Photography has hugely grown in confidence over the course of the past decade.
The introduction of smartphones at the end of the noughties transformed the art of picture-taking, in conjunction with the growing popularity of photo-sharing on social media. In the space of a few years, the industry went from being largely the domain of professional photographers, with quite limited home photography options, to the wide availability and variety of cameras and techniques we now see for photography in 2018.
If you want to distinguish your photography from the crowd, here are five apps and gadgets to boost your amateur photography skills.
If you’re looking to take some genuinely unique scenic shots, drones are very affordable and you may find them to be an interesting path to venture down. In essence, they are simply stable, flying, high quality cameras, and are becoming an essential part of a photographer’s kit.
Those seeking to change the landscape of camerawork from the start on can do so with drones – inventive ways to get around problems are only just being worked out, such as how best to shoot at different altitudes and angles and how to deal with the weather. You are likely to be concocting some genuinely novel drone techniques.
Before, aerial photo-shoots were only accessible to those that could find a helicopter to get on, whereas now the world of aerial photography has been opened to anyone, from a pro to an amateur.
GIMP is a well-established industry standard for free photo manipulation, but it’s infamous for being completely unfriendly to new users. As a result, amateurs traditionally have had a choice – pay the large costs of Adobe Photoshop, or spend weeks learning GIMP.
Amatuer photographers who want a more Photoshop-like program should take a look at PIXLR. It has nearly all the same shortcuts and layout as Photoshop, minus a few of the more fiddly features, and has a very gentle learning curve. After picking up more complex skills, you may wish to invest in learning GIMP down the road, but PIXLR is a great starting point on the way to being a top photo-editor.
360 cameras, like drones, have jumped onto the photography scene in a big way in recent years. Growing in popularity primarily as a result of an increasing interest in virtual reality, they allow photographers to produce fully immersive shots of every view possible from any given standing point.
360 Photos can be viewed both on VR headsets, where the user can look around to get the full picture, and more commonly on a 2D screen, where a user is able to navigate the picture with the mouse.
For an outdoorsy amateur looking for an unexplored medium, 360 Camerawork could certainly be an avenue of interest. The next Michelangelo of the 360 panorama scene is waiting to be found. Even if for those not looking to revolutionise the field, the vast array of new technologies, in conjunction with beautiful outdoor scenery will lead to some unforgettable experiences and beautiful photographs.
4 Instagram Scheduling Apps
Most amateur photographers are probably running quite a nifty Instagram account – which, in itself is a great way to get your content out there.
For those looking to boost their Insta-feed, or those who are simply struggling up with the regular uploads they’re wanting to post, scheduling Instagram uploads can be a simple solution. A number of services offer upload scheduling. Try, for starters, Later, which is free for solo run Instagram accounts, and allows users to schedule out posts even for the next few months, including edits and filters.
Scheduling out posts for the next few weeks over one afternoon can leave you with a satisfying feeling of achievement, as it allows you to really pick the objective highlights of your camera reel and can be a huge time saver. This is a great option for those looking to get into photography in conjunction with social media for a business or website.
5 Technology Rental Apps
If the high cost of equipment needed to start an amateur photography career is preventing your jump into the field, renting gear may be the perfect solution, particularly for those who aren’t sure photography is for them.
A number of platforms, such as Fat Lama, have been established to rent photography equipment online. It’s a compelling idea – professionals and hobbyists, who do not use their equipment all the time, are able to let out their gear to those that need to rent it for a specific period of time.
Amateur photographers are therefore able to benefit from access to professional equipment without the commitment to specific pieces of kit. If you want to take a drone out for a fly, that is an option – if you’re planning a trip to see some epic scenery and want to take a few panoramas, then you have 360 cameras all around you to find. If you already own a high-quality camera, but are considering investing in specific lenses or add-ons, you can try before you buy.
For those starting out their photography hobby or career, borrowing locally may be a great way to see what type of kit they like, before committing to buying gear.
All five of these options are making the careers of amateur photographers more diverse and more convenient – if you’re even a little serious about photography, consider one or all of them to boost your 2018 portfolio.