Why spend hundreds of dollars on your passion for photography when you have an Android at hand? Follow this guide to take the best shots with your Android camera, along with the best photo editor apps and camera apps to try out.
From the pixelated display of the legendary Nokia 3310 to the infinity AMOLED screen of the OnePlus 3 – mobile devices have come a long way. These hardware and software advancements have escalated dramatically in the smartphone age, with Android devices that boast hardware specs that fall in line with powerful computers.
One such piece of hardware that has evolved to a whole new level is the camera, with the latest range of smartphones that shatter the boundaries of digital photography. But even if you own a Google Pixel which has the highest DxOMark rating of any smartphone out there, the person behind the camera matters even more.
Android photography tips to get the best photos
Before we dive into the best photo editor apps and camera apps for Android, let’s look into some general photography tips that experts suggest. If you’re a beginner at photography and want your Android device as the camera to start with, here are some of the most useful photography tips you should try out.
Exploring the camera settings
Before you start to point and shoot your camera aimlessly, it might be a good idea to figure out the setting panel on your Android camera app. Regardless of whether you are using the official Google camera app that comes with stock Android, or a camera app released by the manufacturer, there are plenty of tweaking options in the settings to configure.
Depending on your Android device, the camera settings you give you plenty of options to work around with. For instance, some devices tend to automatically set a default resolution to reduce image size and save storage space on Android. In order to capture the best quality photos on Android, use the maximum resolution and picture quality.
Make sure the camera lens is clean
If you have ever handled a DSLR camera, you know exactly how careful you have to be around the camera lens. Since most Android devices these days come with the fingerprint scanner on the back, it wouldn’t be uncommon for someone to rub their fingers all over the camera lens all the time.
Since there is no lens cap on your Android camera to protect it from dirt and smudges, something as simple as cleaning your camera lens can improve the quality of your photos instantly. A clean wipe with a microfiber cloth and some lens cleaning fluid should help you keep your camera lens and screen clean all the time, but even a simple wipe using your handkerchief should do the trick.
External lighting is better than flash
Other than the times when you need to find something in the dark, the camera flash on your Android device can seem like a great way to take pictures. However, the tiny camera flash on your Android is not enough to make night photography spectacular, and often ends up distorting the quality of the image.
Your best bet at capturing the perfect photo is finding a source of natural light or an external light source. For instance, find a spot near the window where there’s plenty of sunlight if you’re at a coffee shop, and your images will appear vibrant and natural. If natural light is out of the question, you can even make the best use of external light source like a street lamp to your advantage for taking that artsy photograph.
Zoom compromises the picture quality
Similar to the camera flash, the ability to use digital zoom to zone in on a particular aspect of your picture can seem quite useful in theory. But the fact of the matter is that digital zoom is nowhere near as effective as optical zoom when it comes to photography, and can end up compromising the picture quality to the point that it becomes pixelated and distorted.
Since every modern Android camera comes with at least 12 megapixels to start with, cropping your image is a great substitute to zooming in. Rather than using the zoom option on your Android device, capture the scene as it is and later use the crop option in the image gallery to edit the image the way you like. Not only would this help you keep the quality intact, but also give you a wider view of the elements when editing the image.
Burst mode is your ally
No matter how “professional” your Android’s camera may seem, the bottom line is that it comes nowhere close to the capabilities of a DSLR camera. Hence, making the best out of the digital photography features that Android has to offer can help you capture the perfect image, even if isn’t just a single image.
Whether you’re taking a selfie, capturing that gorgeous scenery, or posting your lunch on Instagram, the burst mode feature will help you click the right picture. By simply holding down on the shutter button of the camera app, you can activate the burst mode, which takes rapid-fire photos in HDR. You can then sit back and browse through these dozens of photos, find the perfect one and simply delete the rest.
Best Android photo editor apps and camera apps
While the dream of competing with a DSLR camera might be out of reach just yet, there is one field where Android takes the front seat. Thanks to the Google Play Store which harbors hundreds and thousands of the best camera apps and photo editor apps, capturing the best picture and editing it instantly is easier than ever. Whether you want to try out some extravagant shooting styles or play around with filters, these are the best Android camera apps to work with.
Best camera apps for manual photography
While the camera sensor on Android devices is well-programmed for automatically capturing images, any self-respecting photographer would choose manual every time. While the ability to adjust camera controls such as ISO, Light-metering, focus and other aspects is common on DSLR cameras, only a handful of Android devices offers the option for manual photography. This is where the Camera FV-5 app comes into play, bringing raw photography features to any Android device instantly.
