5 Ways To Amp Up Your Smartphone Photography

The quality of the camera that comes with new smartphones today is so good, you may be tempted to put away your stand-alone digital camera forever.

And since your smartphone is always handy, you're probably taking more photos than ever -- some of them pretty impressive.

You may know how to crop your photos or add filters, but with some useful apps, you can easily add interesting effects to your photos.

Many of these effects were previously available only to professional photographers or graphic designers with Photoshop skills. But now, for less than the price of a cup of coffee, you can unleash your creative talents.

Here are five apps that will help you amp up your smartphone photos:

1 -- TouchRetouch -- $1.99

TouchRetouch lets you easily delete objects from an image using tools that you guide with your finger.

In this photo, I want to remove the coffee table on the right.

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Using the paintbrush tool, you simply touch and drag across the portion of the photo that you want to remove. You can adjust the diameter of the paintbrush to be precise along the edges.

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With a little practice you can get very good results. As you can see, the coffee table on the right side of the picture was removed.

Next up, removing my ex from otherwise great pictures!

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2 -- PhotoMirror Effect -- Free

PhotoMirror Effect is a free app that allows you to create unique photos by mirroring the original image.

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It's easy to try different layouts by changing the way the photos are facing, or by including four to six copies of the original image.

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In this case, I decided to use a 2d mirror image facing each. Now I know what it would be like to have two adorable puppies!

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3 -- Phonto -- Free

With Phonto, you can easily add text, symbols and call outs to images in creative ways. And with the paid version, you can create a unique stencil cutout effect on your photo.

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You start by placing your finger on the photo where you want to add text. Then you choose your font, text colors and other symbols you'd like to add.

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In this case, using the free features in the app, I was able to add a filter, text and the heart image to this photo.

As if it wasn't apparent enough, my adorable puppy is even more adorable.

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4 -- ProHDR -- $1.99

The Pro HDR app takes two photos, one in low resolution and one in high resolution, overlays them and allows you to save the result. There is a slight lag when it is rendering both resolutions, so keep still.

Here is a photo taken without ProHDR.

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Here is the same photo taken using the ProHDR app. As you can see, everything is brighter and richer.

Maybe even brighter and richer than what you see with your naked eye, but hey, we're trying to amp up your photos!

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5 -- Color Splash -- $.99

Color Splash takes your image and converts it to black and white, allowing you to expose the original color on a portion of your photo.

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After zooming in on a portion of the image, you simply use your finger to highlight the area where you want to expose color.

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The result is a unique perspective on an otherwise awesome photo.

If you're like me, after using this app, you'll be viewing the world in black and white with color highlights.

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If you're using only the camera app that came with your smartphone, then you haven't unlocked your device's full photographic potential.

By downloading and giving some of these apps a try, you're sure to produce more interesting, creative photos. All on your smartphone!

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