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Image Credit: mihtiander via iStock
If you're a landscape photographer, venturing out to capture photos of nature's beauty without apps to help you is so 20th century...
And while I appreciate an old-school approach to photography now and again, there's just too much value in having a little photography assistant in your pocket to fire up some apps and help you do everything from planning your trip to editing your photos and everything in between.
One look at the App Store or Google Play and you'll find thousands of photography apps - some good, some bad, and some in between.
I've put together this list based on apps that I use in my workflow. I'm not affiliated with the companies that developed these apps in any way, I just like these apps!
Photography Apps for Planning and Prep
It's an incredibly robust app with features specifically for making landscape photography easier and more successful.
Not only does it help you plan your outings based on the location of the sun or moon, but you can also save your plans and share them with other people.
On top of that, it's incorporated augmented reality so you can have a look at where the sun or moon's path will be, as well as the location of the Milky Way.
The app has a depth of field calculator, an exposure calculator, and a handy time-lapse helper that computes the appropriate settings for time-lapse sequences.
That's not a bad suite of features if you ask me!
The Photographer's Ephemeris
Like PhotoPills, TPE gives you the power to see the position of the sun and moon at any given location.
The new 3-D version of TPE (iOS only) shows how light interacts with the landscape at any given location in the world. Talk about living in the future!
In fact, with TPE 3-D, you can watch the sun rise or set for any upcoming date, see the stars move around the sky in 3-D, and see how the sun will set behind mountains and other landscape features so you can be in the right spot at the right time.
Just place a marker where you want to survey the scene, double-tap the marker, and TPE will give you a ground-level view from that spot.
The app even shows the elevation of the sun and moon, the current time, and markers that indicate where the sunrise and sunset will be relative to your position.
Editor's Tip: Ready for a photography adventure but not sure where to go? Learn why Iceland is a landscape photographer's paradise.
Google Maps allows you to explore the area you want to photograph and find the best spots (and parking, too!). In that regard, this is one of the best apps for photographers because it helps you save time - fire it up at home while you're watching TV and get a lay of the land, that way when the day comes to go shoot, you spend less time wandering around and more time actually taking photos.
You can even create custom maps so your mates can find the exact same spots.
You can overlay shapes, points, and lines on the maps, as well as layers that allow you to customize the view for a truly one-of-a-kind visual experience.
Apps for Specific Types of Landscapes
The newest version - 6 Pro - has a huge database of celestial bodies that includes every object ever discovered in the solar system.
With accurate maps, telescope control, and an Augmented Reality mode, there's really no competition when it comes to the top dog for helping you tackle astrophotography.
All of your observing data is backed up to the cloud, that way you can access it later, and on different devices, too.
The star catalog includes 25 million starts down to the 15th magnitude, so it's not like you'll be wanting for things to photograph in the night sky!
You can even see what the stars looked like 10,000 years ago or 10,000 years into the future if you want. You can view animations of celestial events like eclipses and meteor showers as well.
It's the complete package, for sure!
The chase for the ideal Golden Hour lighting is far easier if you know precisely when the sun will rise and set from your location.
You can view the sunrise and sunset predictions for up to five days in advance. The app will also notify you for upcoming sunrises and sunsets to help you plan your outings.
There's an interactive map with an overlay that shows the forecasted quality of the sunrise and sunset, as well as times for the moonrise and moonset, too.
You can enter custom locations into the app, that way you're sure to stay informed as you move around.
Each location has a forecast percentage, a corresponding color that represents how good the sunrise or sunset will be, and an icon that tells you the predicted forecast.
The interface is easy to use as well, so you can quickly dial in your details and get the desired information quickly.
My Tide Times
With support from over 9,000 tidal stations around the world, My Tide Times will give you the most accurate tidal predictions, no matter where you are.
You can also view sunrise and sunset times for the location you enter, as well as details on the moonrise and moonset.
You can view currents and see the seven-day forecast as well, and since the information is downloaded to your phone, if the location you're traveling to doesn't have internet, you can still see the details you need to time your shot perfectly.
LExp - Long Exposure Calcs
The nice thing about LExp (iOS only) is that it has tons of calculators.
That includes calculators for sunrise, sunset, for photographing the Aurora Borealis, Milky Way photography, using stacked ND filters, and taking photos of the stars with star trails.
And that's just the start...
The app is pre-loaded with different reference tables so you're sure to get ideal shots when shooting fireworks, flowing water, and low-light subjects.
What's more, the app will help you locate North and South celestial poles and includes ND filter cheat sheets as well.
If you've been itching to try long exposures but have been intimidated by them, this app is sure to get you over the hump!
Editor's Tip: The photos you take while using these apps are sure to be wall-worthy. See what your photos look like as fine art.
Best Landscape Photography Apps for Editing
It's beautifully designed, too, which, for what it's worth, might help inspire a little more creativity on your part.
VSCO has loads of presets (some require additional payment) that run the gamut from black and white to moody to classic to vibrant.
Additionally, there are tools for handling adjustments to exposure, white balance, contrast, highlights and shadows, sharpening, and more.
VSCO also makes it easy to create custom editing "recipes" for giving your photos a consistent aesthetic. You can easily share your creations to social media or to VSCO's own community.
As if all that isn't enough, VSCO has a built-in camera app that's got RAW shooting capabilities, manual exposure settings, and manual lens focusing as well!
That notwithstanding, Lightroom CC is an amazing app that gives you more of a traditional editing approach to your images.
That is, there are no fancy image presets like in VSCO. Instead, Lightroom CC focuses on exposure, blacks, whites, curve adjustments, HSL adjustments, and so forth.
And since Lightroom CC for mobile talks to Lightroom CC on your computer, images you edit on your phone are accessible on your computer via the cloud (assuming you have a Lightroom subscription).
Beyond that, Lightroom CC has all the organizational and sharing tools you'd expect, as well as HDR capabilities, a handful of Photoshop presets to get your editing going, and the ability to copy your edits from one photo to the next for a consistent look.
Though the above isn't a comprehensive list of all the best landscape photography apps (that would be a much longer article...), those listed here will sure get you well on your way to more success with your landscape photos!