Photo planning apps

#TravelTuesday has come back around and I, Dave Williams, am here again with another post as always. This week here in the UK has seen summer quite obviously arrive with some scorching heat, which will no doubt shortly be replaced with dreary, grey skies, but for now, us Brits will make the most of the big orange thing in the sky. Back on topic though, The iPhone Photography Conference is coming up and I’ll be teaching two classes, so it’d be great to see you there (virtually, of course.) On that note, I want to reel off a list of my favourite iPhone apps for photography planning, because we all know that great planning often yields great results. Here goes!

Google Maps

This is by no means a photography app, so I apologise, but for photography planning it is awesome. Not only for the “on the day situations, such as getting to our location, but for much more. Most of us already have the Google Maps app and if we use its features well, it can be particularly useful for us.

When we sign into the app with our Google account we can cross over to a desktop, laptop, or tablet to work on a bigger screen for our planning if we want to and put some serious research into a travel destination. Personally, I like to research fairly hard and make a shot list of all the places I want to check off when I go somewhere. We can do that by adding labels and by saving locations, viewing them under “Your Places,” and instantly knowing where to find it and seeing what is there.

We can change the view of our map as well, switching from a satellite view to terrain mapping, to a regular plan view, and even further into a street view. On top of this, if we’re going to a location with little or no cell service, we can download chunks of Google Maps into our device, so we can see them offline. Google Maps is one of the best planning apps for travel photography.

Weather Apps

This is a kinda vague one, I know. Weather apps are very, very useful to us for the short-notice weather info, giving us critical information to help us when we’re deciding whether to commit to plan A or resort to plan B on our shot plan. So, when I say “weather apps” I mean the local weather app. The local app, serviced by the local meteorological office, will give us the best info. In the UK, it’s the Met Office weather app, in Iceland it’s Veður, in Norway it’s Yr. With a little web search, we’ll find the local weather app wherever we are (or wherever we’re going). I cannot stress how important this is in our planning.


This one was bound to make the list. PhotoPills is the ultimate resource for forecasting the sun and moon, among many other things. When we want to know the angle and trajectory of the sun for a sunrise or sunset shot at any location on Earth, at any date and time, this app gives us and shows us the answer. It does so, so much more, but in terms of photography planning this is #1 for this information.

LE Calculator

Long Exposure photography is very popular, and it can sometimes require very, very long exposures. So long, in fact, that maybe we’ll lose count of how long. LE Calculator is a simple app, but very effective. The thing that sets the app apart from simply using the timer is that it gives us an alert when we need to close the shutter, but backtracking from that it actually calculates the exposure time based on our inputs of the meter reading and the aperture we’re using. It’s seriously smart and seriously useful.

Instagram, et al.

Our photo-centric social media apps are great for our photo planning. The research we put into a location by using these apps can reveal some great inside tips from people who have previously shot a location we’re planning on visiting, such as the best spots to go to or the times of day or year to visit, as well as showing us what kind of images people have already made, so we can choose to stay on track or break-free and come up with something totally original. The apps I’m mainly referring to, as well as Instagram, are 500px, Flickr, Facebook (mostly Groups) and LocationScout

So there you have it—some killer apps for photography planning ahead of the iPhone Photography Conference. I’m going to make the most of this glorious sunshine, and I’ll be back again next week, right here.

Much love


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