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Top 5 Apps for Vacationing Photographers

Nothing beats the size, simplicity, and ease of the smartphone camera. It’s in your pocket anyway, and the built-in camera’s quality and functionality is better than some basic point-and-shoots. Case in point, the newest iPhone and HTC1S both have 8-megapixel cameras. Banking on the smartphone’s photogenic qualities, the app revolution has brought a brood of photo-enhancing add-ons more plentiful than Brangelina’s power-family. We’re not saying you should cut all ties with your multi-lens dSLR, but the five apps below will convert you from smartphone photography novice to virtuoso, proving the best camera is the one you have with you.




As much as the slightly awkward family self-portrait sporting dad’s hairy arm and half of your aunt’s face is a vacation classic—and a likely candidate for—there’s a better way. TimerCam allows you to pick four time-delay settings (in 5, 10, 15, or 30 second increments), and once you hit the camera icon, the app counts down to your moment in the limelight. If you like the shot, save it to your gallery, if you’d prefer to self-snap another, cancel it and set it up again.

Works with: iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. Find an Android version here.




Remember that 1970’s multi-generational photo collage hanging in your childhood friend’s  hallway? Forty years later, there’s an app for that! PicFrame is the modern-day photographer’s way of making vacation photo collages, offering 67 customizable frames, a bevy of filters, plain or patterned backgrounds, and the ability to add labels to each photo. Insert your pics and save the frame for printing, or share it via Facebook or other social media platforms.

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Insider Tip: Don’t want to spend 99 of your hard-earned pennies on a photo collage app? You’re in luck. Less the labels, patterned backgrounds, and rounded corners, Picture Frames FREE has similar functionality and 18 frames to create a three-in-one Kodak moment.

Works with: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and Android.




Not just for hipsters on fixie bikes or food photos, Instagram is the dead-simple, uber-app you can’t stop hearing about. It turns ho-hum photos into (near) Ansel Adams masterpieces (kind of). Add one of 18 photo filters, plus a light room’s worth of photo tricks to snaps taken on-demand or past photos in your gallery. Use the app in "private" mode to spruce photos and save them to your gallery (to impress family and friends later), or use the app’s robust social networking capabilities to share your photos with the world tout suite.

Works with: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and Android.




If a picture’s worth a thousand words, what happens if you add words to that picture? Deep thoughts aside, turn plain photos into magazine cover material with the help of Phonto, a photo-meets-literary app boasting 200 fonts for budding wordsmiths with a penchant for visual arts.

Works with: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and Android.




For many years, the digital photo craze left buying and sending postcards in yesteryear’s dust. Thank goodness for nostalgia and savvy developers behind apps like Postino. Now there’s a way to snap, personalize, and send a digital postcard to your loved ones while you’re sitting in a cafe (with WiFi) in Ibiza. After selecting a photo from your stream, it only takes two minutes to create, pen, and sign your customized postcard, and send it on its merry way.

Works with: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, plus Android and Windows phones.

Insider Tip: For those who haven’t joined the digital revolution (like your 92-yr old grandpa), convert your postcard from digital to physical in a flash. For a small shipping and handling fee, Postino and other apps like fCards will print and send your postcard by mail. Everybody wins, even grandpa.

Bonus: the All-in-One Photo App

We suggest adding all the apps above to your smartphone’s photography collection, but if you’re only going to download one do-it-all photo app, make it Camera+ ($0.99). It’s your smartphone’s version of a Swiss Army Knife with a built-in self-timer, zoom, stabilizer, advanced shooting modes, light room effects, and flash settings (that can be added after you’ve shot the photo). Just think of all those no-flash shots you secretly snapped in museums and churches abroad that can now be brought to life.

All photos courtesy of Trish Friesen

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