Don't ruin the moment, capture it with a few of the best phone apps for outdoor photographers. Photo by Ditty_about_summer/Shutterstock.

Don’t ruin the moment, capture it with a few of the best phone apps for outdoor photographers. Photo: Shutterstock.

With smart phone cameras improving by the millisecond more and more adventurers are foregoing heavy camera equipment for the pocket-fitting convenience of their iPhone and Android devices. And while nature photography purists will argue that there is no substitute for a real camera, phones can get pretty darn close thanks to a few helpful (and cheap) applications.

Here is a list of five apps that every outdoor phone photographer needs to turn those amazing moments into relivable photo magic:

Find your way with Google Earth

With all of the fancy apps out there, don’t overlook the obvious. Google Earth is a useful tool for any outdoor photographer, providing 3D maps of pretty much anywhere in the world. For photographers, the app lets you interact with terrain before hiking to the top of a steep ridge just to find another ridge blocking your mountain view.

Check conditions with Tide Graph

Weather apps are key for establishing ideal shooting conditions. While your weather website of choice is equally as effective (and free), tides might be a different story. Luckily, there’s Tide Graph. The app is designed to give you insight on the ocean’s ebb and flow on coastlines around the world so you never miss the ideal beach shot again.

Find the light with LightTrac

Light can make or break outdoor shots. The golden hours around dusk and dawn are ideal, but sometimes phone photographers need a little more help. Enter LightTrac, a $4.99 app that determines the perfect time and location for getting the best light in your photos. The app calculates elevation and angle of the Sun and moon depending on time of year and geographic location, making your job as the photo snapper a whole lot easier.

Take control with Manual

The Manual app let's you make adjustments on your phone just like you would on your camera. Screengrab taken from phone.

The Manual app let’s you make adjustments on your phone just like you would on your camera.

One of the biggest gripes for outdoor smartphone photographers is the lack of actual camera control. However, with the Manual app, you can adjust shutter speed, ISO, white balance, focus and exposure compensation from the palm of your hand. For $1.99, users have access to a full gamut of photo controls including a built-in histogram for exposure to keep you from blowing out those sunset selfies. Combine Manual with the Star Walk app to find your ideal night sky and that killer night sky long exposure shot you’ve been dreaming of.

Clean it up with Snapseed

Whether you realize it or not, you’re already a mini-expert on post production thanks to Instagram. For outdoor photographers looking to take things a step further, Snapseed is the ultimate in mobile photo editing. Pull out details, sharpen your image and selectively edit specific parts of your photo with this easy-to-use app. And it’s free.

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