Photo Gear,  Photography,  Travel

Top iPhone Apps for Travel Photographers

My iPhone has become one of the most valuable pieces of gear that I carry with me when I travel for photography.  It's small, convenient, and fills a variety of my needs with the multitude of Apps available from the App Store.  This blog focuses on the iPhone, but many similar Apps are available for the Android and other Smartphones.

I'm currently using and iPhone 4 but I'm looking forward to new features from the iPhone 5 ( or the New iPhone) and iOS 6 that will make travel even easier.  These apps (except the clock app) are also available for the iPad.

If you have any suggestions on travel apps, send me an email or post a comment. I’ll test the app out and update the blog.
 
Now on to the top iPhone apps for travel photographers.
 
1.     Alarm Clock.  This function is built right in the Clock app that comes pre-loaded on the iPhone.  You can set and save different alarm times and assign different alarm sounds, as soothing or annoying as you like.  This works great when you are camping under the stars or don’t want to figure out how to use the different alarm clocks in hotel rooms.
2.    Timer.  A timer is great for night photography.  Use it to time the exposure length when photographing star trails or night cityscape photography.  I use the Timer+ app that is free from the AppStore.
iTimer+ App on the iPhone
 
iTimer+ App on the iPhone
 
3.    Local Travel Apps. This isn’t a single app, it’s more of a category of Apps.  When you are traveling to a specific city or location, search the AppStore for your destination.  For example, I found a really good Washington DC metro app for free on the AppStore that really helped me to navigate the city.  There are also quite a few national park apps that can help to find photo opportunities.
4.    Flashlight. This app saved me.  I was photographing the moonbow at Yosemite National Park and I forgot my flashlight.  This app helped me to see the settings on my camera as well as navigate my way back to the car.  There are numerous flashlight apps in the AppStore, most of them called Flashlight.  Most of them are free, so download a couple of them.  One tip is to watch your battery level.  These apps seem to drain the battery fairly quickly.
5.    Evernote.  I use Evernote for several things.  I create a note for planning my trip including hotel reservations, flights, etc. I have another note with a list of photo opportunities with addresses, GPS coordinates, times of day, and other notes on the subject.  The third note is my packing list.  I keep a base packing list and can vary it by the time of year, destination, and type of photography.  The nice thing about Evernote is that they have Apps for iOS, Android, Mac, and the PC. Evernote will keep your notes in sync across all your devices.
6.    Kindle App.  Reading a book on the iPhone.  Really?  I don’t use it to read the books, but to reference them while in the field.  If you buy travel guides or photography books specific to locations, the Kindle App can be handy to reference these guides while in the field.  Keeping books on your Camera available on the iPhone can also be useful if you forget how to use a setting that you don’t use on a regular basis.
 
Apple’s iBook App can also be used for the same purpose.  Your travel documents can also be stored in the iBook App on your iPhone or iPad by printing to PDF and then moving them to the books tab for your device in iTunes.
 
7.    The Photographer's Ephemeris (TPE).  TPE can help you determine the position of the sun and moon at a location you want to photograph.  It will also tell you the position of the sun or moon when it rises or sets.  The app also gives you sunrise and sunset information, twilight information and more.  The App costs $8.99 but is invaluable for landscape and cityscape photographers.
 
The Photographers Ephemeris App on the New iPad
 
The Photographers Ephemeris App on the New iPad
 
Visit my photo destinations page for more great photography locations

6 Comments

  • Parker

    Thanks for the heads up on these app! I love travelling, and over the last few years, one of the things I love about it has become all the different apps out there. I love Lonely Planet LingoPal, which I used in Italy last month, and this alarm app would have come in handy, as the hotel flubbed my wake-up call, and I almost missed the flight home. The Kindle app you mentioned is a necessity, but my favorite app so far is this remote access app by my TV provider and employer, DISH. It allows me to watch live or DVR shows off my home receiver onto my phone, or tablet as long as I’m somewhere with a 3G connection. Thanks again for the great list, I definitely want to check out a few more of these when I go to Vietnam this spring.

    • Martin Belan

      Parker,

      Thanks for the tips on the travel apps. The LingoPal series of apps looks very useful for international travelers. I will have to try this out next time I travel abroad.

      The Dish app does look terrific for travelers. Unfortunately, I have DirecTv and their iPad app only works over your home wifi network. It would be great to watch recorded shows off of hotel wifi or 3G.

      Vietnam sounds like fun! Enjoy.

  • Robert J. Davis

    Very nice and informative article. Giving useful ideas for travellers like us. I have some of these apps on my phone and they are great! We all love to travel and its a good thing that we have these handy. I would also want to share this travel app shared to me by a friend called Call Emergency app which you can download from http://www.gpapps.com.au/call-emergency-app/. 

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