Edit Photos: BY DEFAULT, WE tend to share pictures as soon as we take them, often unfiltered and unchanged, and there’s definitely something about that spontaneity and simplicity that captures the moment.
However, it also means you’re missing out on the advanced editing and enhancing features available to you on your phone, via a variety of apps.
I have to admit, I’m a fan of having a big screen when it comes to using photo editing software. But there are times when you want to clean up a picture while you’re on the go, and there are people who simply can’t be bothered with powering up large hardware only to make a compelling Instagram post. You may be surprised at just how much you can do with photos on a mobile app. Even advanced functions such as masking, tone curve adjustments, overlays, blemish fixing, HSL color correction, and gradients are no longer the sole province of desktop photo programs.
After testing more than a dozen popular apps, our pick of the best photo editing apps overall is PicsArt. It has a great set of tools, plus features such as AI photo effects, stickers, text overlays, and backgrounds to enhance your photos.
Also here are some other great photo editing apps to try. You might be surprised at how well they work and how easy they are to use.
- Adobe Lightroom
- Google Photos
Price: Free / Up to $0.99 – $119.99 per item
PicsArt is our top pick of the best photo editing apps because it’s fun, easy to use, yet covers just about all the bases for consumer mobile photography. It is also a kinda do-everything edit photos app.
It has a seemingly endless assortment of editing and enhancement tools, but on top of that, it also includes a social element of photo sharing. Members can participate in challenges and follow hashtags and creators.
However, ads for PicsArt premium pop up frequently (and annoyingly) in the middle of editing processes. To turn them off — and to have the video editor, plus more tools, filters, and content — you have to buy a premium subscription for $11.99 for a single month or $55.99/year. (There’s also a student discount).
2) Adobe Lightroom
Price: Free / Up to $1.99 – $119.99 per item
Lightroom Mobile is a great photo app even if you don’t use the desktop version of Lightroom, Adobe’s category-leading edit photos workflow software. It’s a powerful, intuitive image editor that can prove useful in many situations—whether you’re looking for quick presents to enhance your pictures or want to take more in-depth control over how they look.
Lightroom Mobile is a great learning platform. Its ever-growing library of interactive tutorials will teach you to edit your images like a pro. And that’s good, because the feature set is quite deep, with dozens of tools to work with exposure, color, selective edit, filters, and such. The vast majority of edits involve slider controls, with quick responsiveness so you know exactly how the adjustment affects your picture.
Lightroom Mobile is a top-notch photo app for anyone serious about getting the very best out of their photographs. But it may be overkill for folks who don’t want to spend the time doing more than a quick brightening, crop or special effect before sharing their pictures.
Snapseed isn’t for the casual user, but rather for serious photographers who want or need to spend time creating the best possible edit photos while on the go.
The app uses a unique interface in which you swipe your finger left or right to make an adjustment to choose which adjustment you’re making. Snapseed also includes a bunch of tools typically found only on a desktop image editor: tools like a healing brush for correcting imperfections. It has also a lens blur option for focusing on one spot in particular. Snapseed’s excellent traditional tools and non-destructive editing make it one of the best photo editing apps for serious photographers who want or need to spend time fine-tuning their pictures. The app is free and there is no premium version.
Price: Free / Up to ₹85.00 – ₹1,000.00 per item
Pixlr has been in the free photo app game for many years, having started in 2008. You can do everything from add text labels on top of images to paint out the sky in a photo and replace it with something else. The cartoonish stickers are varied and fun. Quickly create collages, using present layouts or designed templates that allow you to shuffle your photos. The premium version ($1.99/month or $11.99/year) turns off the ads and provides lots more content (stickers, overlays, borders, and fonts). While serious photographers might find Pixlr’s library of editing tools too shallow, casual users will enjoy the app’s easy creativity.
Price: Free / Up to ₹58.61 per item
This impressively powerful and tool-rich iPhone app is nevertheless easy to use. The tools for colour, exposure, composition and structure are rather comprehensive, including layers, curves, and selective hue. The stickers are simple but varied, and the text includes numerous fonts; both can be edited for color, opacity, placement, size, and rotation. In addition to multiple levels of undo and redo, you can use the history screen to rollback your edit photos to a specific stage. Or, you can use the layers screen to select, edit or delete a particular edit.
It’ll take you a significant amount of time to explore everything that Afterlight has to offer, via the five icons at the bottom of the screen, and they can all be customized to get the right effect. The app lets you shift colors in an image, drop text on top of pictures, create effects like double exposure, flip photos, and more, and it supports image layers.
Price: Free / Up to ₹53.83 – ₹2,000.00 per item
VSCO is a long-time maker of professional filters for professional photographers, but this app not only filters but also all the standard correction and editing functions. With its focus on traditional photography, VSCO has a good variety of edit photos corrections and adjustments that produce nice quality results, including film-emulsion-type filters. It can even import RAW files. Also A good number of the tools are behind the premium paywall, however. The free app is limited to basic edit tools (still images only) and ten presents (filters). For $19.99/year, you’ll have access to a video editor, more than 200 presents, advanced editing tools (such as HSL and borders), still and animated montage tools (including layering). VSCO is a photographer’s tool that creates quality results, with the tools that it offers.
7) Google Photos
Google Photos is a service that’s mostly advertised as letting you store your photos in the cloud, but the mobile app also offers a good helping of both traditional and innovative photo editing tools. Available options start with the expected: cropping and resizing photos, adjusting brightness and contrast, changing saturation and warmth, and boosting the shadows in a picture. Google Photos than free users, including several particularly effective filters such as Dynamic, HDR, Luminous, Radiant, and Airy. Free users still get a full set of editing tools for adjusting the exposure, contrast, cropping, as well as adding text and drawing overlays.
But the Google Photos mobile apps don’t support editing raw camera files, however.
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