The quality of the cell phone camera is better than it’s ever been. With Samsung and iPhone leading the way, these days it even rivals the digital camera. On top of the constantly improving phone technology, there are also countless apps to choose from on the Play or App store. If you wish to play with your photos once you’ve taken them, choose an editing app. One of these can be used to retouch photos, edit backgrounds or experiment with the exposure. This is a good idea if you want to set your photos apart from the rest. Using an editing app gives you more control over the aesthetics. Using one of these is also a great idea if you want to learn more about photography.
However, there are so many options out there that choosing one may be overwhelming. Here are five of the best to make your decision easier.
Owned by Google, this app is one of the most popular but also great for professional photographers. It supports RAW photos which allows images of much higher quality and a larger spectrum for editing. For such a powerful editing tool, it is surprisingly simple to use.
If you aren’t too confident with editing, you can use the presets such as already installed filters. You can also create your own filters. These are good enough for amateur photographers. If you want more, there is a expanse of tools available. These include the basics to more advanced settings such as double exposure, frames and overlays.
It is not common that you come across an app that is free with no ads nor in-app purchases, that is of such a high standard. This is available for both Android and iOS. Definitely worth it.
VSCO (free to start off with)
VSCO and Instagram are clear rivals. They have a similar photographic approach and objective. The Visual Supply Company has a passionate and enthusiastic online community. Like Instagram, it is at the forefront of social media camera apps that prioritise sharing photos. It also offers a camera and an editing ‘studio’ that is one of the most powerful. The subtle cinematic filters are something to compete with. There is a wide range and many mirror analogue film photography. This is perfect if you like your photos to have the ‘retro’ look. Although straightforward, the editing tools are plenty. You can explore vignettes, retouch skin tones and adjust exposure or colour.
By paying a little more or an annual membership of $19.99 , you have access to tips, more tools and a greater choice of filters. The VSCO community is not as established as Instagram, however it focuses more on like-minded photographers. Therefore if you want to avoid unnecessary Instagram news feed, this may suit you better. Accessible for both iPhone and Android.
Adobe Lightroom CC (free)
If you are already an Adobe Creative Cloud user, this app is well worth a look as it is included in your subscription ($9.99 per month). It also automatically syncs your edits between devices. Lightroom is originally an editing tool for desktop, therefore for previous users it is now a functioning portable tool. The mobile version has a surprising amount of tools.
Even if you haven’t used Adobe before, this app is worth a try. The app offers you presets, many editing tools with light, colour and grain adjustments. It also supports RAW photos, meaning you can edit photos at their highest-resolution taken with your phone or DSLR. The interface makes it easy to organise and manage collections of photos.
If you already have or are interested in investing in Adobe on both your desktop and mobile, this app is worth it. However, for amateur photographers who simply want an editing mobile app, there are probably better options for you.
Other Adobe editing apps to check out are Adobe Photoshop Express, Adobe Photoshop Mix, and Adobe Lightroom.
It won’t come as a surprise if you have heard of or already use Instagram. With one of the largest online social-network communities out there. Because of this, it’s a great place to find a following for your photos and also ‘follow’ other photographers that interest you.
Editing wise, it has a lot to offer. While taking a photo you can overlay effects live such as text and stickers. The built-in editing tools include a variety of filters that are very popular. The basics such a cropping and rotating are easy to work with. Also, it offers light, colour and sharpening adjustments. Vignette and tilt-shift effects are a feature too.
This is the perfect app for those photographers that want to edit and share with immediacy and on the go. It offers a simplicity that few editing apps can rival. As a professional photographer, this may not be for you, yet it’s perfect for beginners. It is also great if you are seeking recognition for your images. Both Android and iOS support Instagram.
Facetune 2 (free)
For those that are looking to perfect their selfies more than anything, this could be the app for you. It includes tools such as colour correction, blemish removal, and teeth whitening. In more detail, you can remove wrinkles and grey hairs and that’s just the start. It has an advanced face-recognition technology that allows realistic editing instead of over exaggerated effects.
The Live Preview is an exciting feature that sets the app apart from the rest. It gives you the chance to ‘fix’ things live before taking the photos. It lets you change the shape of your lips, nose, and eyes. Although free to begin with, to access the best tools you need a subscription.
If this app doesn’t work for you there are many other selfie editing apps to try. Just to name a few, check out YouCam Perfect or Retrica for those selfie snaps. These fun apps also include collages, stickers, and frames.