No matter what time of year it is, there are always plenty of fun subjects outdoors to capture on camera, and many different genres of photography to experiment with. But wandering aimlessly, trying to find subjects in nature, is not part of the fun.
Thanks to these apps, however, you can comfortably spend time in nature and shoot breathtaking photos with ease. Of course, you have to do some research based on your photography genre, but otherwise, these are great tools to have in the field.
1. AllTrails: Hike, Bike & Run
Whether you are new to the world of hiking or a seasoned trekker, AllTrails is a helpful app to have on your phone. You can check out trails nearby, read reviews, and check photos. You can buy the paid subscription if you want features like offline maps, but the free version should be enough for beginners.
If you’re busy photographing something and miss the trail marker on the trees, you can use this app to get back on track. You can also find alternative routes or join another trail without losing your way around.
Download: AllTrails for iOS | Android (Free, subscription available)
This app is like your personal photography planner. If you have a hard time getting the hang of different rules and formulas in photography, this app will make your life easier. You can calculate the depth of field, hyperfocal distance, NPF rule, and much more besides. You can also find the golden hour, moon phases, and the position of the Milky Way.
In short, it is your one-stop app for all things related to outdoor photography.
Download: PhotoPills for iOS | Android (Paid)
3. PictureThis – Plant Identifier
Are you a macro photographer who likes shooting the various flora around you? Then you need PictureThis. It can identify over 10,000 plants, flowers, herbs, and weeds. If you post or sell your photos online, giving accurate names to your gorgeous subjects is essential. In addition, this app gives you some tips and tricks to maintain your garden plants.
Download: PictureThis for iOS | Android (Free, in-app purchases available)
4. Merlin Bird ID by Cornell Lab
Are you a budding bird photographer looking to take breathtaking photographs of birds? Look no further than Merlin Bird ID from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
No matter which part of the world you’re from, the app has various bird packs for you. You can choose the pack for your location and learn all about the avian friends near you. Having different packs for different areas helps avoid misidentifying birds. Another cool feature is that you can identify birds with their bird songs.
Download: Merlin Bird ID for iOS | Android (Free)
5. ProCamera. Capture & Edit RAW
If you don’t always carry your hefty DSLR with you, this app can be a compact replacement. The app will let you shoot in full manual mode, and that’s just the start. You also get all the pro features like live histogram, RAW mode, exposure compensation, self-timer, intervalometer, and many other features.
The app has you covered in the video department as well. Additionally, don’t forget to make use of the editing options to make your images look professional.
Download: ProCamera for iOS (Paid, in-app purchases available)
Developed by Google, this simple app is perfect for editing on the go. You can edit both RAW and JPEG files with advanced features like a healing brush, HDR, perspective, and white balance correction. You can also fine-tune your edits by using curves, tonal contrast, adding bokeh, or different looks like vintage, drama, and so on.
If you need some further editing tips, Snapseed has tutorial cards inside the app to help you learn on the fly.
Download: Snapseed for iOS | Android (Free)
If you’re an aspiring or newbie astrophotographer, you need this app powered by augmented reality. This easy-to-use stargazing app has rave reviews and millions of downloads, and all for good reason. You just have to point it at the sky to find stars, constellations, nebulae, and galaxies.
You can also see the trajectory of celestial objects and know when they will arrive at a particular location. It’s the perfect companion for your stargazing and astrophotography adventures.
Download: SkyView for iOS | Android (Paid)
8. The Photographer’s Ephemeris
With a thumbs-up from both National Geographic and the Outdoor Photographer magazine, this app is a must-have in every landscape photographer’s mobile phone. You can visualize how light will fall on a particular location at any time of the day.
If you are a natural light fanatic, this app has the advanced tools you need to plan precisely for your shoots. In addition, the Photographer’s Ephemeris also has many features regarding star and moon positions for taking stunning astrophotos.
Download: The Photographer’s Ephemeris for iOS (Paid, in-app purchases available)
9. Tide Charts
Tide Charts is an app that lets you see the tides in your location for the next four days. The app covers data from 7000 stations worldwide and has a simple user interface. If you love photographing bodies of water, this is the app you should download.
It also shows you sunrise and sunset times, so you don’t need a separate app. Additionally, you can check lunar predictions, and if you are ever stuck in a remote location the app works offline as well.
Download: Tide Charts for iOS | Android (Free, in-app purchases available)
10. Seek by iNaturalist
We have included the iNaturalist app because we love how it urges you to spend more time outdoors and learn more about animals.
The Seek app from iNaturalist helps you identify plants, mushrooms, and animals, which is useful if you are a nature photographer looking for your next subject. Powered by the iNaturalist database filled with millions of organisms, it’s fantastic for finding local animals native to your area.
According to many reviews, the app can be highly addictive—in a good way. The more you know about the world around you, the better wildlife photographer you can be.
Download: Seek by iNaturalist for iOS | Android (Free)
Capture the Wonders of Nature With Confidence
Depending on what you are taking, nature photography can be pretty easy or super tough. For instance, photographing flowers can be easy but taking pictures of the night sky is a lot more difficult. Having these apps, however, can help you plan your shoots and bring home amazing photos that you are proud of.