Whether you’re a seasoned backpacker with a smartphone, an adventure junkie with a GoPro, or an avid photographer with a DSLR, these apps will help take your outdoor shots to a whole new level.
Photopills ($9.99 for iOS)
Photopills takes the guesswork out of figuring out where and when to shoot. This powerful planning app can help predict when golden hour will occur, what time the moon will rise over a particular mountain, and where to find the Milky Way. And it can do it for anywhere in the world on any given day. Never miss a shot due to poor planning again!
Aurora Forecast (Free for iOS and Android)
Seeing and shooting the Northern Lights is many a nature loving photographer’s dream. This app uses information provided by NOAA to predict aurora activity and send updates straight to your phone.
Dark Sky Finder ($1.99 for iOS)
If you want to take stunning images of the stars, you’re going to have to need a really dark sky. While finding dark skies is easy in the backcountry, it can present a considerable challenge when you find yourself closer to town. Dark Sky Finder overlays light pollution data onto a map, helping you find the best places for stargazing (and star shooting!).
NDTimer ($1.99 for iOS)
Neutral Density filters allow for the long exposures that help create the effect of blurred waterfalls and streaking clouds. They’re fun to use but also a little bit tricky because the darkness of the filter makes it hard for your camera to know how long to expose for. This simple app will calculate exposure time for you.
AyeTides ($7.99 for iOS)
Nothing is worse than showing up with the hopes of shooting a rock-strewn beach only to discover that all those rocks are under a bunch of water. AyeTides can tell you when to expect high and low tides at a given location so that you can plan your coastal shots for when the beach is high and dry!
Google Earth (Free for iOS and Android)
You’re probably already familiar with Google Earth but it deserves a spot on this list as an easy-to-use, all around tool for off the beaten path photo planning. Fire it up before heading out into the backcountry to scout out your route and find promising shooting locations.