Snapshots of Joy: the Best Google Play Apps for Enhancing Your Photography Chops

As we have said before and as everyone knows, most people use their mobile devices as their primary cameras these days. This usually means using one’s smartphone, but it is not at all uncommon to see people wielding their tablets whenever a moment begging to be captured rears its head. We’ll debate the logic of carrying around a n iPad or Galaxy tablet every time you go to the zoo or a birthday party or what-have-you, but the point is that quite often a “smart” device of some stripe will be functioning as a person’s primary camera. And we can get behind that.
Using your mobile device as your camera may limit you in a few ways, such as zoom capability, a likely lack of megapixels (though most phones of today have such high resolution cameras that it hardly matters that a “real” camera offers you many times more quality of resolution), but it also can greatly enhance your life as a photographer, because thanks to all the useful, fun, and wacky apps out there, it’s like you are carrying a whole photo lab (remember those? Dark room?) and editing suite right there in your hand! Here are some of our favorite apps for the budding Ansell Adams out there.

5 PicsArt Photo Studio

Once you get to know PicsArt Photo Studio app a bit, you’ll be amazed it was a free download. This is that all-in-one kind of deal we were talking about. It turns your mobile device into a fun and intuitive editing suite, letting you manipulate pictures in ways that feel like Photoshop, Instagram, and even MS Paint have combined into one fine package. From simple cropping and the standard effects (think B&W or solarize) to drawing on images (think mustaches, of course) to more in depth editing, like working with color saturation, light manipulation, etc. this app lets you work with your photos on a level that you would have happily paid a few bucks for.

4 InstaPicFrame

InstaPicFrame for Instagram. You know you’re going to use Instagram all the time, so you might as well have the app that makes it the easiest to synch with the ever-popular site. You can quickly upload images in a variety of templates to Instagram as to Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Oh, and it’s a free app, so there’s that, too.

3 Fast Burst Camera

Bam! Fast Burst Camera! In the time it took to say that aloud, you could have taken 30 pictures with this awesome app (assuming it took you 1 second to say “Bam, fast burst camera”). A great app for fun, but also for study, it lets your device capture all those frames with great clarity, letting you examine a moment in more detail than you would have thought possible. For sports or for science projects and everything in between, if you want to isolate the details of a transient moment in time, this app will let you do it. And the pictures just look awesome, too, which is merit in and of itself.

2 Paper Camera

Paper Camera is one of the most fun apps we have played around with. You can practically turn your world into a comic book or abstract art at the click of a few buttons (or taps on the screen, as the case may be). The app lets you take your pictures and immediately convert them into images that look like pencil sketches, oil or pastel paintings, etc. It sort of reminds us of the cult classic film Waking Life which, if you haven’t seen, go see and then get this app. Life will imitate art!

1 Camera ZOOM FX Android

Those of you who are paying close attention may accuse us of picking the low-hanging fruit, as indeed we put this app in the #1 spot of our Best Paid apps list… but it’s just a great bit of software! The Camera ZOOM FX Android app has been bought by a million+ people because it is a great app. To quote Lifehacker: “The Best Camera App for Android.” Zoom FX gives you myriad effects, filters, and shooting modes, all of them practical and amusing. It takes your mobile device’s camera a step closer to acting like a “real” camera, and it also makes linking/uploading photos to social media, the greater web, and email a snap, so it better integrates your device with the wider world. A great app.

We reiterate our certainty that you use your mobile device as your primary camera, and now that you’ve reached the end of this list, our confidence in that assertion has grown. More importantly, we hope your confidence as a mobile device photographer has grown some too. You’ll certainly enjoy some of these apps, at the least, and they may just make you delve into picture taking as a serious hobby.

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