3 Must Have iPhone Apps to Boost Productivity

3 Must Have iPhone Apps to Boost Productivity


We were in the Dr’s office last week and my son was playing on his iPod touch to keep him busy. Until he decided he neeeeeeded a new app noooooow. The Dr. said it perfectly: “Apps are the new pocket money.” Right on, Dr! Right on.

Applications (or ‘apps’ for short) are the biggest craze to hit the planet and clearly, they’re here to stay. And for those scratching their head, apps are little programs that can be downloaded into an Apple iPod touch, iPhone or the new iPad. They range from games to maps to train times. So much more than a fad, apps can either waste hours of your time or help you make the most of it. And for photographers, both hobby and professional, this can be a very good thing indeed.

So here are my favorite apps at the moment to maximize my time and organize my brain.

1. Second Shootr £3.99/$6.99 – This is seriously like having an assistant in your pocket. Second Shootr is the wedding/event/portrait photographer’s dream come true. You create an event, store all of your clients’ information, create a check list so you don’t forget stuff and have a list of must-haves. The must-have list is a must-have for me because my biggest fear is forgetting something at a wedding which can’t be re-created. Like the dress hanging up waiting for the bride or a shot of the rings. This app will remind you of all those things and more! Downside? You’ll have to explain to your clients that you’re not just playing around on your phone during their wedding.

Second Shootr can even help you before you’ve nailed the gig because you can keep lists of easily forgettable questions to ask at your first meeting. And this can be especially comforting for beginners who need to keep all their ducks in a row.

Second Shootr has a really great web site too! Check it out.

2. Golden Hour £2.99/$4.99 (lite version is free) – Golden Hour is an app to calculate where you are in the world and tell you the golden hour that day! So want to schedule an engagment session next month and want to do it during the golden hour? This handy little app will tell you what time you need to meet to catch those last golden rays of sun. It wont, however, stop the rain. Pooo 🙁

Oh that note, there are other apps out there to tell you the sunrise/sunset times if that’s more up your alley.

3. Exposure Calc £1.19/$1.99 – I love this one! Exposure Calc helps me choose my settings depending on the scene and the ISO I desire to use. And if it isn’t perfect, it still gives you an excellent place to start which is sometimes the hardest thing to figure out, especially if you’re only just getting into using your manual settings.

There are literally hundreds or thousands of apps out there but these have just been three that I actually use.

How about y’all?

Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category

Elizabeth Halford is a photographer and advertising creative producer in Orlando, FL. She wrote her first article for dPS in 2010. Her most popular one racked up over 100k shares!

Some Older Comments

  • Roger Moffatt July 28, 2010 05:11 am

    As the author of the Golden Hour application and website, I just thought I'd pop by to say thanks for the review :-) and to let you all know that version 2 has just been released which makes it fully iPad compatible with a new interface and some extra features. There is also the ability to set and save your "home" location in the iPhone version as I know some folks had requested that feature.

    You can find it in the app store here

    Please note that this is now a UNIVERSAL application which means once you have it for your phone or iPad, you can install it on any other suitable device you have for FREE, you don't need to purchase a special iPad "HD" version like some other applications.

    Thanks again for all the kind words, feedback is very much what keeps us working on the project.

    Roger Moffatt
    Author of The Golden Hour

  • lynn July 15, 2010 11:46 pm

    Don't Hate- APPreciate!

    Thanks for the App post- Sorry I had to get distracted by the haters. Bet they don't even shoot digital- that was new once too

  • Locke July 7, 2010 07:43 pm

    I’m surprised this Hippo Chomp on the app store isn’t in here. Pretty cool app I must say. Lots of freebie minigames too. Might wanna take a look.



  • Carri July 7, 2010 02:47 am

    I have found that the most useful apps on my iPhone have been the manuals for my 5D and 50D, really handy having them on me at all times.

  • mark July 6, 2010 10:55 pm

    this is nice....

  • gregDT July 6, 2010 09:54 am

    It might come as a suprise but there are now more Android phones in the world than Apple, plus I believe Blackberry's are quite popular as well ;-) . Apps are not, as you article suggests, something that is limited to Apple products. Try spreading your coverage and you might increase your readership.

  • Issam Kanafani July 5, 2010 08:12 pm

    I bought them all :) What was I thinking off? :))))

    Well worth it

  • andrea from the fishbowl July 2, 2010 10:28 pm

    Am delurking to leave a comment.

