iPhone {pics, products, apps}

So I’m in Kansas…at Craft Weekend! Which is wonderful, except last night a tornado touched down a couple miles from my home. Chris watched it begin forming from our backyard. He gathered the kids one by one from their beds and carried them to our tornado shelter. I am so thankful for an attentive husband that keeps his cool and makes sure his family is protected. I had no idea it was happening until I began getting texts from friends and family checking on us. So…I tried to find as many details out online as I could.

I’m still waiting for more details, but thankfully from what I’ve gathered so far there were no lives lost or massive destruction. It is hard being away from my family though. The mom in me wants to gather them all up in my arms!

And now….I have no transition for the rest of this post because I wrote it pre-tornado! So pretend there is a great transition 🙂

I am growing to enjoy my iPhone more and more. I think part of what I enjoy is the challenge of capturing something with the constraints of the phone camera. With my dslr, I like to use my aperture to get a blurry background. I like the control I have over the image and all the options I have when shooting. With my iPhone, I don’t use anything but the basic camera for shooting….and all its limitations. However, that challenge is something I am really finding fun. Here are a few recent ones of the girls:

A few more phone pics…that aren’t cropped to a square:

Instagram. I really like instagram. I’m “underthesycamore” over there. I like all the visual inspiration I find there both as a mom and as a photographer.  I also am a fan of all the new companies out there that work specifically with Instagram. I shared about Origrami a few weeks ago. Another one I like is PicPak. Little square magnets straight from my instagram feed.

My idea was to use them to hold artwork and notes from the kids on our lockers, but the kids play with them too much. They are constantly rearranging and moving them. They have also been requesting me to take certain photos of them and turn them into magnets. The more little ways I can help them enjoy photography, the better.

I’ve also been asked about what kind of phone apps I like to use. With my dslr shots, I don’t use photo editing software on all my pics. With my phone, I edit every picture. Here are my favorite phone editing apps:





A Beautiful Mess


I have about 10 more phone apps on my phone. I don’t have any games on my phone, but photo apps…slight addiction.

What are some of your favorite photo apps and companies that work with Instagram?

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  • susan - AA, So glad you had already posted the family is safe because the first news I heard this morning was tornado near Tulsa. I am so happy everyone is safe. Enjoy your Kansas trip!

  • Meagan B. - I am so thankful everyone is safe and praying for peace for you this weekend! I LOVE my camera + app on my phone. It has a faster shutter speed so instead of all of my pictures of my kids being blurry they are crisp and clear, huzzah!

  • Avenlea - I like the PicLab app. You can use different filters and add text. Glad you are all safe!

  • Amanda - So glad your family is safe and sound! Thank you for the previous Origrami tip! I received my prints a few weeks ago and love them! Need to try the magnets now! One of my favorite Instagram photo apps is MagicHour! I’m an instagram addict! 🙂

  • J. Johnson - I just wanted to thank you for sharing your life and ideas. Many times, I star your posts to share ideas with my daughter, and she really loves to try the various crafts/ideas out.

    So happy all in your family are safe.

  • Angela A - My in-laws live in BA but are ok too. I was away from home the Sunday of the first big tornados. I too am so thankful for a husband who is attentive to these things and keeping our kids as safe as we can. He even served dinner in the basement, which they thought was great fun. Some sort of wacky tornado shelter picnic. Enjoy your weekend and soak it up!

  • Kriste - I love the slow shutter app, and PicFrame has fun frames and text.

  • Sophie - I love lumie. It’s great for creating really dreamy pictures. Camera+ is also a favourite. It’s so easy to use and has a TON of options for filters.

  • Nicole - printic is a great app that works with instagram. You go on and choose a few pics and they send them to you or a desired address with a message. I send a few to my mother every once in a while. She loves them.

    Any app that gets photos off your phone and on to actual prints is so wonderful!

