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Do you want to understand your camera and take great photos today?

Yes Please

Having an iPhone on you is already half the battle for good pictures. But you also need the right apps. But what is the best iPhone camera app?

We’ve found the top seven best iPhone camera apps for you. All you have to do is download them.

Close up of a hand with pink nail polish using an iphone camera app

7. Native iPhone Camera App

Not only is this free, it is already installed. When you go to take an image with your iPhone, this is the go-to app.

What you may miss are the DSLR-like manual controls. This means you can’t set the shutter speed, ISO or white balance. If you want manual control of these settings you’ll need to use a third-party camera app.

I use this camera app to capture, then use a free service like Lightroom CC to edit the images. It may take a few clicks, but at the end of the day, it’s free and does what I need.

For traditional still images, choose Photo mode. If you prefer a square, use Square mode. Pano mode is for capturing super-wide panoramic photos. This mode is fantastic for landscape photography.

On top of this, you have dedicated Timelapse and Slo-mo modes. On newer models, you’ll find Portrait mode which allows you to create a shallow depth of field effect. The subject stays sharp while the background appears blurred.

One of the things I especially like is the Live feature. When you take a photo, the camera captures a 3-second video including the moments before and after you press the shutter. Switch this on by using the circle icon at the top of the screen.

Setting the focus is easy. Just tap the screen to where you want to set the focus. To lock focus, tap and hold. this means you don’t have to reset the exposure each time.

Exposure is changed by dragging your finger up or down on the screen.

Adjusting the exposure (brightness) of your photo is also easy. Swipe up to make it brighter or down to make it darker.

To top it all off, you get a flash and HDR mode that will help you find a balance between the highlights and shadows.

There isn’t much not to like about this app, and it’s standard!

Overall: ★★★★☆

close up of a person using an iPhone to take a photo outdoors - best iPhone camera app

6. VSCO App

VSCO is one of my favourite apps, as it was one of the first I found. I like their simplicity, and the tweakable settings hidden in the already provided presets.

There is a huge array of image manipulation tool available using this treasure.

Exposure, contrast, clarity, straightening, temperature, skin tones, vignette, and a whole lot more. Phew. VSCO is primarily an editing app, but its built-in camera is plenty capable.

You get all the things you would expect. Adjustable focus, easily changeable white balance, ISO, shutter speed, and exposure.

If you have a newer iPhone model, you can even shoot in RAW.

Like all free apps, there is a catch. VSCO is a free download, but you only get a handful of filters in the free version.

As they are trying to build a photo-sharing community, you have to sign up for a free account before you can even use the app.

To unlock the app’s real power, you have to subscribe to VSCO X. This is a $19.99 annual service that gives you access to all their filters and tools.

Overall: ★★★★☆

Screenshot of VSCO iPhone editing app

5. ProCam 5

ProCam 5 gives you all the advanced controls you will ever need. Opening ProCam 5 might be a little intimidating as you see all the settings immediately.

And there are more the further you delve into the program.

There is a steep learning curve. This means it will take a little time to get used to the operating concept. But as you’ll see, there are tips to help move you along from one setting to another.

Looking at the bottom bar on the main screen, you swipe a dial to access some of the settings. You can play with the white balance, ISO, focus placement, exposure and the shutter speed.

At the top of the same area, you’ll find the flash settings, and can set the image format.

Here you can also switch lenses, but only if you have an iPhone that has dual lenses to begin with.

Another toolbar you’ll find at the top displays the current settings for the image. The flash and exposure levels are located here.

Overall: ★★★☆☆

Screenshot of ProCam 5 best iPhone camera app

4. Obscura 2

Obscura 2 is our minimalist approach to advanced camera photo apps. The best thing is that each of the main tools works the same way, allowing you to guide yourself easily without confusion.

Tap the Expose button and spin the dial to tweak the exposure. Repeat to manually fix the Focus.

Do the same thing to correct the ISO and shutter speed settings. The control wheel is your friend in this handy app.

Image formats can be changed from JPG to HEIF to RAW. Telephoto can be switched to wide-angle, as long as your iPhone has dual lenses.

You can also set up the flash and self-timer, turn on grid lines and levels easily.

There are 19 included filters, from Mono to Woodgrain, and you can easily apply them.