    Isn't this site for photographers of all levels? The "pros" who are able memorize their shot lists and can perfectly time their golden hours or who don't have smart phones need not read or reply to this post. There was some helpful information here for some of us. There really is no need to be hateful.

  • kelly July 2, 2010 08:20 pm

    Elizabeth - thanks for this ... altho i don't have an i anything (YET) .. it gave me ideas on what i do need to start looking out for .... the list is growing exponentially!
    I'm a SUPER novice when it comes to photography - i'm the hated "point and shoot everything" kinda gal and decided its time to refine my efforts - love reading info / opinions like yours - THANKS for sharing!

  • Mark Stagi July 2, 2010 04:17 pm

    If anyone is looking for something just to keep track of all the tasks on your shoots that sync's with googles calendar check our Photographer's Workflow: http://www.appezzy.com/apps/photographers-workflow

    Also a +1 on Contract maker, very cool app.

  • Rob July 2, 2010 12:59 pm

    Didn't this used to be a photography site. Learn the craft.

  • Karrie July 2, 2010 12:18 pm

    I just got an iPhone, and it has helped my inability to keep track of my numerous sticky notes and lightened my purse by a few pounds. I will look into Second Shooter a bit more- I'd love to have a handy-dandy list with examples- as a hobbiest whose only client is myself, there are many great shots I'd like to try and replicate. Not carrying around (and finding kid doodles all over) a notebook would be great. Thanks.

  • Hayley July 2, 2010 11:20 am

    @ Kelly - so true. I have worked hard to become a pro photographer too and some of the nastiest people I have come across for a variety of reasons are photographers. Some are wonderful and generous and some definitely are not. They always have to be right and have to win. They spend hours and hours arguing on forums instead of actually taking photos. Very competitive industry.

    Well done to the article writer. Keep up the good work. I really enjoy Darren's newsletter's each Friday.

  • Carolyn July 2, 2010 11:11 am

    Wow! I'm dismayed to see such vitriol on a site that is generally a pleasure to visit. I am going to request that Darren remove Charlie from the comments section, I'm sure I won't be alone.. ... Thanks Elizabeth. Enjoyed the info.

  • Darren Rowse July 2, 2010 10:15 am

    Hey gang - I'm going to edit the title of this to reflect that they're iPhone Apps.

    Other than that I'd simply appreciate it if people would take this for what it is - one persons experience and opinion on some tools that she's found to be must have/helpful for her.

  • TSchulz July 2, 2010 09:14 am

    Another good app is Photographer's Contract Maker. It allows you to carry around different types of photography contracts, model releases, copyright releases, etc... You fill in your client/subject's info and it fills out the contract automatically. They can even digitally sign it with their fingertip. To make signing easier, you can go to eBay and buy styluses that work with iPod Touch or iPhone so you can have them sign on your screen with a stylus as well.


  • Jeff July 2, 2010 08:36 am

    @ charlie stott, Dude, give it a rest. You are the one that got all snotty because she happened to be discussing something you may not have access to. Not everyone here has to have everything that is discussed on this site, it's no big deal. If the post doesn't concern you or your gear, simply move on instead of crying. Many folks here, as shown by many other replies here, appreciated the app information disclosed in her post, you just happen to not be the only person that these informational posts are directed to.

  • Charlie Stott July 2, 2010 08:21 am

    I guess if that is how you respond to comments (with a finger in your ear), then that is how I shall take further information from you...

    I will request Darren remove you from the contributors list, I'm sure I won't be alone...

  • Jana July 2, 2010 07:53 am

    Awesome! You rock, Elizabeth!

  • Elizabeth Halford July 2, 2010 07:02 am

    @everyonegivingmeahardtime: I don't usually respond to unreasonable readers but I guess I will this time (I'm in a feisty mood!) First, thanks to everyone who has been happy with the info I gave. I guess I need to remind everyone that this is a blog post, not an 'article' or a 'piece'. It is some information from me to you. Love it or leave it, either way. Love you all! (even the meanies)

  • Charlie Stott July 2, 2010 06:43 am

    More research before publication, please. Second article by this author today that lacks detail, and accuracy.

    "Apps" have been around forever. They are not specific to iPhone, so the title of this article wastes most of it's readers time (all those without an iPhone).

    I came to read about useful Apps for everyone, not just fad/gadget oriented people with too much time to waste, yet little understanding of the technology they own. Perhaps time should be spent reading your camera manual, instead of searching for "Apps" that do the same thing!

