Smartphone cameras can’t compete with the image quality you can get with your standalone shooter, but that’s not to say they can’t give you a helping hand when you’re out and about trying to capture beautiful photos.

Scrawl through the Apple App Store or Google Play stores and there’s literally thousands of camera apps on there. Most are built to get more out of the camera on your phone but there’s also a whole host that can provide shooting aids for your DSLR or compact system camera.

We’ve selected five great apps we think will convince you to keep your smartphone to hand on your next shooting expedition.

1. Triggertrap Mobile

Price: Free (camera dongle from £22.99)
Platform: Android and iOS

This nifty little set-up is ideal if you want to shoot gorgeous timelapse videos or even put your high-speed photography skills to the test at a live sporting event. Using the mobile dongle to connect your camera to an iPhone or Android phone, the Triggertrap app can then be activated by sound, like a clap or a whistle, to set off the trigger on your camera. There’s a host of different modes to play with, including a star-trail mode to capture great images of the night sky, and support for long exposure HDR shots.




2. PhotoCaddy

Price: £2.49 (Android), £3.99 (iOS)
Platform: Android and iOS

Owning a great camera is one piece of the puzzle to capturing amazing photos, but it’s also nice to know how to make the most of the key features. PhotoCaddy is like a personal photography aid, helping you pick the right camera settings for different shooting locations and to take more creative images. There’s 500 built-in tips to lean on and the ability to make your own notes for future reference. When you are confident enough with your own shooting, you can also share some of your skills and tips with other PhotoCaddy users.



3. Depth of Field Calculator

Price: £0.79
Platform: iOS

Understanding depth of field is key for landscape photography or when you want the focus firmly on what is going on in the foreground. It’s a tricky thing to get to grips with, but this useful app takes some of the difficulty out of working it out. This app will calculate the distance to the subject and the focal length to find the acceptable near and far distances, in order to give the best results. Diagrams will help illustrate the distance for acceptable focus, whether that’s in metres, millimetres, feet or inches.


4. LightTrac

Price: £3.99
Platform: Android and iOS

One for outdoor photographers, LightTrac helps you find the perfect conditions in which to shoot by calculating the angle of the sun and moon for any location. This information is then displayed over a satellite-view map and can be used for any time of the year or day. That means you can take that data to pre-plan shoots or scout out locations ahead of time. Both versions of the app include the ability to save multiple locations, support automatic time-zone detection when you are travelling, and allow you to share great spots via email to your photographer friends.



5. Adobe Photoshop Touch

Price: £6.99 (Android), £7.99 (iOS)
Platforms: Android and iOS

If you’ve got a Wi-Fi-enabled Olympus camera, the tablet version of Adobe’s photo-editing suite gives you many of the tools you can get on the desktop version to tinker and finesse images while you are on the move. That includes basics like adding layers, using the selection tools or applying filters. You can only work on high-resolution images up to 12MP, but when you purchase Touch, you’ll also get a free Creative Cloud membership, which gives you 2GB of cloud storage so you can move between images on your tablet and computer.



6. Olympus Image Share

Price: Free
Platform: Android and iOS

One app you should definitely have installed first is the Olympus Image Share app, which is free for Android phones and iPhones. If your Olympus camera is Wi-Fi-enabled or you own a FlashAir card, this is one of the easiest ways to share your Olympus snaps quickly. What’s more, you can add filters to get more creative with your pics, tag photo locations using your phone’s GPS, and operate camera features from your phone. So you can activate the shutter, take control of the zoom lenses, and use the phone’s screen to get a better view of what’s going to be in the shot.