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  • Austin James Jackson

The Best Apps for Landscape Photographers

As we start the new decade, it seems like almost everyone owns a smartphone these days. In fact, 65% of visitors to my website in the last month visited from their smartphones. The increase in accessibility to smartphones has also lead to a surge of apps being produced, and at this point, there seems to be an app for nearly everything. I use a few different apps to aid my photography, and in this blog post, I'll be outlining those apps.

phone apps for landscape photographers
Using an app on my phone to figure out where the sun would poke through the trees.

1. Photopills ($9.99)

Photopills is a must have app for photographers. $10 may seem steep for an app, but I use Photopills on just about every shoot. The app has hundreds of different features, but I like using it most for the augmented reality. Using the app, you'll be able to point your phone in a direction and see where the sun, moon, or Milky Way will be at any given time on any given date. It will also tell you the exact sunset, sunrise, moonset, and moonrise time for any given location.

I also use Photopills for night photography. Just like the augmented reality works for finding the sun and moon, you can also use it to plan out where the Milky Way will be at a certain time. This feature is so helpful when trying to scope out compositions during the day.

photopills milky way
Using Photopills to plan out where the Milky Way would be later that night.

2. Maps.me (Free)

I love using this app not only for finding my way on the trail, but also for marking spots that I come across. This app allows you to download maps for offline use, and it's much easier than any other GPS app I've used. I can select a whole state, and download all maps, which allows me to have all of the maps for trails and roads in the whole state. I download the maps of all the states I visit, and then I can go through and star the places I want to see. If I find a spot I like while out in the field, I can place another star to mark the spot, and then leave notes so I don't have to remember what each star means.

If you need an offline GPS, this is a great (free!!) app. Just be sure to download the maps you need before you go offline, as the app comes installed with no maps. You can easily install new maps inside of the app.

maps.me for landscape photographers
A few spots I have marked in maps.me around Mt. Hood. Each spot has individual notes when you tap the red marker.

3. Lightroom Mobile (Free)

If you use Lightroom, you'll definitely want to install the mobile app. Not only does it allow you to edit photos on the go, but it also syncs with your computer, so any edits you make will carry over to the computer next time you open it up. I also love using Lightroom Mobile to get photos from my computer to my phone. Once I finish editing in Photoshop, I'll save the photo back into Lightroom, which will then sync with my phone, and I can download it from here.

4. Clear Outside (Free)

I talked about this app in an earlier blog post on predicting the best sunsets.

Clear Outside landscape photography

"Clear Outside is nice because you can put exact GPS coordinates for any spot you'd like. In this example, I'm using Pacific City as my location. The app shows me the date, and a bunch more information in a table. The date goes out about 6 days, which is nice for predicting the best night to shoot in advance.

When we look down into the table, we can see that it shows quite a few things, but what's most important here is the total, low, medium, and high cloud, and how that lines up with your sunset. Total cloud cover is important because if it's 100 (%), you won't have any color and if it's 0 (%), you'll have a bluebird sky. If you're like me, neither of these are considered very ideal conditions. However, when I start to see numbers between 50-90, I get excited. This means that there will be some gaps in the clouds, and if these gaps happen to be on the horizon, you have a pretty good shot at some amazing conditions. "


No matter what kind of landscapes you enjoy shooting, there's an app to aid you in your work. Be sure to download these apps to help you achieve amazing images every time you go out. I am in no way affiliated with any of these apps, but I do believe them all to be incredibly helpful and necessary to get great shots in the field. Scouting is a huge part of my work, and these apps help that process become seamless.

Happy shooting!