When you think of photo apps, it’s likely that you immediately think of Instagram. And, although this is the best known app of its kind, there are a whole host of other software solutions that will take your imagery to a level that Insta users can only dream of. From simple edits to fun features and advanced manual control, both Apple Store and Google Play Store have a lot to offer for the most amateur of photographers to pro shooters with portfolios.
We’ve compiled a list of the best apps available right now that will turn your most mediocre photography into true works of art.
If you’re only going to download one photo editing app, make sure that it’s Snapseed.
The clean and tidy interface is really easy to navigate, and has all the filters and retouching tools you’ll need to take your photography to the next level. There are all the usual features you’d expect from a photo editing app, such as exposure adjustment, cropping, and sharpening, as well as a few more advanced tools.
The healing tool removes unwanted aspects of your images, and the brush and selective tools give you the power to adjust the color and brightness in specific areas of your pictures, instead of having to edit the entire thing.
Raw images are supported too, allowing you to manipulate the tiniest details in your images. For a free app, what more could you want?
The company’s strap line for this app is that “unique has never been this easy”, and we’re inclined to agree.
Boasting an incredible collection of textures, film presets, and grading options, it’s quick and simple to get creative with your images. Up your production value instantly with grains, gradients and light leaks, as well as more than 150 other textures.
And, you’ve got the option to adjust the opacity of your chosen effect, so you can create photography that is truly unique. You can even create your own formulas that you can come back to for future edits.
Mextures also claims to be the only app that allows unlimited layers in an image, and their intuitive workflow makes it easy to change any of your edits without affecting the rest of your stack.
Are you a fan of taking selfies? Let’s be honest, who isn’t? Cymera is the ultimate beauty camera, and will ensure that you look your best in every shot.
The live beauty camera lets you choose your best look in real time, so you can decide which setting is most flattering before snapping your shot. And, once you have your image, you can manipulate it as much or as little as you like with the easy to use editing tools.
Add makeup, remove wrinkles and other imperfections, and even adjust the shape of your face with the intuitive on board tools.
There are also plenty of filters and stickers available if you want to pimp your pictures before posting them.
So far we’ve only talked about digital photography, but if you’re a lover of analogue imagery you’re going to need an app for that. Widely regarded as the best photo scanning app available right now, Google’s PhotoScan scans and saves your printed photos using your phone’s camera.
This app is more advanced than just taking a picture of a photo: it creates a digital scan which replicates your image with complete accuracy and no glare.
It only takes a few seconds to do and is easy to use, so you can forever preserve cringe-inducing childhood pictures, or your hipster 35mm shots.
There’s an inbuilt editing tool, too, so you can enhance your images once you’ve finished scanning them. Once they’re done, back them up with Google photos and easily share them with a simple link.
What Cymera is to selfies, Foodie is to, well foodies. If you love filling your Insta feed with shots of beautiful meals, Foodie is the app to do it with. There are more than 30 food-themed filters including Yum, Sweet, Fresh and BBQ, which are all designed with meals in mind.
The accurate smart guide makes top down shots easier to capture, and there’s a timer for if you want to get in your shot. Live filters are perfect for videos, and once you’re done editing you can easily share your masterpiece on social media.
Got an iPhone? Want pro-level editing tools in the palm of your hand? Darkroom is the answer.
If you’re familiar with Lightroom, you’ll appreciate the similar tools on board this pro-level app. As well as being capable of handling RAW and large format images, it’s also set up to work with your live images. As with Lightroom, you can adjust everything from hue and saturation to luminosity sliders and curves.
You can also batch edit your images, which is an incredibly helpful time saving feature that not many other apps offer. Not in the mood for complex edits? The great selection of filters provides a handy shortcut to gorgeous photos.
This is one of the most popular photo apps in the Apple Store, and will give you a much more ‘manual’ editing experience than the others on our list.
On the other side of the coin from Darkroom is PicsArt Photo Studio. This is an app designed purely for fun and ease of use, and there are an unbelievable amount of tools to choose from.
There are over 100 templates for making collages, and more than 1000 editing features which make it simple to enhance your images.
If you’re looking to get creative with your pictures, there are loads of free stickers and clipart available, and you can use a variety of drawing tools to add your own touch to your photos.
PicsArt’s other fun feature is Photo Remix, which lets you pick from a free library of images and then edit them to make them your own. Handy if you’re not so great behind a camera.
So you’ve edited your images, but you want to do more: Superimpose lets you do just that. You can combine two photos easily with this smart app, letting you create a whole new reality within a few minutes.
Using the masking tool, you can erase backgrounds and superimpose one image on top of another to create realistic composites. It’s also possible to layer up to eight images in one composition, creating impressive depth and detail in your photography, and you can combine various versions of the same shot using gradient masks to improve your final image.
There are also lots of editing tools available, so you can correct colors or add effects quickly and easily.
9. VSCO Cam
Sharing photography is a huge market, as proved by Instagram, but VSCO Cam takes the concept to a more professional level. By connecting skilled photographers all over the world, users can access a huge catalogue of inspirational imagery.
Show off your own creativity by making your own VSCO journal to share with the community, and discover new tips and tricks from other users.
The really cool thing about this app is that your amount of followers is hidden, so it’s a completely level playing field and everyone has the same chance to get their work out there for others to enjoy.
There are plenty of top level editing tools to enjoy too, including high resolution imports and before and after comparisons so you can see how you created your edit.
Snapseed features a healing tool, but TouchRetouch offers much more than the simple removal of imperfections.
If your images have unwanted aspects such as dust spots, lens flairs, or objects like telephone wires, simply use your finger to paint over the area that you want to change. As you paint, the app works its magic by analyzing the surrounding area and using the information in your image to replace the things that you want to remove.
The great thing about this app is that it doesn’t really have limitations as to what you can remove. Whether it’s a small piece of litter or a stranger photobombing your picture, you can get rid of it quickly while achieving a professional finish.
Most smartphones have great cameras and basic editing tools built in, but if you want your photography to look more professional and have a higher production value, it’s worth downloading at least one or two of these apps. And, with several on our list being free, it really is a no brainer.