Over the past few years, telephone cameras have successfully gone from usable to superb shooters. They may not be able to match the quality of something like a DSLR camera, but for most people, they are more than enough. And, while there is a lot going on behind the scenes on your phone’s camera to improve picture quality, even the best photos can use touch-ups – and this is where photo editors come in. .
What to look for in a photo editor
Before diving into the list, here are some general categories on which you can judge photo editing apps.
- Tools: The tool sets vary from application to application, but you want to make sure that the application you download covers at least the basics: cropping, color grading, and filters. Some more advanced applications may offer tools such as image fusion, special effects, and auto enhancements, but it depends on how deep you want to deepen your changes.
- Focus: With the depth of the photo editing world, some apps choose to focus on just one aspect, while others try to be versatile. You can find great apps in both of these categories, but what’s important is to make sure that the focus of the app matches your use case.
- Easy sharing: Chances are, if you’re editing a photo on your phone, you’re doing it to post on social media sites or to share with friends. Most apps make this as simple as hitting the “Share” button, and we’ve made sure that all of the apps we’ve selected offer this simplicity.
- Additional features: Some apps go beyond photo editing and offer additional features to make the app more versatile. This can range from social items (like sharing your images publicly with other app users) to features such as camera support (being able to take pictures from the app itself) and video editing. None of these are necessary for a photo editing application to be available, but they are nice additions anyway and will be marked as such.
That said, let’s take a look at a few apps.
Professional choices: Adobe Photoshop Apps and Adobe Lightroom
Just like in the desktop photo editing market, Adobe is a major player in the field of mobile photo editing with four excellent applications.
Photoshop is one of the most powerful photo editors on the computer, and when you’re trying to translate such a complicated program on mobile, it can be difficult to do without making it bloated. So Adobe actually has three different Photoshop applications, each covering a different section of the photo editing process: Photoshop Express, Photoshop Fix, and Photoshop Mix.
Photoshop Express is a general purpose editor, including filters, simple effects, and collage editing. If you want to deepen the repair of your photos, Photoshop Fix gives you access to a ton of tools to touch up and modify your photos. Correction is where you can do things like smoothing faces, adjusting lighting, and distorting parts of the image. And finally, there is Photoshop Mix, which is quite simple: it allows you to cut out and mix parts of various photos.
You can use the three apps together to create fantastic images. Perfect the appearance of your image in Fix, then crop and cut it in Mix, before finally using Express to add it to a collage or add a few final touches.
All three Photoshop applications are free. But they can also be used with a Creative Cloud subscription (from $ 9.99 per month for access to Lightroom and Photoshop) as well as to transfer projects back and forth between the desktop and the mobile – perfect for professionals who need to make changes on the go.
Lightroom aims to make the photo editing process as simple as possible, so that photographers can spend more time taking photos than looking at an app on their phone. You can use simple sliders to adjust everything from contrast to color calibration, or use various presets to suit your tastes. Lightroom is surprisingly powerful despite its simple design, and can even be used in conjunction with the Photoshop applications listed above for further editing.
Lightroom is free to download, but if you want more features like cloud storage, selective adjustments, and a healing brush, you’ll have to pay $ 4.99 per month or $ 59.99 per year for Lightroom Premium.
Free and simplistic: Snapseed
Snapseed is the easiest way to deep photo editing effects. It’s made by Google, so the user interface has the same “simple but powerful” feel as most of Google’s applications. Snapseed has a wide and varied set of effects tools and they are all extremely adjustable, so you can make your image look exactly what you want.
And the best part? Snapseed is completely free – no reason not to try it.
General purpose: Pixlr
Pixlr is an excellent in-depth editor. It offers more complex tools such as image fusion and double exposure, but it remains simple enough not to be overwhelming. There are even many templates and presets for novices to use to also show them the capabilities of the app.
Pixlr is free to download, but if you want to remove ads and add more tools like stickers, overlays, and 150 more fonts, you’ll have to pay the premium subscription, which is $ 1.99 per month or 11.99 $ per year.
Various tools: PicsArt
Picsart is a photo editor filled to the brim with effects and tools. There are over 3000 tools in the app that range from complex effects to simple cropping options. You can add text and stickers, use templates, and even do light video editing. It also includes “daily challenges” that assign you a specific photo editing goal if you’re looking for inspiration.
Picart is free to download, but if you want to get rid of the ads and access more advanced features, you’ll need to purchase the “Gold” subscription, which costs $ 3.99 per month.
Simple but elegant: Polarr
If you prefer to make simple but impactful changes, Polarr is the app for you. It may not contain thousands of effects like Picsart, but the features it offers you are powerful and can lead to great images. You can also apply filters, overlays, and use automatic enhancements, so the app does some of the work for you.
Polarr is free to download, but you won’t have access to some advanced features (like overlays). For a full Polarr experience, you’ll need Polarr Pro, which costs $ 3.99 per month or $ 19.99 per year.
Social setting: Fotor
Fotor is another great editor with lots of features, including various effects, in-depth tools for editing things like color and lighting, and the ability to create collages. But beyond that, and what makes Fotor special is its social component.
Fotor focuses on sharing photos with other app users and even runs contests that users can enter – you can even win prizes. Not everyone is interested, but if you are, it can provide great variety and motivation for your photo editing. You can even sell your photos on the app (but Fotor takes 50% of all profits).
Fotor is completely free.
Camera Plus Editor: VSCO
VSCO can act as both a photo editor and a camera app. Even with this shared focus, he still manages to integrate an impressive photo editing suite. You can apply filters, adjust color grading, and add frames and borders to your images. It’s not as deep as some of the more powerful apps we’ve listed above, but it’s still enough to enhance images without having to switch to another app after taking your photos. It also includes video editing features.
VSCO is free to download, but you can also pay its subscription ($ 19.99 per year) to access more than 200 presets for photo editing, some advanced video editing features, and weekly photo challenges.
Ideal for editing portraits: airbrush
Air-brush focuses on making sure your selfies and portrait photos are as beautiful as possible. You can smooth faces, brighten eyes and teeth, remove blemishes, add special effects and adjust the depth. With such powerful tools, your photos will be more beautiful than ever with Airbrush.
The airbrush is free to download, but if you want to get rid of the ads and access more premium features (like adding backgrounds and other facial editing tools), it will cost you $ 19.99 per year.
Ideal for black and white photography: Hypocam
Black and white photography is more delicate than it seems. It’s important to get the tone, texture and angle of a photo right, otherwise it will look like a cheap filter. What’s this Hypocam focuses on, giving black and white photographers a set of specialized tools – nothing more, nothing less. There are even large collections of photo samples from renowned photographers to give you a boost of inspiration.
Hypocam can be downloaded for free, but different filter and texture packages are available as in-app purchases.
The one you already have: Google Photos
Google Photos may not have the same in-depth tools or advanced effects of the apps we talked about before, but this should not be overlooked in any case. It includes the most basic tools, such as lighting and color level adjustments, as well as the ability to draw on images, crop images and add filters. While the photo editing features in the app are simple, they are still enough to make quick changes to your photos. And, since Google Photos comes preinstalled on most Android phones (and is free anyway), that’s about as much as you can ask for.
Integrated Edition: Instagram
While it may seem strange to rely on Instagram’s included photo editing, its built-in editor has great features and effects that are difficult (if not impossible) to find in other apps. It also covers all of your basic needs for color grading, cropping and filters. You don’t even need to publish the photos to save them to your phone (although it does take a little Workaround).
And, as you probably already know, Instagram is free.