    Using your iPhone as a light meter has to be the most useless and ridiculous advice I have ever read on a photography site.. seriously...

  • Photologyst July 2, 2010 06:38 am

    Nice article. I love aps, (which, BTW, work on most devices) however, I fail to see why these would be useful.

    A “Do not forget” list in one’s vest or bag seems more practical. I have been using those forever. The dress and rings are pretty basic.

    The “golden hour” calculation is in my head, same as a GPS.

    As for exposure calculations: I’m with those who would use the camera and take some test shots.

    All much simpler and easier that incessantly diddling with the cell phone. I am a real techie, but I know that too much reliance on technology dulls the brain.

    Sorry, Elizabeth, but these go under the category of “useless stuff,” on which to waste time and money, to me. Your perception clearly varies. ;)


  • martin July 2, 2010 05:28 am

    the writer of the article was only saying that they have found these apps usefull. reading this it is becoming a hate thread for anything i related. i thought this was a photgraphy site. what next my lens is bigger than yours? come on folks everyone is permited to like what they want and use it. i have a iphone and some apps for photography on it and find them really usefull as a beginer i have dslr tool kit for dummies http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/digital-slr-photography-toolkit/id350489217?mt=8 goes through settings etc and controls plus a shooting diary so u can have your list of things to remember. and as for as i remember it was only £0.59p

    so go on remember we are a photography website encourage each other to gain better skills and photo's not complain what others use.
    regards martin

  • nina July 2, 2010 04:37 am

    ok, now everybody get together,go back to pre school and learn how to get along and then grow up.
    who cares what platform you use. the sharing of info is what it's about and helping each other. I someone gets help from an app so what. at least they're learning as they go. instead of doing nothing. i'm so sick of this planet and the people on it. just be nice.

  • Jen July 2, 2010 04:20 am

    @kelly I couldn't agree more! Some Photographers are so self-important! They just come across as extremely insecure tools. (@Rasmus, case in point!)

  • kaitlyn July 2, 2010 04:12 am

    @stan you are rude

    @kelly cheers to everything you said!

    if you don't have something nice to say then don't say it at all. this is a place to learn from each other not be annoying.

  • Kelly July 2, 2010 03:22 am

    wow, i can't get over how nasty some people are! if you don't find the list helpful then move on to the next article and shut the hell up! i can't believe that i have worked so hard to call myself a photographer only to be lumped into a category with some of the meanest, nastiest and snobbiest people i have ever had the displeasure of coming across.

    i for one think that the article was helpful. to the author, thank you for taking the time out of your day and the energy to write an article that was intended to help others. your work is appreciated.

  • Tamara June 29, 2010 02:24 pm

    Great post with some useful info. I'm checking out Second Shooter today.


  • Andres Burgos June 29, 2010 09:23 am

    Anyone knows of a program similar to Second Shootr for Windows OS? To plan a photo shoot, clients, places, schedule and things like that? Thanks

  • Stan June 29, 2010 09:11 am


    Yes it does, if anyone needs app to remember to "Like the dress hanging up waiting for the bride or a shot of the rings" then that does mean they don't know what they are doing.

  • Andrewdt June 29, 2010 01:30 am

    I have just become a traitor to all that I stand for and got my iphone last month. It is really not great as a phone in that reception is not so good, and battery life poor (charge every night). BUT that said - I am in love with this phone and its abilities and its usefulness and (I could go on and on). Really nice. If they could sort out the 2 items I mentioned first, there would be no phone to compare in my opinion. I was interested to read about the DSLR remote above - there is no lite version. Any other people tried it and can add to the feedback?

  • kelsey June 28, 2010 01:21 pm

    Wow! Maybe all you people should stop being so hateful and mean. Maybe the writer doesn't have an android phone so doesn't know what apps are out there. So instead of whining, be what this site is all about and offer suggestions compatible with whatever platform you have. I thought DPS was about sharing tips and tricks and information for our passion- PHOTOGRAPHY... that's what we are here for right? Learning, sharing, encouraging and there is nothing wrong with using an app to help learn... just because someone uses one doesn't they don't know what they are doing!! ugh! *rant over*

  • Tony L June 28, 2010 08:24 am

    Apple have got some really skillful marketing skills, they have people believing that "apps" (or applications) are solely for ipod touch or iphones.

    Apps were around years before the ipod was even thought about and apple have hijacked this word for themselves.

    Just so it's understood, apps or applications are programs which are available for PC's or Mac's or just about any other computer or electronic device, the word is most commonly associated with apple's iphone and ipod touch through clever marketing!

