After reading that the average American spends 58 minutes a day on their smartphone, the only question we have is, ONLY 58 minutes? It seems like most Millennials consider their iPhones and Droids an extension of their appendages, and their hands feel like useless claws without a phone in them. These devices connect us to our friends, help us find our way, share our experiences, entertain us — in short, they enable us to live our lives as we know them.
In celebration of the fact that most people would rather give up their opposable thumbs than their smartphones, this is RYOT’s first installment of a column that introduces you to the latest apps you never knew you couldn’t live without. Get ready to spend more than 58 minutes plugged in.
Remember the last time someone broke out a digital camera? Us neither. The convenience of smartphones have eclipsed the need to carry a separate camera, which seem like an unnecessary step in the point-click-edit-share modern photography process. This week, we’re taking you beyond Instagram and bringing you five apps that will up your iPhonetography game.
1. VSCO Cam
Why it’s hot: This photo editing tool has been gathering quite a buzz from the mobile photography community with its beautiful, understated filters, handy editing tools and in-app photo organization.
Download this if: you’re a visual snob and Instagram’s filters feel just too pedestrian and limiting.
The only thing we don’t love is: that some of the filters have an additional cost, and we want all of them.
Why it’s hot: Retain the landscape or portrait orientation of your favorite pictures with this app that considers itself the easiest way to upload original sized photos to Instagram. Less publicized are the app’s handy photo editing tools that focus on facial retouching like blemish reduction and teeth whitening.
Download this if: you want to retain the integrity of your full size pictures… and edit the hell out of your close ups.
The only thing we don’t love is: it encourages selfies.
3. Paper Camera
Why it’s hot: Initially we disregarded this app as being more gimmicky than useful, but after playing with it for a bit, we’re big fans of the illustration effects it easily imposes over photos. It offers a whole new way to look at your pictures, and is especially beautiful for still life and and outdoor landscapes.
Download this if: you’re feeling artsy.
The only thing we don’t love is: we wish you could crop within the app to avoid having to open two apps, but you can’t have everything.
Why it’s hot: Easily add text to your photos in any font, size and color you desire with Phonto. Of all the text editors, this one made it to the top of the list because of its customization options.
Download this if: you think pictures say a thousand words, but you’re still feeling chatty.
The only thing we don’t love is: Multiple lines of text can layer and get difficult to move around.
Why it’s hot: Long touted by photography snobs as being the smartphone’s answer to professional snaps, Camera+ (not Camera Plus!) enables you to take pictures with advanced shooting modes. Adjust exposure, stabilize, zoom and use the touch focus tools to produce images so sharp that no one will believe they came out of a phone.
Download this if: you’re focused on the quality of your photos rather than the filters.
The only thing we don’t love is: it’s such a robust tool that it could get slightly confusing for amateur photographers unfamiliar with tools and terminology.
RYOT NOTE: These new apps will ensure that your smartphone photos look as good as possible, but when you’re ready to upgrade your device for a newer, shinier model with a better camera, remember to donate your old phone. Medic Mobile recycles smartphone e-waste and donates mobile technologies to developing communities. Check them out and Become the News.