As an outdoor photographer I always have to deal with Mother Nature. It isn’t possible to predict Mother Nature, but there are some great tools that gives me more insight for a reasonable price.
Before I go on the road, I always check the weather for that day. When I’m on location mostly I check the weather again with my smartphone and often I wanna know where the sunrise or sunset exactly is taking place. Over the past few years I have collected all kind of great apps for my smartphone, that made things a lot easier. Therefore I made a list of great cheap/free apps (qualified with stars) to share with you, so you can take your benefits!
1. The Photographer Ephemeris (€7,99) *****
TPE helps you to plan outdoor photography shoots, particulary in landscape and urban scenes. It’s a map-centric sun and moon calculator (per hour), that will show you how the light (sun, moon or both) will fall on the land, day or night, for any location on earth. Further it has included sun, moon and twilight stats, but the most important one, it works in OFFLINE mode! Check also the TPE software program for your pc, which has the same name, at photoephemeris.com!
2. LightTrac (€4,49) *****
When you think it can’t be better, than there is LightTrac! This magnificient app has the same features as TPE, but this app also includes a shadow viewer for any elevation at any time and you can share and export your locations with fellow photographers via email. Also in the OFFLINE MODE you can check your saved locations. I ranked this app also 5 stars.
3. Best Photo Times+ (free) (in-app update purchase €1,79) ****
This app has many the same features as TPE and LightTrac, but this one is free to download. Best Photo Times+ simulates the position of both the sun and moon on every location where you place your pin (like in Google Maps) on the map. It helps you to determine the best shooting time to compose your pictures based on the direction of the light for any moment and any location. Other features like sun and moon stats are also included with the in-app update. Also this app has an OFFLINE mode! I gave this app 4 stars.
4. Sun Seeker: 3D Augmented Reality Camera (€5,99) ****
Sun Seeker: 3D Augmented Reality Camera shows you, in combination with your mobile camera, an overlay of the sun’s path and position on any time. So yes, this feature predicts the exact sunrise or sunset position, while you’re looking through the camera of your mobile! Further it is the ability to view solar path for that day, solar angle with elevation and shadow length ratio, which gives a pretty cool look at your camera! I gave this app 4 stars, because it has this camera view feature, but you can live without it!
5. Golden Hour Lite (free) ****
When you’re chasing locations around sunrise or sunset, you must have this app! Golden Hour Lite tells you the exact times of all the different twilights, sunrise, sunset and the Golden Hour in a great looking interface! Don’t forget to check there website at golden-hour.com! 4 stars, because this app shows you not only any photography time that matters, but also the classic Golden Hour time that garanties beautiful photos!
6. Rego (free) (in-app update purchase €4,49) ***
Bookmark your favorite place, record those memories with notes and take a picture, find and browse your places easily by organizing them in collections and export those to Dropbox. If it’s the place where you are, where you want to go, or where you’ve been, you can save it with Rego. If saving a maximum of 10 places not enough for you, you can update to unlimited with the in-app update purchase. 3 stars for this app!
7. Pocket Light Meter ***
Do you still photograph with film, or do you want a check on your manual settings with your digital camera? Pocket Light Meter is the app to measure reflected light and allows reciprocity calculations like ISO, aperture value and exposure time. I think this is a great app for film photographers, but not for digital camera users, because the build-in lightmeter of the digital camera is better for sure. But given the emerging smartphone cameras, I have to keep an eye on this app, that’s why I gave it 3 stars.
8. Xposure (free) ***
The Xposure app gives you aperture value, shutter speed, ISO speed and helpful tips for many photography objects and situations like: Full moon, rainbows, cloudy, solar eclipse, different sunsets, underwater, fog and many more! With this app there is always a good setting for your camera in any situation. The depth of field feature in this app is not so good, there are better apps for that, that’s why I ranked this app 3 stars.
9. f/8 DoF Calculator (€3,59) ****
An app that is definitely made to determine the depth of field is the f/8 DoF Calculator! It is certainly an app for advanced photographers, but it’s very easy to use. You can add your camera bodies and lenses in your digital bag, so you’ve fast access to your regularly base. f/8 comes with presets for more than 800 camera models! I gave this app 4 stars, because it’s great functional tool, but with a lot experience this app isn’t a real need.
10. LiveLightning (free) ****
Anyone who has ever chased lightning knows that it’s really difficult without specialised equipment. It is more difficult yet to determine the path of the lightning. With this app from Blitzortung.org (check also there website!) you can get the current lightning data and a brief past of the lightning, so you can predict the lightning path. A must have app when you chase the most difficult and dangerous situations in the world, therefore 4 stars.
11. ZonMaan (free) ***
No need for a cumbersome app, but you have a need for the sun and moon data from the past and the future? Then this app will definitely work for you. The data is also available in OFFLINE mode, so no excuses to not download this app! 3 Stars for the ease and usefulness of this free app!
12. Moonphase (free) ***
A simple app like the Moonphase app is a must have for every photographer. Because many great apps only show moonphase stats in there updated version, you can get the same stats with this free app. Do you want a particulary date in the past or the future, it is possible to show the moonphase with the build in calender! Also 3 stars for the ease and usefulness of this free app!
So that’s it, all 12 great apps! Tell me, do you think this post was helpful to you? Do you have other great, clever or skilled apps that other photographers must have? Don’t hesitate and hit the reply button! I would really appreciated when you let me know what you think of this post?!