  • Stan June 28, 2010 06:45 am

    If you need a APP to remember to take a picture of the dress hanging you should not be shooting weddings.

  • Cheeze439 June 28, 2010 03:43 am

    Since when was this site all about bashing the iPhone or any other phone?

    Back on topic, I'll check these apps out soon, appreciate the article.

  • George June 28, 2010 01:59 am

    I am sure there is an app (not sure if it's for iphone or whatever) that calculates the hyperfocal distance. That would be quite worthy since HF is a bit trickier to calculate on the spot.

  • Ron June 27, 2010 10:23 pm

    For android there is an app called Phoforpho. It has a dof calculator and more. Just installed a day ago.

  • Brian June 27, 2010 10:01 am

    You guys should make your own app. That would be awesome!

  • Leonel Macias June 27, 2010 09:28 am

    Thanks Elizabeth! I had never heard of Second Shootr and will purchase it as soon as it's iPhone 4/iOS 4 compatible.

  • faf1967 June 26, 2010 04:26 pm

    This could solve some issues.


  • Qristie June 26, 2010 01:42 pm

    I was just thinking the other day that it'd be cool to have a Golden Hour app on my Android. Gonna have to look around a bit.

  • steve shannon June 26, 2010 10:57 am

    Why would I pay for an "i" when I have two perfectly good ones?

  • Sarah June 26, 2010 09:35 am

    @Major Bokeh - hear hear!

  • BL June 26, 2010 09:05 am

    Exposure Calc doesn't seem worth it. If you want something to give you a guide, and just learning how to use manual, then flip it over to AV or TV mode to guage, then over to manual and adjust to your liking.

    Second Shootr sounds like an interesting app, but if it's just a reminder tool then there are many other apps that could be used for the same purpose.

    Golden Hour, the free lite version is nice because it's free.

    There are so many other apps out there that the three that you've suggested are good, but there are definitely ways to get around having to pay. What you've paid for these 3 apps, you could have bought yourself a filter instead.

  • Major Bokeh June 26, 2010 07:25 am

    @bob, @ johns, you can have your Androids. They are completely inspired by and trying to catch up to Apple's iPhone. Enjoy.

    I have had an iPhone from day one and upgraded with each new version. I love my new iPhone 4, and my iPad and MacBook Pro, 30" monitor and I could go on. As an APPL shareholder I not only love their products but they've made me a bunch of money.

    There was a very recent post that had the Photographer's Ephemeris which is free online and has an iPhone app for $USD8.99. It shows sun and moon rise and set times mapped to any location on any day among other things. Cery cool. Also there's Darkness which isn't attached to a map but does share times for any date and it's only $USD1.99.

  • David June 26, 2010 06:48 am

    I have to take issue with one of your opening comments, 'apps are little programs that can be downloaded into an Apple iPod touch, iPhone or the new iPad.' Apps are available for pretty much all of the smart phones, why do people seem to think that the iPhone is the ONLY smart phone out there? its not even the smartest of the lot, its way down the rankings in my book on a number of counts! except that it has vastly more apps available, sadly, than my own, Palm Pre has.

  • Jeff June 26, 2010 04:39 am

    That Second Shootr app looks interesting, anyone else have any experience with it?? It's $7, but very few reviews.

  • Dawn June 26, 2010 04:14 am

    I don't have an i anything, I have a new Android HTC Eris.
    While reading this article, I decided, what the heck, I am going to look to see what apps are available similar to the ones posted in this article.
    Anyway, I found 3 apps for the droid.

    1: Golden Hour
    2. Shutter Speed
    3. Photo Tools.

    I have not used these apps yet, so I can't give any thoughts.
    I just wanted to post what I found.


  • scott June 26, 2010 04:00 am

    I also love photocalc. I tend to keep a few photo groups on my itouch as well for ideas and as a shot list. this seems to work well for me, but the app you mentioned is interesting and I would be foolish not to at least check it out.

  • Burt June 26, 2010 03:48 am

    @tim schapker -- I do have the OnOne Software DSLR remote program. I used it in one shoot, then decided it just wasn't worth the bother. I suppose if you have a large enough studio and are trying to do model shoots without an assistant, it might be useful, but...

    The image on the iPhone is barely larger than the one on the back of my Canon 5D MK II, so little gain there. Slow to respond to commands, so I can't get the shot at the exact moment I want. Slow to update the iPhone to a new image. Still requires a Mac to do the actual controlling.

