10 fantastic free iPhone apps every photography fan should have

One of the greatest features of the iPhone 3GS compared to older iPhone models is the camera. Yes, at 3 megapixels it’s still lagging behind the rest of the industry where resolution is concerned and yes, it still doesn’t have a flash (though 90 percent of flashes on mobile phones are just about useless). Despite its shortcomings however, the 3GS’ shooter still manages to capture some wonderfully solid images in good lighting and some way-better-than-average pics in dim lighting. As is often the case, third party app developers have hit the iPhone in full force where the camera is concerned in order to make good hardware even better thanks to creative and functional software. The cream of the crop falls into the paid category in some cases, but if you’re just beginning to explore the optics on your iPhone it’s always best to start out with some free options before you start emptying your wallet. So if you’re a photography fan with an iPhone 3GS (or any model for that matter), hit the jump for a list of 10 essential free iPhone apps that will help make your iPhone-captured photos shine.

Note: All links are iTunes links.

  1. Flash for Free: One of three great free photography apps from developer Michael Moon, Flash for Free applies a software flash to images taken by your iPhone. In other words, it lightens/brightens pics with minimal noise or distortion. The are a few paid apps that do a better job but for the low, low price of nada, Flash for Free is a terrific option.
  2. HDR for Free: Again from Moon, HDR for Free is a great app that allows you to enhance the contrast between light and dark areas of a photo. The app supports nine preset degrees of HDR.
  3. Crop for Free: Moon’s third free photo utility, Crop for Free does exactly what the title implies. It crops photos. For free. While there are a few apps in this list that will crop your shots as well, none are as quick and easy as Crop for Free when all you need is a quick crop.
  4. Pixel Perfect: This gem by Code Monkeys at Work is free for a limited time so hit the link now or forever be bound by the constraints of the Lite version. It allows you to apply a variety off effects to your pics including sepia, brightness, saturation and hue, and adjust the intensity of relevant effects.
  5. PanoLab: Originate Labs’ lite version of PanoLab Pro allows you to stitch together multiple photos to create a single panoramic image. This version has several limitations and its UI isn’t as intuitive as other options, but for the occasional quick panorama it’s a perfectly usable app.
  6. Mill Colour: Our favorite in this list off apps without question, The Mill’s photo editing app is simply awesome. Mill Colour allows you to apply a variety of effects to an image and then fine tune (to a ridiculous degree) the lift, gamma, gain and saturation of the image. You can also choose to forgo the available effects and just fine tune the image to your heart’s desire. The UI is fantastic the quality of the resulting images is second to none. Get it — now.
  7. Zipix Lite: The name might lead you to believe there is a full version floating around out there but for the time being, the buck stops here. Neurigen’s Zipix Lite app is a quick and easy photo enhancer that automatically adjusts a variety of variables to optimize a photo. If you’re a beginner and there’s something awry with an image you just snapped, odds are good it can be fixed in about 5 seconds by Zipix Lite with zero effort. The app also supports zooming and cropping.
  8. PhotoBox: This app by Christopher Comair is easy to use but don’t let its simplicity fool you. It features 13 awesome filters that result in some terrific photo effects, again with zero effort on your part.
  9. Polarize: Also by Christopher Comair, this app allows you to take a new photo or import an existing image, frame it in a Polaroid-like white border and apply a polarizing effect that results in a cool retro look. You can also write a title across the bottom of the frame as your parents used to do with physical Polaroids.
  10. Flickit: Great, so you’ve got a bunch of awesome photos on your iPhone thanks to all these great free apps. Now what? Green Volcano Software’s Flickit app allows you to link your Flickr account for easy photo uploads via EDGE, 3G or Wi-Fi. You can set default metadata to be applied to all uploads (including applying any number of your current Flickr tags) or adjust the data for each individual photo, control visibility settings and even geotag your photos all in an incredibly sexy UI. It’s so good it really shouldn’t be free.

There you have it folks — 10 awesome free apps that are sure to impress. Hit the comments and let us know what you think once you’ve checked them out and definitely let us know if there are any great free apps out there we missed.

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