  • Mary - I also have a slight addiction to photo apps. I love the Camera Awesome app. I find that camera takes great pictures in low lighting – great for taking pictures of sleeping kids. I use Snapseed as my primary editing app and PS Express when I need to reduce some noise. And I’m so glad y’all are safe. I was worried about y’all when I saw the weather. Scary!

  • Julie - I definitely need some new/better photo apps since I use my iPhone for all of my picture taking.
    So glad your family is okay. They have been talking about the tornado on the news here on Dallas both last night and this morning. But they never gave any details about damage so I have been hoping that everyone was okay.

  • Christi Smith - I agree with Meagan B. the Camera + app is what I use most of the time for pictures because it seems to be a better camera than the regular one. You can zoom too where you can’t with the regular. It has editing features and frames too.

    So glad your family was safe. I am OVER these storms happening every single day. It’s exhausting! Not sure what’s worse: a summer with 125 degree days or a tornado every day!

  • Molly - So glad to here everything is ok. I am so done with tornados and storms and severe weather! I totally understand how scary that was for you! On wednesday on our last day of school with 10 minutes to go in the school day the sirens sounded due to severe weather….not a tornado but strong winds….so the schools went into lockdown. I teach at a middle school and my daughter is at an elementary school. it was so hard not to be with her. i didn’t have a class during the lockdown so I was able to hang in the front office so i could listen to district communications and knew my girl was ok. but i couldn’t get ahold of my daycare with my 5yo and 9 month old. it ended up that they went early for pick up and they were in the school in lockdown too. we sat in lockdown for 45 minutes. it was a long 45 minutes to extend the last day of school…but i have plenty of time to be safe!

  • Hannah - I have all the apps you just mentioned plus a new one I found is called OVER, it’s pretty cool.

    I get my magnets from Stickygram, have you ever used them? I was wondering how they compare to your company?

  • Penny G - I’m a new reader to your blog…how fun to discover you are from the Tulsa area, as I am too! We also took cover last night, as the tornado was headed our way…thankfully no damage. Glad your family is also safe. Enjoy Craft weekend – it sounds really fun!!!

  • Amanda - I’ve been using Walgreen’s phone app to order quick INSTAGRAM prints. They turn out great!

  • Casey - love your blog!! I was wondering if you could share how you blog with your ipone pics? do you download them? how do you create a story board with them?

  • kimberly oyler - i love your instagram feed. did you ever figure out what to do with that giant picture of firecracker?

  • Christine Hicks - Silly question, but do you have to have a iphone to follow on instagram?


  • agus - hi ashley, has long wanted to write. since i discovered your blog I spent all this summer reading you late at night!!!
    I love your blog and how you write. you really are an inspiration as a photographer, but much more as a mother, you’re a great example, I admire a lot, and I congratulate you.
    all my love from Argentina
    it’s good to know that they are okay

  • Julia - I’m the SAME way! No games, but waaaay too many photo apps! I use all the same ones you listed…but one other I couldn’t live with out is Camera+. I always shoot with that camera rather than the phone camera because I can change the exposure location before I take the picture. IT’S AWESOME.

  • Chrissy - I’m so glad you and your sweet family are safe. You have been on my heart a lot lately with all of this crazy weather…xo

  • mara - I just want to thank you for your posts when Firecracker was in the in hospital. they helped me during the time our little girl broke her arm.


    so very grateful you and your family is safe and sound.

  • Liane - I just downloaded A Beautiful Mess last week and I am totally obsessed with it!

  • RaD - I can’t really answer that question, wish I could, but I have a cheapo trac phone right now so there’s no point. (insert sad face here)

    I wanted say though, I was praying for your family again when I heard the news and am glad to hear that everyone is okay. We live in earthquake country, and so while I don’t really understand, I sort of do (if that even made any sense at all).

    I love your daily life pictures. I try to do that myself too. My kids still like looking at pictures of them and their friends, but I think I might make my kids’ friends a little crazy because they know if they come over, they just may spy me with the camera, LOL.

