Lonely Planet Writer

Remove tourist crowds from your holiday photos with this new app

The best camera is the one you have with you and that’s increasingly becoming your trusty phone. What you save on convenience though sometimes means you come out with less-than-perfect shots. Now a new app will improve your Instagram pictures by creating long-exposure shots easily.

A long-exposure shot of the Golden Gate Bridge taken with Spectre. Photo courtesy of Halide

Long-exposure photography is a great way of shooting landscapes and is very popular when trying to capture the night sky or light. It can also transform your holiday snaps by effectively removing people and other moving objects from view, meaning you don’t need to get to busy tourist spots before the sun rises. But this type of photography is tricky to get right and requires plenty of equipment, time and patience.

Spectre, a new photography app for iOS, wants to change that by allowing people to take long-exposure images with just their iPhone and without the need of a tripod or any other equipment. Instead, it uses AI to create the perfect image.

When setting up a shot, the app will scan the scene and choose a mode of photography appropriate to the location, recognising the waves in a beach photo or the fast movement in cities. It will also stabilise your shot for you, meaning you can take pictures with up to nine seconds of exposure without a tripod.

Capturing light trails in San Francisco with the app. Photo courtesy of Halide

In the few days since it has been released, Spectre has shot to the top of the photo app charts and has garnered plenty of five-star reviews from impressed customers, as well as suggestions on how to improve and fix some bugs.

The app is made by Halide, which is one of the most highly-regarded photography apps for the iPhone. Spectre is available on the App Store now for an introductory price of US $1.99 for a limited time. For a more detailed look at travel photography, check out Lonely Planet’s Guide to Travel Photography.