May 10, 2012, 7:50 AM — My friends call me a camera snob because I prefer digital SLRs and typically turn my nose up at camera phones. But lately, I've fallen in love with my iPhone's camera; more and more, I find myself snapping photos with my phone. One obvious advantage that a smartphone like the iPhone has over a traditional camera is portability. I've always got my iPhone in my pocket, while my Nikon often languishes at home. But another great advantage is apps: It's easy to add new features and capabilities to your iPhone by installing a free or inexpensive app. To do the same thing with a traditional camera, you'd need a degree in electrical engineering. Last year, I told you about five reasons photographers should love the iPhone. The apps I mentioned back then are still great, but this week, I've rounded up five more iOS apps that I highly recommend.
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One of the reasons that I ordinarily prefer a digital SLR to a camera phone is the control an SLR gives me over shutter speed and aperture. By dialing in a specific aperture setting, I can create a sharp hyperfocal photo or one in which the subject is sharply defined and the background is blurred out of focus.
Afterfocus gives you that control over depth of field with your iPhone. It doesn't actually let you change the depth of field when you take a shot; instead, the app simulates depth of field by blurring the background after the fact. It's fun and easy to use: Just open a photo in Afterfocus and draw on the part of the photo that you want to stay sharp. Then repeat the process with the background, and Afterfocus renders a version of the photo that looks like it was taken with a very shallow depth of field. Even better, you can also choose to apply some additional effects to your photo, like a color mask that turns the background black and white, leaving the subject in color. It's 99 cents well spent.