Whether you’re all about selfies, showing off delicious gourmet meals, or you're just creating a digital scrapbook of your life, a good photo editing app will take your pictures to that next level and really make them pop. Luckily, there's a vast array of options available from intuitive and easy-to-use beginner blogging apps to complex, multi-faceted software for pros.
The difficult bit is finding the app that is going to work for you! To help you in your pursuit of the perfect candid holiday snaps and Instagram aesthetic, we’ve set about creating a buying guide as well as a ranking of our ten favourites to download on iPhone or iPad, Android, PC and Mac.
Let's face it, finding the right app for editing your photos can be difficult. If you find a platform that is too complicated you’ll become discouraged, and one that doesn’t fulfil your creative needs will be frustrating. Hopefully, after reading this, you’ll be better versed in recognising which will work for you.
The first factor to consider is how much experience you have using this kind of software, because your level of proficiency will determine what type (and level) of program is best suited to you. We've rated each app in our ranking to make its suitability easier to identify.
While many people do make money using social media platforms, the editing apps aimed at this market are usually on the simple side, and are easy to use and understand for complete beginners. Good news for aspiring bloggers! They're also the most likely to be free, or at least fairly cheap.
Intermediate apps will step the intricacy up a notch and have a greater array of editing tools and features to play with, which will appeal if you're interested in learning more about digital photography. Luckily, these apps will still be intuitive and quite manageable if you’ve used other photo apps previously.
Finally, professional-grade applications. These tend to be the most expensive but give the most control, providing the scope to do almost anything to your photos. However, these aren’t programs that you can simply open and start doodling around on, and require previous knowledge and experience before you get going.
Next, you’ll want to consider the different features available on different platforms. Most photo editing apps will have standard tools such as brightness, contrast, warmth and so on, but what we’re talking about here is that little step up from this.
Entry-level photo editing apps are aimed at those who are just looking to take their social media game to the next level and will have filters or presets that allow you to get a particular look for the 'gram.
Compared to the basic editing tools you will find on platforms like Instagram or even on your phone, these apps will offer that little bit more. For example, there will also be less common sliding editing tools to play around with such as white balance, vignette and shadows, as well as stickers and other fun effects.
Creative apps will provide you with a bit more freedom. These will typically let you add text or borders, change certain skin tones, and possibly even remove red eye and other undesired aspects of the photo. They may also focus on artistic aspects like making photo collages and editing videos as well as photos.
These apps are useful if you want to start a blog or social media account that you would like to be taken seriously, but you’ve not quite got the cash to pay a professional – or the skills to do it yourself. The more creative-themed will appeal to budding graphic artists or even those studying photography.
And finally, advanced editing apps. These will have all of the above features alongside more technical tools like image cutting, multiple layer editing, and advanced image healing with pristine precision. Some allow you to create your own presets based on these adjustments, too.
Again, using these features will require some knowledge on your part, either that or you must be prepared to undergo a steep learning curve. Apps with these tools are aimed at those who will be using the programs for work, study, or any sort of professional use.
The next thing you’ll want to consider is how much you want to pay for your app, if anything! Generally, the more complex the system, the pricier it becomes.
There are three typical payment schemes. The first, of course, is a free version. Try to find out exactly what's involved with these, as some apps will be free to download but may require payment after a trial period, or in order to get access to anything more than the basic editing tools.
The second option is to buy with a one-off payment. With editing apps this is usually quite a reasonable figure, costing from £1.99 to around £5, though they can be as much as £20.
Lastly, paid subscriptions. These tend to be left to the more complex systems such as Photoshop and are either paid per month (p/m) or per year (p/y). You’ll usually get a better price if you pay annually, but you should be confident the app is right for you before you commit – no one likes wasting money on an app they don't use.
Different applications are available on different app marketplaces, so you’ll want to check that the app is available before getting your hopes up.
When it comes to creative apps, in our experience Apple’s App Store has the best selection. This isn’t to say that the Google Play Store doesn’t have plenty of fantastic choices, and in fact, many are available on both. However, some companies only choose to work with one operating system, which can limit the accessibility.
The other thing to check is whether the app you like is available on the device you want to edit on, be that a smartphone, tablet, or computer. App marketplaces are often different for each device, so what is available on Apple’s smartphone app store is different from what is available on Apple’s MacBook app store.
So, now you're a little more clued up on what to look for and expect from photo editing apps, let's take a look at the best available to download right now. In ranking order, here is our top 10!
|Payment||Free option, subscriptions £2.99 - £59.99|
|Payment||One off payment, £1.99|
|Payment||One off payment, £1.99|
|Payment||Free option, subscription £19.49 p/y|
|Payment||Free option, subscription £9.99 p/m|
|Payment||One off payment, £4.99|
|Payment||One off payment, £19.99|
|Payment||Free (in-app purchases)|
Visual Supply Company
Merek David Com, LLC
ADVA Soft GmbH
Lightroom Photo Editor
Photoshop Mix - Cut Out, Combine, Create
Mextures Photo Editor
Photo & Video Editor
Get Serious About Bringing Your Photos to Life
For Those Who Want to Commit to Creative Photos Without Spending Big
An App From Google That Has Functions for Everybody
A Nice Introduction to Adobe Photo Editing Software
Put Your Feet up and Let the App Do the Work for You
The Worlds Biggest Photo Editing Software Is Finally Available as an App
A Popular App Among Influencers
Edit Away From Polished Perfection
A Valuable Retouching Component in a Editing Arsenal
Straightforward Fun Photo Editing
|Features||Advanced tools||Advanced tools||Advanced tools||Creative, semi-pro||Advanced tools||Advanced tools||Basic||Basic||Basic||Intermediate creative|
|Payment||Free (in-app purchases)||One off payment, £19.99||Free||Free||One off payment, £4.99||Free option, subscription £9.99 p/m||Free option, subscription £19.49 p/y||One off payment, £1.99||One off payment, £1.99||Free option, subscriptions £2.99 - £59.99|
|Marketplace||iOS, Android||iOS||iOS, Android||iOS, Android||iOS||iOS, Android||iOS, Android||iOS, Android||iOS, Android||iOS, Android|
|Devices||Smartphone, tablet||Tablet||Smartphone, tablet||Smartphone, tablet||Smartphone, tablet||Tablet||Smartphone, tablet||Smartphone, tablet||Smartphone, tablet||Smartphone, tablet|
Looking to start a blog or vlog and wondering how to sift through the various tech you might need? Worry not, because we have more guides and recommendations to up your photo and video game and help you draw in those loyal subscribers!
If you thoughtfully consider the features discussed in the buying guide and apply them to your goals and current editing situation, you'll no doubt find the perfect app (or apps) for you. Soon, you'll be one step closer to producing clear cut images that highlight your photography prowess and show the world what you see through the lens.
Author: Lewis Clark
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