iPhone as a Photography Tool: Innovation Continues

Since October, users have developed a number of new ways to use the camera, and there are several innovative third-party applications that anyone interested in photography should have on their iPhone: QuadCamera, Light and Air Photo.

The iPhone 3G brought changes in shape, function, features, etc., relative to original model, but, to the dismay of many cell phone, photographers, the device retains the same 2.0 megapixel camera. Apple enhanced the camera by coupling the camera to the GPS features of the iPhone 3G to enable photo geotagging, but this did little to calm the complaints about the camera's resolution, lack of flash and other features available on a few other phones. Last October, I wrote a lengthy article about the state of photography on the iPhone and, months later, I'm still amazed by what people are doing with the iPhone's built-in camera. Since October, users have developed a number of new ways to use the camera, and there are several innovative third-party applications that anyone interested in photography should have on their iPhone: QuadCamera, Light and Air Photo.


QuadCamera (iTunes Link), priced at $1.99, takes a series of photos in quick succession and assembles them into a grid. You can choose from different grid layouts and sizes (see photo), choose between color or black and white and you can adjust the length of time between which each photo is taken between 0.25 of a second and 3 seconds.

The app is very efficient and the results are great. All the shots taken with the app are automatically saved to your camera roll and due to the app being used to capture action shots it does not ask you to save them. You can just go to the camera roll later and get rid of any photos you don't like. Some people don't like that, but I thought it just made me more efficient. I can focus on grabbing good shots and worry about the rest later.

QuadCamera's developer, Takayuki Fukatsu, has developed a Flash application, QuadAnimator, that takes the stills from QuadCamera and makes them into miniature animations.

You can see a lot of samples of what the Flash application can do here. A YouTube video demo of QuadCamera is shown below.


We've written about artistic type tools that enhance the pictures taken with the iPhone camera, and we recently discovered another one called Light (iTunes Link), also priced at $1.99, from Digital Film Tools.

This app lets you add realistic lighting effects to your photos. It also allows you to add shadows, using digital versions of the gobo library created by Gamproducts. Gobos (patterns) are widely used by lighting designers in theater, film, photography and television to enhance the visual impact of their lighting. Using the Light app, you can apply these patterns digitally to your entire image or just inside of a selected area of the image.


Gobos from the Gamproducts collection, which Light supports, are arranged into categories: Breakups, Foliage, Lights, Sky and Windows, and are controlled with on-screen controls allowing adjustment of light position, rotation, and size. The developer included built-in accelerometer functionality so that a shake can produce a random gobos effect or completely reset effects restoring the photo to its original state.

Air Photo

The aforementioned tools let you enhance your photos. The question is: what are you going to do with them? One thing you can do is print them with an application called Air Photo (iTunes Link), on sale at press time for $.99 and regularly priced $1.99, from Sudobility.

We previously covered this app here .

Air Photo is a WiFi printing application that is accompanied by a small free server application for Mac or Windows. The server application allows the iPhone to communicate with your computer and it acts as a print server.

I installed the server software on my iMac, launched the server software , installed the iPhone app, turned Wi-Fi on on the iPhone and Air Photo instantly connected to the iMac via Wi-Fi. No hassles and nothing to configure. It just worked! I was using an Epson RX-580 printer connected to my iMac.

I launched the iPhone App and it went to my iPhone library and my camera roll. I had the option of taking a new picture if I wanted to, but I chose an existing photo of my Dachshund Bertha.

Bertha's photo appeared on the screen in the print dialog window and I liked that feature. Air Photo has auto-rotation and you don't have to tell it to use portrait or landscape. Photos can be cropped or you can use white space.


These three apps are available altogether for under $7, add considerable amount of functionality to the mediocre 2.0 megapixel camera.


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