Prior to writing her review of Scout Camera, Marianne Schultz of AppShopper asked me “Why did you want to create a photography app (given the large number of photography apps already in the App Store)?”
This post is an expanded version of my response to her, explaining why I made Scout Camera – and why I think it makes for a better photography experience.
I love photography… so much that at one point I strongly considered becoming a professional photographer, but quickly realized that it would require too much time away from my family. Though I’m not a very prolific photographer, I think I do occasionally take a decent photo.
Given that love of photography, it was natural for me to want to make a camera app.
I really enjoy the process of taking photos – and being able to frame a picture to a particular aspect ratio while taking it is, to me, a better experience than taking a photo and cropping it later on. If you carefully compose a picture while in the process of taking it, rather than taking a quick shot and cropping it later, you’ll end up with better photos – and you’ll become a better photographer overall. I think this is something most photography enthusiasts would agree with me on. For that reason, I wanted to make a camera app that offered a choice of aspect ratios.
I also really like the 16:9 aspect ratio. I find that particular shape of photo visually interesting, and wanted a camera app capable of that. Years ago, I discovered some fantastic 16:9 photos on the DPReview.com forums taken by photographer/architect Björn Utpott with his Panasonic LX1 camera – so my desire for a 16:9 camera app was also partially inspired by him. (I wish these photos were still around, but I can’t find them anywhere… his newer photos are taken with various cameras and mostly not in 16:9, but are still great). The ability to take photos in 16:9 ended up working well with the iPhone 5 when it was released – it’s nice viewing those photos on the iPhone 5’s 16:9 screen.
One issue I have with other camera apps is how some of the controls block the view of the photo you’re trying to take (like the typical front/back camera switch and flash on/auto/off buttons). In other camera apps, I find those controls distracting and think they get in the way of composing the picture. So, with Scout Camera I decided to make those controls only show when you need them.
Another problem with certain camera apps is how they try to look like traditional cameras and emulate their controls. I wanted something with a clean, uncluttered interface – something elegant that looked like it belonged on an iPhone, not a poorly translated rehash of DSLR buttons and menus.
I also wanted to be able to offer something that allowed you to take photos in black and white, or that had a little extra color saturation – or a number of other visual looks… and I wanted to be able to see what those effects looked like as I was taking the photo. There are some really great image filters included with Scout Camera, and there’s still a lot more I want to do in that area.
In many ways, I think Scout Camera makes the process of taking photos more enjoyable, and can even help you take better photos. While the app runs on anything from an iPhone 3GS on up, it really shines on an iPhone 5. In fact, I think it’s the best photography experience available on the iPhone 5 and I hope you’ll give it a try.