from yesteryear would have used the tools that we now have available at our disposal. I understand that some photographers will fall into the purist camp and that’s absolutely fine too – it’s a personal thing. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mark J P
    Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 12:10
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ By that same logic, digital cameras aren't required either, you can just shoot film. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 14, 2013 at 17:35

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