One of the most important features of a smartphone is its camera, and the more high-tech your phone is, the better pictures you can take. If you can’t afford to upgrade to the newer models that can produce DSLR-like images, don’t fret—with the right app, you can process your photos and turn them into works of art. Here’s a collection of the best photo editing apps you can download on both Android and iOS platforms:
If you want to keep things simple, there’s no need for extra photo editing apps: Instagram is the only thing you need. It’s probably the most popular photo-sharing platform out there. It’s also owned by Facebook, so you can easily cross-post between platforms. As for actual photo editing, the app has all the bare necessities: a variety of filters, easy-to-use editing tools, and most importantly, an audience.
If you’re tired of Instagram’s set of filters, here’s an app that has more! Aside from photo effects and an editing panel that will add oomph to your posts, BeFunky also has a variety of overlays, frames, fonts, and stickers. It also has a collage maker, so you don’t need an extra app to make one.
Here’s another option for you filter-happy mobile photographers. Aviary already has beautiful affects available for free, but you can also buy more filters, frames, and overlays if you want. It also has nifty cosmetic tools that let you remove blemishes, whiten teeth, and fix red eye. It recently got a couple of pretty cool updates, one of which lets you check out photos under the Explore tab and study the set of edits (called a “recipe”) done on your favorites so you an apply them to your own photos later on. (You will need to sign up for an account.)
If you really like filters and don’t mind investing in them, VSCO (“visco”) has some of the best ones available. The app starts off as free with a few presets that are available for you to tinker with. Once you get the hang of using it, though – and it won’t take long! – it’ll be hard to resist downloading the premium bundles available. VSCO also has a pretty sizable community within the app, since it doubles as a sharing platform; you can check out their posts (and share your own) on Instagram under the #vsco and #VSCOcam hashtags.
If you are running out of space on your phone and decide to get rid of all your single-purpose photo apps, PicsArt would be the one to keep because it can do a lot. It has a collection of beautiful filters you can easily tweak to your liking, as well as editing tools that are very user-friendly. This is also a particularly good companion app for Instagram because it lets you push past its boundaries by letting you create collages – while also giving you so many cool layouts to choose from – and make portrait and landscape photos look better in a square format.
Snapseed is another must-have photo editing app if you only have room for one on your phone. (It’s owned by Google, if that’s any indication.) It’s incredibly simple to use and has a variety of one-touch, easy-to-adjust filters that can elevate the quality of your photo in a snap. It also lets you tune and edit your image while showing you the effect of your changes. And if you have advanced editing skills, you can tinker with the app’s selective and healing tools to hone in on areas you would like to seamlessly erase from your picture.
If your camera roll is a constant stream of selfies, AirBrush is definitely a must-have app. Every type of fix you’d like to do to your photo is a simple tap away: you can smoothen your skin, eliminate blemishes and wrinkles, brighten your eyes, lighten your skin tone, reshape your face, and apply makeup as well as countless filters. You can manually tweak every option to your liking or hit the auto button if you’d like to leave it to the app to figure it all out. In fact, there’s a handy “Magic” option where the app calculates the fixes that would make your photo pop the best and apply all of them at once.
This app is another great option for the selfie lovers out there. It has over a hundred filters, seven different camera lenses, collage and crop-free features, among other things. It also has a bunch of beauty-enhancing tools, including a body-reshaping function.
Adobe Photoshop Express (Free on Android and iOS)
If you like using Photoshop to edit your photos on your computer, you’ll be glad to know that you can use Photoshop on your smartphone as well. You can touch up your photos quickly as well as apply enhancements that will make images more vibrant. If you want more features, you can pay for add-on packs that gives you more filters as well as the ability to reduce noise, fog, and haze from your pictures. (For now, Noise Reduction and DeFog are available for iOS only.)
If you downloaded Photoshop Express, you might as well download Lightroom. While Express essentially gives you a light, mobile version of the desktop suite, you can use Lightroom to quickly make adjustments to your photos. If you’re a serious photographer who would like to edit your images on-the-go, these Adobe apps are must-haves.
Fotor has been around for a while, and since its launch it has only gotten better, boasting pretty high user ratings on both Android and iOS platforms. It has a great in-app camera that lets you shoot in six different modes. It has a powerful photo editing suite that comes with a huge collection of filters and effects. It’s great for making photo collages, poster-style posts, HDR, and more. There’s also a Focus feature that lets you simulate the “bokeh” effect. Finally, there’s “Scene effects” that lets you test various lighting schemes to maximize the drama in your shots.
If you love take panoramas or travel photos, this is a fun app that’ll take your snaps to the next level of coolness. Small Planet turns your photos into – you guessed it – small planets. Using GPS, it can also turn your location on the map (where Street View is available) into a stereographic projection. Not sure what that looks like? Here’s an example:
The paintings that are housed in museums and art galleries take a lot of skill and talent to create, but now, thanks to an app, you can quickly turn your portrait into one. Prisma quickly turns your face into a masterpiece by applying an effect that mimics the style of artists like Picasso, Lichtenstein, Warhol, and more. This is definitely a great app to have, if only to break up your Instagram feed with stylized selfies.
Tangent ($1.99 on iOS)
Although this app is only available for iOS, it needs to be mentioned because of the many cool things you can do with it. Unlike Prisma which does everything for you with one tap of the finger, you get more room for creativity with Tangent. Using its many frames, patterns, and overlay effects combined with a palette of color blend modes, your photos will transform into display-worthy art.
If you have a beautiful photo on hand and feel like it needs a little more oomph, you can turn it into an inspirational poster – Instagram has a lot of those! – by running it through Quick, a typography app of sorts. Like its name implies, you can learn how to use it very quickly. All you have to do is choose a font, select a color, type words, and position it over your photo, and voila! It’s a single-purpose app, but very useful.
For a dollar, you can expand your options for typography. This app has a great collection of fonts, doodles, colors, and other design elements that can make your photo a lot more fun and stylized. It also has a photo collage option.