How to get appsolutely perfect pics
The days of the digital camera could be numbered, with smartphones now able to shoot high-quality photos and video. There's a range of excellent apps to get the most out of your photos - and all for less than the price of a cup of coffee.
By TapTapTap; iPhone, iPad; $1.29
A one-stop-shop photo shooting, sharing and editing app, and a real favourite among iPhone users. It has a range of handy tools so you can tap to adjust exposure and focus, set a timer to take a self-portrait, add special effects, get rid of red eye, and then flick your creations on to friends and family through Facebook, Twitter and Flickr.
By Burbn; iPhone, iPad and Android; free
Instagram hardly needs an introduction - it's the app that 80 million people around the world use to add retro and other effects to their smartphone flicks before sharing them with Instagram users and social network contacts. The app is so popular Facebook shelled out US$1 billion for it earlier this year.
By Hipstamatic; iPhone and iPad; $2.59
It's been overshadowed by rival Instagram, but Hipstamatic is another popular choice for giving your snaps an old-school feel.
By Justin.tv; iPhone, iPad and Android; free
Other apps, including the one already built into your smartphone, let you shoot video but SocialCam makes sharing your clips much smoother. You can film videos of any length, and share them across Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, and via email and multimedia text. SocialCam stores your films in the cloud (the internet) so you can access them from any web-connected device.
By Itil; iPhone, iPad and Android; free
Keeping track of photos scattered all over sites, such as Facebook, Picasa, Twitter and Instagram, can be a headache. Enter Woven Photo Viewer, which pulls together pics from photo-sharing services into one place for easy viewing, regardless of whether you are connected to the web.
By Nik Software; iPhone, iPad; $6.49
Another firm favourite for the more serious smartphone snappers, Snapseed is a feature-rich editing app. You can apply a range of cool filters, autocorrect colour and exposure, tune a bunch of settings such as white balance and saturation, and crop and sharpen your shot (among other things), before impressing friends on services such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
By Factyle; iPhone, iPad; free
Cinemagram lets you shoot a short film and then mask it so only a part of it - such as the main subject - is animated. The result is a fun hybrid between a photo and video. You can also just use the app, which this week was closing in on five million downloads, to share standard video with friends and others.
By Adobe; iPhone, iPad and Android; free
Adobe has some pedigree in photo editing software so it seems only natural that it has released a smartphone app. Photoshop Express lets you introduce a range of effects, for example, to give your pics a warm vintage feel or a white glow, as well as filters and borders. There are all the basic editing tools including cropping and rotating and you can buy extra tools in the app, such as extra effects and noise-reduction and self-timer features.
By Nexvio; iPhone and iPad; $2.59
The Instagram for video, this app lets you apply a retro filter and different effects to your amateur video.
By Project Box; $2.45 for Android; $1.29 for iPhone, iPad
Lets you create photobooth-style photos with your smartphone that you can then share on Facebook and Twitter. You can also get your pics printed and delivered to your home or to friends and family.
By Microsoft; iPad, iPhone and Windows Phone devices; free
The ability to shoot panoramic scenes is a neat feature seen in some of today's point and shoot digital cameras, and now you can do the same thing on your smartphone, or iPad. With Photosynth you simply pan across the view and the app creates a panoramic pic. You can even pan up and down as well as left to right so the app creates a full "sphere" view. You can share your panoramic vistas through Facebook and Twitter.
By Wondershare Software; Android; free
A popular panoramic app for Android devices, Wondershare Panorama lets you pan left to right and up and down to create sweeping landscape and portrait scenes, and add fun effects.
By Facebook; iPhone and iPad; free
Given many of our smartphone snaps end up on Facebook anyway, the big blue social networking site has launched an app to get them there easier. The app lets you post a bunch of pics to Facebook at once, and look at all your friends' latest snaps on the site from one place.
By O Street; iPad, iPhone; free
A quirky app that lets you take photos by making a sound or saying a word rather than pressing the shutter button so you can effectively take a pic without touching your phone - great for self-portraits and shaky-hand snappers. You can also control the trigger level so it's not set off by background noise.
By Androidslide; Android; $3.59
Voted the best Android photo shooting and editing app by popular weblog Lifehacker, Camera Zoom FX is packed full of features, including shot stabilisation, fun photo-distorting effects, quick burst and timer shooting modes, filters and colour effects and a voice-activated shutter.
By neilandtheresa; Android; $3.12
Another editing app with more than 70 filters and 50 frames, Vignette also has a range of features to help you snap away, including digital zoom and a self-timer.
By JFDP Labs; $2.49 for Android; $1.29 for iPad, iPhone
An app with a cool selling point, Paper Camera lets you turn the things and people you are photographing or filming into cartoons and other drawings live on your phone screen so you can see the effect as you film or shoot away.
By Snapchat; iPad and iPhone; free
Touted as an app for "real-time picture chatting", Snapchat lets you send photos to friends and others that disappear after several seconds - you choose how long. The app has attracted flak for encouraging "sexting" (the sending of sexually explicit photos) or cyber-bullying as the evidence is quickly deleted, but Snapchat says you can take a screenshot of any photo you receive, although the sender will be notified of this. The app has become popular in Australia, with many young people sending funny portraits of themselves to amuse friends.
Sources: TapTapTap, Apple, Google Play, Instagram, SocialCam, Wall Street Journal, Cinemagram, Adobe, Microsoft, All About Windows Phone, Appolicious, Lifehacker, Androidslide, The Age, The Telegraph, Cnet, USA Today.