4 of the Best Apps for Planning Photoshoots

Apps have undoubtedly revolutionized modern life and there are few areas untouched by them. Photography is no exception and with the help of the right app, your shoots and your workflow can improve tenfold. Here are four apps one photographer reaches for when planning his next shoot. 

I have used three of the four apps in this video, but rather than cover the same ground OpticalWander does, I'll offer my favorite: The Photographer's Ephemeris. TPE is an app available for desktop, IOS, and Android (though Android is missing some features at the moment and the pro version cannot be bought.) The app is a dream for landscape photographers and astrophotographers as it offers the times, direction, and angles of the sunrises, sunsets, moonrises, and moonsets. It has a lot of functionality that can make planning shoots a lot easier, however, it's the PRO features that take it up a level.

With TPE PRO, you get Google map integration, Milky Way positioning, augmented reality, 3D terrain models with dynamic lighting, and so on. It didn't take me long after downloading this app some years back to realize it was going to be integral to all outdoor shoots I plan going forward. There are apps that can do similar jobs — some are in this video — but I found TPE to be the best and easiest, though it can go far deeper than my meteorological understanding does!

What apps do you think are the best for planning photoshoots?

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12 Comments

J.d. Davis's picture

Does anyone else remember when you just picked up a camera and went for a walk?

Andrea Re Depaolini's picture

Some people take photographs for a living and these are useful tools to help them plan a photoshoot and have more chances of accomplishing what they have in mind.

Robert Nurse's picture

You still can. But, if you want to capture certain events, you'll need information. Apps make all the needed data portable. I use Photopills. Being able to, e.g., preview the orientation of the Milky Way and know, beforehand, whether it will even be visible is huge.

J.d. Davis's picture

The biggest problem with apps: you lose the ability to think for yourself...

Andy Work's picture

I'm going to respond to that as soon as I download a forum response app.

J.d. Davis's picture

Well played, Andy, Well Played!

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

i do see people talking snapshots around the neighborhood. Taking snaps of puddles, dandelions, a bird on a street sign, etc. Real exciting stuff.

Chris Cameron's picture

I went for a walk to a local beach and discovered a long wooden pier. It was pointing Eastish. I then used TPE to find the day the sun rise would be aligned with the pier and went back.

J.d. Davis's picture

Looks good - I would have kept coming back, 'cept for one thing...I don't do sunrise!

Chris Cameron's picture

I did have to keep going back. Took three years to get the right day and the weather to align.

Robert Lynch's picture

I don’t remember the last time I picked up my camera without a specific shot/project in mind. I am another Sun Surveyor happy customer.

Willy Williams's picture

I have a strong preference for PhotoPills, Clear Outside, Stellarium Plus, and SkyView for outdoor photography. Light Pollution Map is also quite helpful.