The app comes with features to adjust all the photography parameters instantly, along with a viewfinder to help you see the exposure time, aperture and stops display and a whole lot more. With multiple focusing features, ability to save images in RAW format for processing, and locking system for white balance and auto exposure, Camera FV-5 is a great way to familiarize with manual controls on the camera.
Another excellent choice among Android camera apps, ProShot offers similar features for manual photography, but with a cleaner and minimalist design. With features like grid overlay to help you keep your shots straight, manual ISO, exposure, focus, white balance and other controls, that even supports 4K video capturing on supported Android devices.
To give you a taste of some extra features, ProShot comes with HDR, Night, and Action scene mode, manual focus with assist, and bracketing options as well. Apart from the ability to shoot and save images in multiple formats for processing, the app comes with a feature called Light Painting mode that gives you an inside view of your captured image as it is being developed by the app.
Best Android photo editor apps
Born and bred in the Google workshop, Snapseed is easily one of the best photo editing apps for Android that you will ever get your hands on. Built for beginners and veteran photographers alike, the app is built with a simplified user interface that allows you to vertically scroll through the different image enhancement controls and adjust the intensity with a horizontal slider bar.
Starting with something as basic as color modification and brushing, the app is packed with 29 different tools and filters for sharpening images, cropping, fine-tuning, and more. Whether you are working on a portrait mode and need features for face enhancement, filter settings, and tone adjustment, or a scenic image that needs some lens blur effect and white balance, Snapseed is a single app that can do it all.
Adobe Photoshop Express
Probably the most recognizable name in editing tools worldwide, Adobe Photoshop has created its “Express” version for Android devices. Don’t expect the entire armada of editing features that the computer version of Photoshop offers, but the simplified and minimalist design does make sense on the smaller screen. Adobe Photoshop Express is the easiest way to click and edit pictures on the go, helping you perfect the little oddities in your photos.
To start off with the basics, you get to play around with the ability to crop images, remove red eye and pet eye effects. The app is packed with manual adjustment options for color tuning, bordering, more than 20 filters and photo effects, along with a lazy “Auto-Fix” option to make color adjustments and white balance in a single tap. You can also unlock additional effects such as one-touch filters, noise reduction and defog with the premium version of the app.
PicsArt Photo Studio & Collage
The next step in the world of the best photo editor apps for Android, PicsArt is a micro social media network in itself, helping photography enthusiasts connect. However, the app is a photo editor first, packed with thousands of features to create cut-outs, add texts and graphics to images, modify the backgrounds, creating borders, making overlays and so much more.
To add some funk to you images, PicsArt is also packed with the ability to not only use but create and share customized stickers with other users. While the photography features to create collages and customizable drawing area with the free-to-edit feature, PicsArt offers socializing features to share your creation with other users, participate in contests, and challenge others to a photography standoff.
Noteworthy photo editor apps and camera apps
PhotoScan by Google Photos
Photographs are not just for creating new memories, but for reliving the old ones, and this is exactly what the PhotoScan app does. Printed photos have become obsolete and are rather perishable, so Google has created the PhotoScan app to help you capture the images, process them into digital files, and store it along with Google Photos so that you never lose a cherished memory.
The capturing technology enables you to capture glare-free images of the printed photos, automatically crop the edges of the photo with the detection tool, and smart rotation so that your images stay upright, regardless of the direction you scan it in. Once digitally rendered, you can save it to with your Google account and access them using the Google Photos app.
Microsoft Hyperlapse Mobile
As a photography enthusiast, you probably have seen those awe-inspiring time-lapse videos and wondered if you could create one yourself. Out of all the developers out there, Microsoft surprisingly has one of the best camera apps called the Hyperlapse Mobile app, which helps you shoot time-lapse videos with ease.
Apart from the ability to shoot a video and create a time-lapse version of it right away, this app also allows you to create a time-lapse mode of videos you have already saved on your device. With variating speed from 1x to 32x and the ability to shoot these videos in both 720p and 1080p full-HD, there’s also the ability to keep the audio of the time-lapse video if you want it.
Finishing it off
With the rise of social media apps like Instagram (which is among the best photo editor apps in itself), there has been a sharp rise in camera apps on the Google Play Store. Since most of them are basically a collection of filters and color adjustment features, the photography apps listed above are some of the most diverse ones you can find.
Which is your absolute favorite among these camera apps, and what’s your choice among the best photo editor apps for Android? Do sure to mention it in the comments if we missed out on it, or share your own Android photography tips on the Updato Forum.