    I just use the MacBook directly. Much larger image, so I can really check the image closely. Now with Lightroom 3 adding tethered shooting, I can even shoot directly into my LR catalog.

    OnOne was an interesting idea, but fell short of actually being useful.

    DOFMaster is my most used iPhone app. When I am doing macro work, I can bring this up to see what combination of focal length, f-stop and distance will yield the depth of field I am looking for in a particular shot. I obviously don't use it every time, but when something isn't working, I turn to this app to figure out how to fix it.

  • Danferno June 26, 2010 03:48 am

    Try The Photographer's Ephemeris. It was featured on this site a while back and I totally love it! It's free too.

  • Rasmus June 26, 2010 03:40 am

    Alternatively, you can simply prepare with attention and learn your craft. Then none of these apps are necessary.

  • DivotMaker June 26, 2010 03:33 am

    Thanks for the info.

    Field Tools, has a great DOF calculator that has helped me a couple of times. **Free**

  • Trevor Carpenter June 26, 2010 02:57 am

    For your Android: Photo Tools (by hcpl) has many of these tools built into one app.

    I've played with it, and it's functional and probably all the Android photographer needs.

  • Tim Schapker June 26, 2010 02:14 am

    Haven't used it, but OnOne Software's DSLR Camera Remote application lets your iPhone or iPod Touch control most Canon dSLRs. It lets you control your settings such as shutter speed and aperture and lets you fire the camera. It also supports Live View so you can see your camera's viewfinder from your iPhone.

    Seems like this would be useful if you're alone and trying to set up a shot without a model. Less running back and forth from computer to camera to the model's position. Would be interested to hear from anyone who has used it.

  • Tim Collins June 26, 2010 02:11 am

    Ooh! That was a nice surprise - cheers for recommending our app (Second Shootr). Any questions/comments, feel free to drop us an email.

  • michael June 26, 2010 01:56 am

    I agree with phil; PhotoCalc is quite a nice app. I use it mainly for the DoF calculator; handy to figure out hyperfocal distance on these new lenses with no markings

  • Anthony June 26, 2010 01:41 am

    @bob: Agreed. I'd like to see some photography software for the Android platform. If I wasn't so busy I'd start coding myself.

  • DavidN June 26, 2010 01:40 am

    i-free zone here too. Bigger rip-off than Cisco, which overtook Microsoft years ago.

    But thanks for the post. Going to look in Android Marketplace now.

  • JohnS June 26, 2010 01:39 am

    Here here for the android.

  • Steve June 26, 2010 01:37 am

    Great post. I have an app called Photography Trainer which is good for learning about D-SLR camera settings:


    - Steve

  • Phil June 26, 2010 01:36 am

    One I find myself using a bit is "Photo Calc" for $2.99. It's got a DoF calculator, Flash Exposure, Solar Calendar that uses Location Services, a mini reference library, and hundreds of camera model profiles.

    Another nice one is Strobox (free) for lighting layouts, but I haven't really used it too much outside of the first week I got it. I found myself sketching my layouts in the Moleskine I always keep in my kit bag.

  • Steve June 26, 2010 01:33 am

    Great post. I have an app called Photography Trainer that's good for learning about D-SLR settings:


    [eimg url='http://www.trailblazermedia.com/timpaphotography/main_border_2.jpg' title='main_border_2.jpg']

    - Steve

  • Rick June 26, 2010 01:30 am

    The web version of Golden Hour is free, so you don't need an iPhone app if you do your homework.

  • Elizabeth Halford June 26, 2010 01:29 am

    Should have known I was opening a can of worms with this one! @josh: we were all beginners figuring things out for the first time. And I'm sure we would have all appreciated having more tools at our disposal in our learning process.

  • Bob June 26, 2010 01:09 am

    Do not now, nor do I ever plan to own an "i" anything. Now apps for android . . . . .

  • Al June 26, 2010 01:01 am

    Seems a good trio of apps, the Golden Hour one especially. Would perhaps be nice to link to the apps though?

  • Sherry June 26, 2010 01:00 am

    Out of the three, i most wish I could use the Golden Hour app. Alas, I don't have an iPhone and my iPod Touch is so old that I can't use apps on it at all. But it would be really handy to have something like that on hand.

  • Josh June 26, 2010 12:58 am

    Exposure Calc for £1.19? How about, I don't know, using your camera's built-in meter? Or, perhaps, firing off a test shot or two...?