Do you have some free time away from home and wish you could edit some photos on your computer? We’ve got great news! There are a plethora of mobile apps available to edit on the go. We’ve compiled a list of the best photo apps available to photographers on Android and iPhone. No computers needed.
Best photo apps!
This list is for the best photo editing apps only – no camera apps or community photo sharing apps like VSCO or Instagram. Stay tuned for the next article detailing a set of apps that will make any professional photographer’s job a little easier! The essential features that are needed in a photo editing app are exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, saturation, temperature, and tint. Some of the apps scrutinized did not have the above listed basic features needed by professional photographers and therefore were not discussed.
What are the best photo editing apps?
6. Photoshop Express
Surprisingly, Photoshop Express doesn’t top the list of the best photo apps. You would expect functions very similar to the desktop version considering both are made by Adobe, however, this app is almost nothing like the desktop program. This is likely because the kinds of actions Photoshop performs are too complicated to complete on a small mobile screen with big fingers.
You will need to create an account or sign in with an existing Adobe account before editing photos. Photoshop Express has a red-eye removal tool, a radial blur tool, and a healing tool. The healing tool isn’t the most advanced out there because the app automatically chooses which part of the photo it samples corrected part from. It doesn’t let you change where the sample comes from. But there is an undo feature that lets you change your mind without exiting the tool you’re working in. The crop tool allows you to crop your photo to a vast variety of social media file sizes: Facebook cover photo, Facebook ad, Instagram, Etsy cover, Twitter photo and more.
The Aviary app doesn’t top the list of the best photo apps since it the very first tools are filters, stickers, and overlays. You have to go scrolling through the tools to find the basic editing features. Some of the tools are a little more customizable. For example, the blur tool allows you to manually select which parts of your image you want to blur out. The transform tool can adjust the angles of your doorways and walls in photos. You can fix red-eye in this app, as well as heal a part of your image. Curiously the app has a dehaze tool, but it opens your image in Photoshop Express app rather than performing this action within the Aviary app.
The biggest shortcoming with this app is a lack of an undo button. The only way to fix a mistake is to hit the back button which takes you out of the tool you were using. You now have to go scrolling through the tools again to find the one you were using.
- One-tap auto enhance
- Gorgeous photo effects, stickers and frames
- Cosmetic tools: fix redeye, remove blemishes and whiten teeth
This app is better than a majority of editing apps available, but it isn’t our top recommendation. The layout for the tool menu in Pixlr is nicer than some of the other apps since you can see all the tools available in one click. Pixlr has a few brushes that allow you to adjust brightness and shadows in small parts of your photo. The app allows you to adjust the size, feather, and intensity of your brush. There is also an erase feature which allows you to choose which part of the photo to remove your adjustment from.
The double exposure tool combines two of the same shots taken at different exposures. This is perfect for landscape photographers unable to get the sky and foreground adequately lit at the same time. The blur tool lets you choose to keep either a circular or linear part of your image to stay in focus. The healing tool is only useful for minimal blemishes in your photo. It does not allow you to remove a person from your landscape photo for example.
Much like the filters in Aviary the filters seem over the top. However, both apps allow you to adjust the filter intensity until it becomes usable. This app also comes with stickers and frames, but it’s not something most professional photographers would use as they would want their photo to speak for itself. Those features would distract from the beautiful work you did.
Snapseed is very well known among photographers. Many already consider this the best photo app; it almost made the top of our list. Aside from the necessary editing tools, Snapseed also has curves, selective adjustments (brightness, contrast, saturation & structure), double exposure, and lens blur tools.
The healing tool, like most apps, does not allow you to select which part of the photo you’re healing from. It uses the surrounding pixels to fill in something you want to hide. This is only a problem when the item you want to hide is long (like a branch) or large. The best feature on this app which hasn’t been seen anywhere else is the expand tool. It works to increase the size of your photo by creating more picture where there is none. The algorithm reads the image and creates or paints more of the photo where there was previously a blank border. You can read more about this app here.
2. Photo Editor
This app by Dev Macgyver is the only app on this best photo apps list that is solely available on Android. Photo Editor features a curves tool which is pretty rare among mobile photo editing apps. Once you adjust your curves, you can choose to save those settings as a preset and apply it to other photos. Another unusual but handy feature is the ability to switch between the edited and unedited version of your image without removing the adjustments! Use the undo button to delete your last modification without leaving the tool you were using. Other tools include pixels (fix individual pixels in your image), denoise, mirror (copy one half of your image to the other side), and transform.
The clone tool is very advanced because you can adjust how well cloned bits blends in with surroundings. Another feature unavailable in other apps is multiple resolutions and file formats to save your photo in. Most excitingly, this app allows you to batch edit multiple photos with the same settings! This is the best photo app reviewed so far, closely followed by Snapseed.
- Adjust color, add effects, rotate, crop, resize, frame, clone, and draw on your photos
- Curves interface that allows fine-tuning of colors
- Drawing mode, adding text or images
What is the best free photo editing app?
1. Lightroom CC
Adobe has a long history of being the favorite photo editing software provider to photographers around the world. Adobe did not disappoint with this mobile app. Lightroom Mobile is free to download but requires you to create an Adobe account or sign in to an existing account. It incredibly contains almost every editing feature the desktop version has.
First and foremost, one of the most useful features of this program for newbie editors is the tutorial feature. This app tells you what each feature does! The app explains how the ‘selective’ tool, for example, allows you to edit a specific part of the photo. This tool is more advanced than other apps. You can select the size of your brush, the amount of feathering, and intensity of the adjustment. Lightroom CC has both a heal and a clone tool whereas other apps have one or the other.
The effects tool-set includes clarity, dehaze, and split toning. The detail tool-set includes sharpness and noise reduction. The geometry tool works like the transform tool mentioned earlier. Lightroom CC also has curves and split toning tools. Any adjustment or set of adjustments made can be turned into a preset to be applied to other photos in the future. If you don’t create a preset, you can still copy the settings from one photo and apply it to another. There is a before and after feature, as well as an, undo feature that doesn’t kick you out of the tool you are working with.
The short of it is Lightroom CC is the best photo editing app. It has everything you could want to edit your photos and syncs the edits to your desktop computer.
BONUS – AFTERLIGHT 2
Afterlight 2 is a popular photo editing app available for iPhone users only. It’s a complete overhaul of the popular Afterlight app. Powerful and inexpensive, this app is designed to make photo editing process easy for everyone.