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Smart-phone-tography: Making Your Smart Phone Photos Fabulous!

This post was written for Making the World Cuter by professional photographer Heather Palmer.

If you own a smart phone, especially an iPhone or one of the new android phones, it’s more than likely replaced the point & shoot camera you used to carry around in your purse. No longer are the days when we walk around with our fancy mini-cameras photographing our kids every move…we now have phones to do that job for us. So, since the majority of the population are carrying around in-phone 8+ megapixel cameras…it’s important for us to utilize some of the divine options, applications & opportunities that they have to offer. These are some of my favorite apps for photos.When I first got my iPhone 4s, I was amazed by the quality of the photos it could produce. I am still amazed! And don’t even get me started on the convenience of being able to carry around ONE item that does everything for me. But my one complaint about using it to take all of these cute photos of my kids was, that they never left my phone. Thus the exploration of photo apps began for me…and I am going to share my favourite discoveries with you today! Here are a few tips & apps that have made my smart-phone photos better, and more useful!

Apps for Photos

CAMERA AWESOMECamera Awesome This app was released by SmugMug and is a free iPhone application. Hard to believe because it’s…get this…AWESOME! This fabulous app has several great features, but the ones I primarily utilize are as follows:

  • Burst Mode. This app has two separate continuous shooting modes; one that snaps about 2 photos per second at full resolution and one that snaps about 5-6 photos per second at a lower resolution. Burst mode is perfect for us moms trying to snap photos of our temporarily cooperative little ones!
  • Horizon Level. In the composition menu there is a “Horizon” option that helps you make sure you are holding your camera steady and level while shooting. Especially effective with landscape or where a horizon line is involved in the background.
  • Awesomization. By simply using the “Awesomizing” slider tool, the app brightens your photo, increases colour & contrast and…well…”Awesomizes” your photo in a matter of seconds. Plus, enjoy a creative array of descriptive terms while the awesomization process happens.

Camera Awesome TipsCAMERA + (PLUS)Camera Plus Icon

Personally, I think this app should replace the standard iPhone camera. It’s super simple and extremely effective. Even my 6 year old has no trouble using it to take photos, editing them and emailing them to my mom. So even if you rarely touch your in phone camera, this app will make taking photos easy and fun!

This application has many of the same features as Camera Awesome, and a couple of extras. The top things I use this app for are:

  • Touch exposure and focus; touch first with your finger to focus your photo, and touch a 2nd finger to properly expose the shot before you take it.
  • Stabalizer; Use this feature to steady your shots for sharper photos
  • Highest Quality Zoom; Camera + has a 6x digital zoom feature that in my opinion in far superior than competing apps.
  • Photo Flashlight; Use the LED flash as a fill light to improve your images and fill in shadows
  • Timer Mode: Moms usually play photographer, often leaving us out of the memories. The timer feature is nice because sometimes you just want to be in some of those shots.
  • Burst Modes; I personally find that Camera + has a more responsive Burst Mode than Camera Awesome, but on the downside I don’t find the quality of the photos to be quite as good as the 2-shot Burst photos taken in Camera Awesome
  • Multiple touch up modes; Quick edit your photos with one click options like Night, Portrait, Scenery, Sunset, etc
  • Easy Editing; With Camera + you can quite literally take a photo, click on it and begin the editing process immediately. Very efficient.
  • Easy Delete Options; With Camera Awesome you have to delete one photo at a time…which can take forever if you shoot in burst mode. Camera + allows you to select and delete several photos at once.
  • Share Your Photos; This app has a quick sharing option for Social Media sites like Facebook, Twitter & Flickr as well as Email, instant message & web sharing.Instagram Tutorials


Instagram Icon

My number one, all time favourite app for smart-phone-tography is INSTAGRAM! It’s my newest addiction, obsession, lover, friend! Yes…that’s how much I favour this app! I could spend ages on it browsing my friends photos, discovering new photos that rank “popular”or have particular hashtags according to what I feel like discovering…or just loading and creating my own! When you realize the fun you can have with this app both in and out of your smart phone, you will be addicted too!

Basically, Instagram is a free photosharing program that allows you to take, or import a photo, apply a digital filter and share it any which way you please. With quick share options to many of the most popular social media websites, posting is made easy! Instagram also connects you to the Instagram network allowing you to share your photos with your Instagram friends or followers. I love this feature! It’s basically like Facebook (and is now owned by them also)….but it’s just for photos. (And don’t worry, for those of you just using it to take photos of your kids, there are great privacy features as well). My only Instagram complaint is that the in-app camera isn’t great for action photos, so I suggest using one of the apps I previously discussed for snapping the original photo. Then touch it up before importing it into Instagram.

For some sample feeds, join Instagram for free and check me out at This Link, username lollydohbird.

Instagram Photos

So, now that you have a few great apps to take, edit and share your photos with…let’s talk about the fun ways you can use them. I’m going to stick with Instagram for this next topic because as I mentioned before….I LOVE IT! Since Facebook purchased Instagram, it seems like everyone is going crazy for this app! And now that our phones are full of priceless moments…we are discovering that businesses are getting on board to help us print these memories in very chic ways! After all….we want to do more than just share them online! So, here are a few of my favourite ways to enjoy my Instagram photos in print!

Instagram Photo Magnets


There really is something about Instagram that makes people look a little bit better. Their filters have a way of making people look more tanned, have brighter eyes, or slightly airbrushed (I especially like this in photos of myself). So we’d be silly not to display them around our homes!! With your Instagram account you can connect to sites like Printagram where you can pick and choose from a variety of products like prints, stickers, mini books and posters.
(this collage below are sample products from Printagram, photos have been taken from their site).

Get your images off your phone


Gone are the days of alphabet magnets at my house! My fridge is now covered in Stickygram magnets taken right from my Instagram photos! Each sheet of 9 magnets goes for about $15 and you’ll have a hard time choosing your favourites. Not only do I love having them at my house, but they make for excellent gifts!





Other ways to display your Instagram photos:

Casetagram: Easily connect with your Instagram account and use photos to design a custom case for the phone (or iPad) that took those fabulous photos!
Coastergram: Turn your Instagrams into your own personalized drink coasters.

So there you have it, some fun ways to use your in-phone camera and apps to create memories that will last a life time….especially if you stick them on your fridge. Now go forth and have fun!


Now It’s Your Turn!

What app or service do you love for your smart phone photos that you would add to this list? Which of these have you tried? Share in the comments!

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Tiffany is a stay at home mom to four ridiculously cute kids and wife to one smoking hot Mc Dreamy lookalike. She loves remodeling, chocolate chip cookies and sunshine. She is the founder of Making the World Cuter, a site committed to doing just what the title states; Making the world cuter, one kid, DIY, yummy treat or crafty thing at a time.

Latest posts by Tiffany @Making the World Cuter (see all)


  1. janmary3 says

    You have listed 2 of my fave apps already – camera + and instagram. The “clarify” in camera + is amazing!!Also use snapseed and diptic on a regular basis. Love my iPhone and Iphoneography. (I’m Janmary on Instagram)

    • HeatherCPalmer says

      @janmary3 I use snapspeed also. I love it but I find new iphoneographers can have a hard time with it.