If you love filters, you can purchase a seven-filter black-and-white pack or a seven-filter Analogue set.

We love the simplicity, and we think you will too.

Overall: ★★★☆☆

Screenshot of Obscura 2 best iPhone camera app

3. Halide

Halide knows that their opening screen can be a little confusing. So they provide a helpful manual. That’s when you know an app is serious.

On the live view, exposure is easily tweaked by moving your finger around the screen. A histogram can be turned on to gauge your exposure adjustments. Swiping left to right allows you to jump from autofocus to manual focus.

Screen touches and pinches also change exposures. Tapping a button bounces you between telephoto and the wide-angle view. This is only for those iPhones with dual lenses.

From here, you can set up the white balancing and tweak the ISO numbers for further fine-tuning.

The Quick Bar unveils more tools, and all you have to do is swipe upwards. These extra controls let you adjust the flash, access the timer, enable RAW mode and turn on grid lines.

These controls are easily customisable by dragging and dropping them.

One special feature we like is the Depth Peaking. This is where the three-dimensional depth of your subject becomes analysed. Sorry kids, it’s only available for those dual-lens iPhone models.

Advanced settings let you choose how RAW images become processed and saved. You can also tell the app when to use JPG or TIF.

There are handy location limits when posting a photo on social media such as Instagram.

Halide doesn’t include an editor, but it does provide a photo reviewer. By tapping on the photo thumbnail the app displays key metadata.

The date, time, shutter speed, ISO and image format are all found here.

Overall: ★★★★☆

Screenshot of Halide best iPhone camera app

2. ProCamera

ProCamera is an advanced picture-taking app with a huge array of features. From the get-go, you control the flash, snap via the self-timer and adjust the exposure through an onscreen dial. HDR (High-Dynamic Range) or lowlight shooting is also found here.

Tapping in this mode opens the manual controls. Here, setting the white balance, adjusting the ISO while changing the shutter speed are all easily accessible.

Extra features include enabling anti-shake, turning on helpful grid lines and locking the focus and exposure.

Formats can change from JPG to TIF to HEIF to RAW. There is even a histogram to finely tune the exposure levels. If you have an iPhone with dual lenses, you can easily switch among wide, telephoto and dual modes.

What we like about ProCamera is the separate focus and exposure sliders via the dedicated onscreen controls.

Full-screen mode lets you tap anywhere on the screen to take a picture. When you are finished, you can use the app to edit the images too!

Plus, if this all wasn’t enough, you can send your photos directly to Creative Cloud.

Overall: ★★★★☆

Screenshot of ProCamera iPhone camera app

1. Camera+ 2

Camera+ 2 is the sequel to the awesome Camera+ app. This version comes with more convenient controls, updated filters and an integrated lightbox. to top it off, they developed simpler ways to switch camera modes. There is a friendly home screen with easy access to all the major controls.

You can access macro view or portrait mode with a simple tap. You can also switch between telephoto and wide-angle modes easily. The onscreen slider lets you zoom in and out.

You can change the aspect ratio from portrait to square to landscape. Perfect for those Instagam hounds.

The best feature is that you can opt to save a photo in RAW format. Grid lines, a leveller and geotagging are also welcome additions to the new and improved app.

To adjust the exposure, tap the screen with two fingers. Focus separately with two different controls.

Setting the white balancing, adjusting the shutter speed and changing the ISO all happens from here.

In terms of shooting modes, there is Smile, to detecting when your subject is smiling. Stabilizer, to shoot when your hands are steady. Slow Shutter, for long exposures; and Burst, to snap a series of shots, ensuring you nailed it.

When you’re done shooting, share your photos or view their metadata via Lightbox. As a bonus, you can edit them from here.

Aside from adjusting the size, cropping and exposure, you can continue to play.

Different colour temperatures and filters are there to spice up your photos.

Overall: ★★★★★

Screenshot of Camera+2 best iPhone camera app

A note from Josh, ExpertPhotography's Photographer-In-Chief:

Thank you for reading...

CLICK HERE if you want to capture breathtaking images, without the frustration of a complicated camera.

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Craig Hull

Craig is a photographer currently based in Budapest. His favourite photographic areas are street and documentary photography. Show him a darkroom and he'll be happy there for days. As long as there are music and snacks. Find him at and Instagram/craighullphoto

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