• Image about Iphone

For Hernandez, who has been shooting professionally with an iPhone since it first came out in 2007, it’s all about sharing through platforms like Instagram, where he has more than 160,000 followers. “I’m not surprised at photographers taking photos with their phones,” he says. “What really shocks me is that no DSLR [digital single-lens reflex] has incorporated that same level of connectivity.”

5 iPhone Photo Apps to Download Now

1. Instagram: This pervasive photo-filter and sharing app ballooned to more than 30 million users by the time Facebook brought it into the fold in April 2011. Today, anyone who’s anyone in mobile photography showcases the goods on Instagram. It’s also one of the easiest apps to master for those who are all thumbs around cameras. Free
(Editor's Note: use hashtag #americanwayphotos to show us your best shots.)

2. Hipstamatic: The app that launched the “lo-fi” aesthetic trend, Hipstamatic lets you transform your smartphone camera with a variety of retro cameras, film stocks and lenses. If you don’t know much about cameras, filters, film speed, etc., though, you’ll struggle through some trial and error in the beginning. $2

3. Camera+: The most popular third-party camera app pioneered many advanced features that Apple ultimately incorporated into its own camera app. Add robust editing tools, filters and a growing photo-sharing platform, and it’s a must-have for your photo toolbox. $1

4. Photoforge2: Hard-core photo-editing geeks balk at the simplified sliders and filters of many photo apps, opting for this powerhouse instead. It’s essentially Photoshop on your iPhone — need we say more? $4

5. Foap: The smartphone photography trend has gotten so hot, it’s sparked demand for buying and selling images. The Foap app features a stock photography marketplace where digital shelves carry crowd-sourced iPhone photos at $10 a pop. Upload pictures straight from your phone for a shot at publishing glory. Free

No one claims smartphone cameras can stand up side-by-side to the picture quality of an expensive DSLR. But as of right now, they can absolutely hold their own against the typical point-and-shoot camera. “The most obvious differences between an iPhone and DSLR are low-light capability, the lack of an actual zoom lens and the file size,” says Kirsten Alana, a freelance travel photographer who shoots with an iPhone for websites like Gadling, Hostel World and Bonjour Paris. “But in spite of all that, I’ve been using an iPhone as my primary travel camera for more than a year. So far, no complaints.”

Alana says smartphones and travel photography are made for one another. With pocket portability, an endless supply of apps at the ready and the ability to publish and share travel photos from anywhere, today’s smartphone is the ultimate travel accessory that no one should leave home without.

“When I’m traveling, I try to share something every few hours,” Alana says. “I want people to feel like they are there traveling as well, experiencing a destination along with me. An iPhone lets me do this more expeditiously than any other digital camera.” Photographer Lisa Bettany echoes that sentiment. Co-founder of the popular Camera+ app, Bettany recently finished a round-the-world trip for her upcoming book, Around the World with an iPhone and Camera+. “It’s more of a challenge to use [an iPhone camera],” Bettany says. “But in the right conditions, you can take great shots, especially for travel photos of subjects like people, food and street scenes.”

A smartphone’s small form alone makes it always available, rather than sitting in a bag in the hotel room, and it’s easy to take photos without drawing attention in a crowd. Of photographing in Morocco, Bettany says, “I found people were a little uncomfortable having their pictures taken, which can make it hard to take candid shots.” Using an iPhone camera allowed her to take photos without making a scene.

Admittedly, she’s run into a few hiccups using only an iPhone. During an African safari, it just wasn’t enough to get the shot. To help her stay on track, she dips into the incredible array of accessories made for these devices. “Wildlife photography is tough without lens options — you can’t just walk up to a lion,” she says. “But having a case that let me mount a telephoto lens with 8x zoom — that transformed everything.”