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2 top photography apps to plan a photo shoot.

Planning can make or break an outdoor photo shoot. Whether you are photographing wildlife, landscapes, a portrait, or wedding, there's a few things you should know in advance, and there's usually an app for that.

How to plan an outdoor photoshoot

You'll definitely want to know: 

  • The location - being prepared with detailed knowledge of the location and a map is essential.
  • The weather - Should you bring a rain coat or not? Will the weather be suitable for the subject and equipment?
  • The sun or moon's position - Knowing where your light source, shadows, and light obstructions will be is important. 
  • Sunset / Sunrise time - If you're looking for golden hour, or darkness, know when the sunrise or sunset will be and where. 
  • Star positions - If you're planning to shoot the milky way, or a celestial body, you'll need to be able to identify it, and know if it's in position, and when.

There's an app for that - 2 Top photography Apps

We all know how to check the weather forecast and find a google or apple map of our locations, but how do we check on the sun or moon, the stars, and how they relate to the photo shoot location? We've got two great apps for that.

The Photographers Ephemeris (TPE)

TPE for IOS £6.99, TPE for Android £4.08
TPE Website & Browser Version - Free

If you're looking for an app that does everything this is my 5 star choice. Featuring maps, satellite views, elevation, sun and moon locations, times, elevations, and tracking, this app has everything you could wish for except for star charts. Using the simple interface, you will be able to view sun and moon positions at any time of any day ahead of your trip.

A 3 minute preview of TPE 3.0 for iOS. The Photographer's Ephemeris OS app has been updated to version 3.0, a major new release with a focus on usability and functionality. The Photographer's Ephemeris helps photographers plan outdoor shoots in natural light, particularly landscape and urban scenes. It’s a map-centric sun and moon calculator: see how the light will fall on the land, day or night, for any location on earth.

The app is not free, but is worth the investment, however if purchasing an app is not for you, the browser version is free to use and fully functioned. 



Stellarium Mobile for IOS £2.29, Stellarium Mobile for Android £1.56
Stellarium Website & Desktop Apps - Free

Free to use on desktop, and a very low price on mobile, Stellarium is our choice of planetarium for planning night time photo shoots. Featuring motion tracking, an incredible level of detail on known stars, planets, and artificial satellites, this app will help you plan your shoot of the milky way, any deep sky object such as nebula and galaxies, the moon, and planets.  

With fine controls over what you see, including field of view, night vision mode, light pollution simulation, zoom into stellar objects, and track orbits and paths in real time, you'll have all the information you need to plan a star photograph anywhere in the world at any time and date. 

Video by This Stellarium tutorial shows how to quickly get started the date, time, speed and navigation functions of left/right/up/down motions, zoom-in/zoom-out, and selecting/deselecting objects.

Know of any other photography apps or tips for planning an outdoor shoot? Leave your comments below.