My Top Eight Photography Apps

technology Aug 17, 2023
My Top 8 Photography Apps

In today's digital age, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to technology, giving you a plethora of tools and apps that help you find locations, choose the best times to head out and assist you to make the best images.

As a passionate photographer myself (and a confessed tech lover), I've discovered a collection of apps that have become integral to my photography. 

Whether it’s planning my shoot, capturing my images or editing and sharing, apps have revolutionized the way I approach photography. 

In this blog article, I'm excited to share my top eight go-to apps I use for planning and capturing my images.

LEE Stopper App

The Lee Stopper app is a valuable tool particularly if you are interested in long-exposure photography. 

This app is specifically designed to help photographers calculate the correct exposure time when using Lee Filters' Big Stopper or Little Stopper neutral density filters. 

These filters are commonly used to extend the exposure time, enabling you to achieve stunning effects such as silky smooth waterfalls, cloud movement, and capture long exposures even in bright lighting conditions. 

You simply input the current shutter speed that you would use without the filter, and select the strength of the Lee Stopper being used (Little, Big or Super) and the app calculates the necessary exposure time to achieve a properly exposed image. 


PhotoPills is my number one go-to app. 

It has been designed to be a comprehensive photography app, that makes it easy for photographers, especially landscape and astrophotographers, to plan their shoots. 

These include accurate sun, moon, and Milky Way tracking, allowing you to predict and visualize the ideal lighting conditions and celestial alignments at any given location and time. The app also offers augmented reality (AR) tools that overlay these celestial elements onto the real-world landscape using your smartphone or tablet camera, so you can pre-visualise your shots. 

Additionally, PhotoPills has a Planner function for calculating precise times for golden hour, blue hour, and other key lighting events. 

Other useful features are a night mode, time-lapse calculator, and depth-of-field calculator. 

The Photographer's Ephemeris (TPE) 

Similar to PhotoPills, TPE is a planning app that helps you determine the position of the sun and moon in relation to a specific location. If you’re wondering about how TPE differs from Photopills, I feel like TPE is more focused on telling you exactly where the sun and moon will be at specific times and locations. It's great when you need precise sun and moon positioning. 

PhotoPills does a lot of things, including fancy visualizations, while TPE is simpler and easier to use (I have both on my phone).

Long Exposure Calculator 

This app is similar to the Lee Stopper App, but is not limited to the use of 3 strengths of Lee ND Filters. It allows you to calculate exposure time on up to 24 stops of ND filter. You have a lot more control with this app as it allows you to make 1 stop adjustments to determine your exposure time. This is handy when stacking ND filters or using a Variable ND filter that will allow incremental stops.

It has a built-in timer so when you open your shutter using the bulb setting on your camera, you hit the start button and it commences a countdown. Although, this only works for exposure times of greater than 10 seconds. I find it handy as it vibrates my phone and gives me a notification to release my shutter (great if you’re doing several minutes and get distracted)

Clear Outside

I think this app was created for Astronomers and Astrophotographers. The app helps to make informed decisions about whether the sky is clear to increase your chance of seeing the stars and the milky way etc. Armed with this info you can decide whether or not to head out on a photography journey or wait for more favourable conditions when there is less cloud cover.

Instead, Clear Outside has become a popular app used by landscape photographers to gauge the amount of and the level (height) of cloud cover. 

You’ll usually find that when this app is forecasting 100% high cloud cover in an area you’ll see lots of photographers up early for sunrise or out for sunset, as you are more likely to get the epic colours bouncing off a nice high cloud cover. 

Clear Outside also offers accurate information, including sunrise and sunset times, moon phases, and astronomical twilight. You can input your shooting location and time, and the app provides you with a detailed breakdown of cloud cover, transparency, seeing quality, and darkness levels. 


This app specializes in predicting and tracking auroral activity, helping you to locate the best times and places to witness this awe-inspiring natural phenomenon. 

I was introduced to this app by a keen landscape/Astro photographer in Tasmania (one of the few places we can see the Aurora from in Australia). I was on a photo tour and his app was alerting him to the likelihood of an Aurora. Sure enough, that night I was lucky enough to capture this mesmerising phenomenon. 

The Aurora app provides you with real-time and forecasted geomagnetic activity data, cloud cover information, and moon phases.

The app will alert you if the optimal conditions for capturing the Southern or Northern Lights against the night sky are forecast (providing you allow notifications). You can also use the app to find the best locations at any given time to see an Aurora.

Google Earth

I find Google Earth helpful when I am researching a location. It has more detailed satellite imagery and 3D terrain models, so you can virtually explore potential shooting locations before heading there. 

Street view works better on Google Earth on my smartphone, giving me a better sense of what I am likely to find at a location. It can be helpful to research access tracks, see if gates are locked and just get a feel for the view from a location. 

Using this app allows you to identify interesting landscapes, vantage points, natural features, and even hidden gems that might not be easily visible on traditional maps, including google maps. 

Weather Apps

The weather plays a huge part in landscape photography. It makes sense to make sure you have at least one good weather app you feel like you can rely on. In Australia, I use the BOM (Bureau of Meteorology) app and Willy Weather. 

Depending on what country you are in will determine what app you use so it is hard for me to make any recommendation.


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