No time of year provides photographic inspiration quite like the holidays. Between parties, home cooking and sharing memories with friends and family, there’s little doubt you’ll bust out your mobile device this season and capture the moments.
Certainly one of the most popular apps is Instagram. It makes taking and sharing photos and videos simple, with elegant filters you can splash on even the grainiest square-shaped images. But if you’re ready to step outside of the conventional Amaro-tinted offerings, check out some other apps that make it easy to capture, edit and share photos and videos.
For Art: VSCO Cam (Free)
VSCO Cam is quickly becoming a favorite in my suite of mobile photography apps. The application has a simple interface that lets you play with and manipulate photos using a variety of features, including filters and editing tools like separate focus and exposure rings. Unlike other apps that show you what your friends are sharing, the minimalist VSCO Journal lets you discover and share images from photographers around the world curated by the VSCO Cam team.
The app already has fantastic filters, but the VSCO Cam store lets you purchase and download additional filters, ranging from free to $.99. Similar to Instagram, the app also lets users create profiles called Grids, although you will be added to a wait list once you sign up, you should be able to access your Grid within a couple days.
See Also: How To Take Awesome Smartphone Photos
For Capturing: ProCapture—Camera + Panorama (Free or $3.99)
For Android users, ProCapture is a great alternative to the built-in camera feature. The app gives users additional features including panorama, wide shot, and reduced noise modes, and an on-screen histogram that monitors exposure, to provide an enhanced photography experience.
Two composition aids—the grid and the Fibonacci spiral - can help you outline the perfect shot.
ProCapture is available on Google Play for $3.99, but there is a free version with limited features the company suggests you try out first.
For A Little Of Everything: Google+ (Free)
Google+ has upped its game in recent weeks, and it is now not only a great place to store photos, but also edit them.
The “Auto Awesome” feature is really, well, awesome. The application automatically enhances photos you capture, highlighting colors, sharpening shots, and detecting perfect smiles even before you login to view your photos.
If you take a variety of pictures on a single plane, Google+ will stitch the photos together to create a panorama, and when you a series of action shots, the application will create a gif-like image. The “Eraser” feature can even get rid of the pesky tourists ruining your photos when you attempt to take a picture in front of a structure or landmark if you snap five shots in a row, while “Smile” chooses the best-looking shots of individuals in your group photos, and combines them into one.
I recommend turning on the auto upload feature if you use a Google+ account. It saves all your images in Google+ (privately, don’t worry), and you can access them from your mobile application or the Web. You can also edit your photos in Google+; the company has incorporated tools from the popular Google-owned Snapseed application into its service.
For Inspiration: Photofy (Free)
If you’ve ever wanted to turn your filtered photos into inspirational messages, this application is for you. Photofy comes with its own suite of filters, but the main feature of the app is the collection of sayings you can overlay onto your image. It’s - dare I say it? - the perfect Tumblr image generator.
Phrases like “Autumn you are so beautiful” and “Think Happy, Be Happy” can be affixed over your image, and you can change the size and color with simple editing tools. It already has a variety of winter designs perfect for the holidays.
For Simple Movie Making: Magisto (Free, $5 or $18 subscription)
Magisto is great for the movie making newbie, or anyone who would like to have a way to automate and share videos. Just like the description says, it’s a magical video editor. A smart interface automatically analyzes, trims and edits the best part of your videos, and you can include up to 25 clips per movie.
Featured effects include camera stabilization, filters, transitions, and unique themes and playlists to make each video different.
The application is free to use, but a premium version for $5 a month or $18 annually includes unlimited cloud storage and SD downloads and lets users create longer movies.
For Collaborating: JumpCam (Free)
Have you ever been to an event with all your friends? You’ve all captured video, but it’s spread across everyone’s mobile devices. JumpCam solves that problem, an easy way for all your friends to add and collaborate on one single video.
With JumpCam, you can film or upload a video clip and invite others to collaborate. Each friend can add his or her own clips and the app automatically loops all the videos into a single reel. Like most multimedia apps, you can add filters and music to create the experience.
For Saving And Sharing: Google+ (Free)
Just like with photos, Google+ is a great place to save, share and edit videos. If you have auto-upload turned on, Google+ automatically stores all videos taken from your mobile device. It’s easy to select video clips and images to then string together into a video. You can edit the length of it, add a soundtrack, and select from a variety of unique filters to create a dynamic video that’s easy to share.
For Full Feature Editing: Cute CUT (Free)
Cute CUT provides more in-depth editing to create clips that can include videos, photos, self-drawing, text, music and voice recordings.
To make a video, simply drag and drop your media segments and begin editing each clip with multi-layer editing tools. There are a ton of tools to choose from, including drawing tools, professional effects like texture and gradients, and transitions.
The standout feature in Cute CUT is the ability to draw on your movie clips, a great way to personalize visuals that can easily be shared on YouTube and Facebook.
Cute CUT is free in the App Store.