As a photographer who has moved from Kodak Brownies and Instamatics to 35mm and digital cameras, I’ve used just about every image-capturing gizmo of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
That’s just one reason I feel qualified to make the bold claim that photography has entered a golden age.
Photo pros used to believe that the best camera was the one you had with you at the time. In the world of consumer electronics, you can hardly find a person without a high-resolution digital camera tucked away in their smartphones. Now that virtually everyone has a better camera in their pockets than the ones men took to the moon, we see images every day of amazing events and places never before captured.
That’s both the good news and the bad. We’re never without the means of capturing the moment but we are capturing more frozen moments than we can manage with the little time we have leftover. That’s where a few free apps come in handy.
I’d be lost without QuickPic on my Android phone to help manage my pictures. When I open a photo in QuickPic, it lets me select and apply any editing app on my phone. When I last checked, QuickPic was still Android only, though the iOS world has many great photo management tools to choose from including Tidy.
To edit photos, I rely on one of two free apps, each with its own special sauce. If I need to quickly brighten, sharpen or color correct an image, Aviary lets me do the job with a single click under the “Enhance” option, and then offers many of the usual controls and effects. Pixlr Express lets me take a washed out image with poor definition and brings it back to life with good contrast and color definition, all with a single click of the “Auto Fix” button.
Finally, the Canon CW (camera window) app lets you shoot remotely and view pictures on your SureShot WiFi -capable camera using the phone’s built-in mobile hotspot. That means you can finally be in the shot without scrambling to beat the self timer, and even view the shot, re-shoot or change flash and zoom settings without ever retreating to the camera’s position.
If you use a digital SLR, there’s no shortage of remote control and remote viewing apps for Canon, Nikon and most other major brands.
But then again, who needs a digital SLR for snapshots when you’ve got all that photo capturing, editing and sharing power in your pocket every day?
John Johson is Verizon Wireless’ executive director in the western United States for corporate communications. Follow him on Twitter at @VZWjohnj.