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5 Must-Have iPhoneography Apps for Busy Parents

iPhoneographyLike just about every other parent I know, I’ve always enjoyed taking photos and shooting video of my kids, but but over the past year, I’ve taken a much deeper dive into photography. In fact, photography has now become a full-blown hobby, and one that I truly enjoy.

What changed, you may ask? Only my smartphone.

Since switching from my Android smartphone to an iPhone at the beginning of 2011, a whole new world of what geeky enthusiasts like myself call “iPhoneography” has opened up to me.

I own a very fancy Nikon D-80 digital SLR camera with various lenses and filters that I inherited from my father when he passed away in 2008, but frankly, I could never find the time to figure out how to work all the buttons and meters and light sensors. It was just too much camera for me. Additionally, as a busy mom who always has her hands full – literally – there’s no way I can be carrying around a “real” camera with any regularity.

As for video, I have to admit that while I owned a nice digital video camera for years, I hardly ever used it, and even when I did, it was then hard for me to find the childfree/non-work time to actually sit down at my computer, hook the cord to the computer or pull the memory chip out and plug it into the drive in order to transfer the videos to the computer, before uploading them somewhere where I could watch. Moving any videos I did manage to get onto my own harddrive into a place where I could show anyone else was a whole ‘nother set of problems.

Because I found shooting and storing digital video such a hassle, I have to admit that there are far too few videos in existence of my kids..that is, until the iPhone entered my life. Now, because I have the best video camera I have ever owned right in the palm of my hand, I am really enjoying capturing great video to share wirelessly on Facebook and You Tube, and also to save for my children to enjoy when they are older

Basically, since discovering everything I can do with the fantastic camera – both still and video – built into the iPhone, along with all the apps and services available for iPhone photography enthusiasts, I am now able to take photos and shoot video that approaches the quality of something I might take with a much bigger and more complicated set-up. As a busy working mom, I love this.

Now that I am so regularly snapping and sharing photos and video with my iPhone, people ask me quite often which apps, services and other iPhoneography resources are my faves. So I thought I’d share my current list of fave photo and video apps for any of you who are maybe just getting started with your own iPhoneography hobby.

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  • Camera+ iPhone App 1 of 5
    Camera+ iPhone App
    Available for $1.99 in the iPhone App store, Camera+ is the one iPhoneography app I'd hang on to if I could only choose one. It's a fantastic camera itself, with rapid shot options and a nice zoom feature. But it's the easy to use editing options that make Camera+ my fave app of all. You can pull any photo into the Camera+ screen and crop it, add a variety of filters and lens effects, and end up with something pretty amazing. My favorite Camera+ trick is to run a photo thru the "clarity" scene filter, and then add the HDR lens effect. For many photos, this combo adds up to a "wow" photo that friends and family won't believe you actually took yourself.
  • Plastic Bullet Camera iPhone app 2 of 5
    Plastic Bullet Camera iPhone app
    Plastic Bullet is an app available in the iPhone store for $1.99, and for me, it's become my default camera. It's a variation on the "toy camera" app trend started by Hipstamatic, but I find that the app simply takes fantastic photos, even if you don't end up using any of the special effects it offers. If you don't want to mess with pulling a photo into another app for editing or gussying up, you can quickly apply one of Plastic Bullet's preset selection of effects to give any photo instant impact.
  • Instagram App and Community 3 of 5
    Instagram App and Community
    Ah, Instagram, how I love thee.... Perhaps you've heard some buzz around Instagram, the free app available for iPhone (not yet available for 'Droid), and wondered what all the fuss is about. Well, Instagram is more than just a photo app, it's an online community around sharing iPhoneography that's more intimate and yet also more social than broader photo-sharing platforms like Facebook. The special Instagram filters that come as part of the app are pretty great, but really, for me, it's all about the way Instagram allows you to see other people's photos, one personal close-up at a time. It's like watching a time-lapse movie every hour of the day - a peek inside the lives of all kinds of people all over the world. Highly recommended.
  • 720tube iPhone Video Upload App 4 of 5
    720tube iPhone Video Upload App
    As much as I love shooting still photos with my iPhone, I am also in love with the fact that I can now - for the first time ever - easily shoot great video of my kids.Theoretically, I could also use my iPhone to wirelessly upload that video to my You Tube account from wherever I happen to be. However, until I discovered the 720tube app, "theoretically" was the best way to describe my You Tube uploads. More times than not, I was getting an error message telling me that the video file I wanted to upload was too large to transfer via iPhone. But with the free 720tube app, even my largest iPhone-shot videos are quickly compressed and uploaded easily to You Tube - even using only a 3G network as my connection,
  • Capture video iPhone app 5 of 5
    Capture video iPhone app
    This app - available for only 99 cents in the iPhone app store - is a must have for any parent who wants to shoot video with her iPhone. Basically, after you download the app, a large red "on" button appears on your mail iPhone screen. So next time your kid starts doing something adorable and/or hilarious, you won't miss it as you fumble around trying to open the iPhone video camera and turn it on. With the Capture app, you just press that big red button right on your home screen and voila! You're shooting video without opening anything or waiting for anything,. When you hit the button again, the video stops recording and immediately shows up as a video file in your regular iPhone photo/video gallery, ready for you to see and share.

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What about you? Do you have an iPhone? Do you find that you are enjoying shooting photos and videos of your family more since you got it? Do you have favorite smartphone photography or video apps that I should try out? Share your iPhoneography tips and tricks in the comments below.

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