Apps Can Help Improve Your Holiday Photos

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - The holiday season brings out the photographer in everyone. Our family members, pets, Christmas decorations — all become the subjects of countless snapshots. But you don’t need a fancy camera to get professional-quality images. Most smartphones feature a great camera inside, and the right selection of apps can help your photos shine.

“My iPhone takes better pictures than my first digital-SLR,” said professional photographer James Brandon. Even he uses his phone to take pictures sometimes. “If I don’t have my digital-SLR with me, I’m using my iPhone.”

But Brandon still tweaks those phone photos before he shares them with other people. “I never give my clients a professional photo that hasn’t been retouched in some way,” he explained. “If you take an image with your iPhone, why would you put it up on Facebook or the web without retouching it to some extent?”

Apps can help you do that.

Brandon uses an app called Camera Awesome to take the perfect picture. And then, to fix an image’s imperfections, he said that Snapseed is the way to go. “This is an app that really lets you take creative control over editing and postprocessing an image,” Brandon said, showing off examples. “You can adjust ambiance, contrast, saturation, white balance.”

After you’ve snapped and retouched a picture, all that’s left is framing it and sharing it. With an app called PicFrame, you can make your own photo collage to upload online. “It’s a frame, and it lets you drop images into it,” Brandon said. “If it’s not perfectly centered, you can just drag it around.”

In the end: your holiday memories are captured with professional quality, but not the professional expense. The apps range in price from $5 to just 99 cents.

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