Outdoor Photographers Need These 4 Crucial Apps

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So you’ve joined our Creative Photography Challenge and are about to head outside take some photos. As a landscape photographer, generally speaking, spontaneity and luck are not your best of pals. Okay, that’s not entirely fair, but you get what I mean. For the perfect light, all the weather conditions just so, and the sun just cresting over a specific hilltop at 7:43 EXACTLY, the chances of you lucking into that situation are slim.

Thankfully, with a few apps on your smart phone, you can spend more time soaking in the beauty and less time worrying about if you’ll make it in time to see the a particularly red sunset. 

The Photographers Ephemeris

Download: Android/iOS


How many times have you heard “This app is an invaluable tool!” If you’re anything like me, a lot. However, we’re not alone in in feeling that finally there is a tool that fits the mold. The Photographers Ephemeris allows you to plan outdoor photography shoots in natural light.

Within the app there is a map-centric sun and moon calculator that enables you to see how the light will fall on the land, day or night, for any location on earth, at any time that you chose. The ability to plan ahead adequately and ensure the best possible lighting conditions really and truly is invaluable. 


Download: Android/iOS

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“Being at the Right Place, at the Right Time is an important concept to take beautiful landscape photos. Yet in many countries there are closer or secrecy about where and when to take landscape photos.”

Night Photography Week

There is a barrier in the landscape photographers world that Pashadelic has finally broken. With this app, Pashadelic allows users to post their photos, the location, and all the details about what it took to get there, what was required to get the shot and even what lens & settings that photographer used.


Download: Android/iOS


When it comes to the stars, I have next to zero idea on what constellation is what and where the milk way is sitting in relation to my surroundings. However, your new best pal, SkySafari knows all those things and is ready help point your camera lens.

This app walks you through what it takes to understand what the night sky will look like at a designated time of day, anywhere on Earth. Anywhere. Gone are the days of showing up and crossing your fingers.


The basic version of SkySafari “shows you 119,000 stars, plus 220 of the best-known star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies in the sky. It displays the Solar System’s major planets and moons using NASA spacecraft imagery, and includes the best-known 500 (or so) asteroids, comets, and satellites. It accurately shows you the sky from anywhere on Earth, at any time up to 100 years in the past or future, and lets you identify stars, planets, and constellations with your iDevice’s GPS, compass and/or gyroscope.”

For the purposes of night and star trails photography, this is more than plenty. However if you wish to peer deeper into the cosmos and see even MORE constellations and start clusters than you could have ever imagined, then check out the Sky Safari Plus, or the Sky Safari Pro.


Download: Android/iOS

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If you’re anything like me, it helps to be visual with planning. I can’t ask siri, “where in the sky will the sun be at 6:42pm tonight?” But, using the augmented reality camera of Sunseeker on my smartphone I can see exactly where the sun will be AND the path will continue to follow for the rest of the evening.

The future is here people, and its making our photos even better than we thought possible.

Where do I use these apps? Mostly when I plan my night photography shoots. Learn how to use them to plan everything to a T during the upcoming Night Photography Week


Casey Cosley

As a Seattle-based photographer, I incorporate the culture and style of the city into the sense and attitude of my work. I deliver a stunning and vibrant body of work for my clients, and am available for commercial & editorial travel and/or location photo assignments worldwide. Check out my work on Instagram.