  • Julie Moore - Have you tried ProCamera? A photographer I’m a fan of tipped me to it years ago. I never bothered with expert mode but thought it took better pics. Since snapshop I’ve messed with expert mode and love it!

  • Michelle H. - I’m watching CNN and the storms in Oklahoma. I’m hoping you and your families are safe. Thinking of you . <3

  • Jessica - Loving A Beautiful Mess! Also use PicStitch for collages but not all that thrilled with it. I’m @teamreichart 🙂

  • Emily - So glad everyone is safe!

  • Bek - The picture of the kids in front of the sea creature exhibit is INCREDIBLE!!! I hope that makes it to a magnet or frame or something 🙂
    Glad to hear that you’re all safe!

  • Robin - Your photography is beautiful. Wow. Lovely.

  • Nicole M - I love picstitch-photo collage, photosynth-panoramic (before iOS update included it), phonto (add words & frames), and gorillacam (best photo burst app for newborns whose expressions change by the nanosecond).

    My husband and I use iPhoto and email photos turned into newsletters, and cards app to turn photos into greeting cards.

    Otherwise we just stream our photos through our apple tv and rarely print pics :/

  • Cathy - Your girls are getting so big! Love those photos of them. So sweet.
    I don’t have a lot of photo apps. currently using A Beautiful Mess app a lot

  • Cindi Brumpton - Hope everyone is ok!

  • Sarah - I really like PicTapGo- I use it constantly! Thanks for the tip on the super fun magnets, too! Glad to hear your family is safe- I hope all of this crazy weather stops soon!

  • Kim - My love for photography and British Literature came together this spring while studying Shakespeare. Students had to find a Shakespeare quote that they related to and pair it with an image that best represented the Shakespearean quote. To do this, I had them use Overgram, add it to their Instagram, and hashtag my class #tjcenglishkbro. The students were engaged and we were able to look at all the examples from other classes. Check out Overgram and my English hashtag! 🙂
    PS…I finally completely embraced my nerdiness! LOL!

  • Bekah Moser - My husband and I brought our daughter home from Guatemala a little over 5 years ago. Since that time I have felt the Lord whispering “China” to my heart. My husband has been getting his PhD and he has not been ready to start another adoption. The Lord has softened his heart to bringing another daughter into our family through adoption. I know you are so busy and have a beautiful family to love on, but if you ever have the chance to shoot me a quick email with the agency you used (if you recommend them), I would be really grateful. Thanks and thanks for this beautiful blog.

  • Yanet of 3 Sun Kissed Boys - My go-to iPhone photo app is Camera+. I have about 24 photo apps so I understand the addiction, my friend. 🙂

  • Tony Lim - Praising God for protection for your family through the tornadoes. And, praying for you guys and Little One in recovery of her recent surgery! [Yes, I’m commenting after finally catching up on my blog reading, but going backwards.] Like others have mentioned, I take almost all my iPhone 4S photos with Camera+. Such a simple but effective camera app. If you’re a professional photographer, though, you’ll also love 645Pro. What it can do will blow you away; but it tends to be “too much” at times. I edit with Snapseed (paid for it before Google made it free, though). Enjoy the rest of summer, and God bless!

  • My Favorite Links – May 31, 2013 | k.foley wellness - […] Ann is the blogger that makes me want to be a photographer for realz. And now she’s listing her favorite iPhone apps for pictures. Maybe it’s a place for me to […]

  • Allison - I was wondering if you run a noise reduction app on your iphone photos, especially to print. Your photos seem to have little to no noise, such great clarity on them. I am struggling with digital noise on my phone pics. Thank you!

  • AshleyAnn - Allison – I don’t. The photos in low light have a lot of noise, but as long as I shoot in good light I don’t have too much noise…if I use the standard camera phone on my iPhone 5. With my iPhone 4s, I used the Camera+ app.

  • Internet Inspiration – May 31, 2013 | k.foley wellness - […] Ann is the blogger that makes me want to be a photographer for realz. And now she’s listing her favorite iPhone apps for pictures. Maybe it’s a place for me to […]