A quick look through the App Store or Google Play store can leave you overwhelmed with choice. The number of mobile photo editing apps available is astounding. It can be challenging to know what app is best and has the features you need.
To give you an idea of the number one photo editing app, we have put together a list of the best photo editing apps. From the most basic to the more in-depth, you’ll find apps of all kinds below.
Whether you are an Android or iOS user, you can use any of the selected apps. When looking for powerful free photo editing apps for social media or personal portfolios, you have many options to choose from.
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The 13 Best Photo Editing Apps for Smartphones
If you’re looking for a way to enhance your images, then look no further. We considered whether the apps are free, their adjustment tools, and any unique features. These are the most popular and best photo editing apps available currently.
What is the best free app for photo editing? Our number one might be it. Snapseed is well known and has become one of the most popular photo editing apps currently available.
Snapseed is a free, professional photo editor app owned by Google. It offers an outstanding balance between simplicity and in-depth editing.
You’ll find a great selection of over 29 essential tools and filters within the app. You’ll also find healing, brush, structure, HDR, and perspective correction options. One of its highlights is an impressive portrait tool.
Another great feature is the capability to perform non-destructive photo editing. As you edit, your changes show in a preview. This does not damage the quality of the image. Snapseed can also edit RAW files, a feature rarely found in a free app.
The app also features an impressive tool called Expand. This feature makes use of a Smart Fill tool to expand your canvas. As you increase the canvas size, Snapseed generates new pixels to match the new areas of the image.
Afterlight offers an outstanding balance between precision and simplicity. You’ll find a great selection of editing options within the app, including touch tools. These allow for more precise editing. You can adjust hue, saturation, color, and much more.
The app features a growing collection of preset filters. You’ll find mobile guest photographers and different themes within the filter library.
The app covers all the basics and has a user-friendly design. The way that the app imports your photo library is a big plus. Thanks to its simple nature but powerful potential, Afterlight is a must-try for any mobile user.
Afterlight is available for both Android and IOS. The app itself is free, but if you want to take advantage of its premium features, you’ll have to pay a one-off fee.
3. Adobe Lightroom Mobile
Adobe Lightroom is a powerful and impressive photo editing app. The app is part of the software suite beneath Adobe’s Creative Cloud. The range of features makes Lightroom one of the best photo editing apps.
The bonus is that the app itself is free. You can make use of a decent variety of standard editing tools as standard. A premium monthly subscription is available if you want to access the full range of tools.
But the free version allows you to retouch, crop, and enhance with ease. You can apply detailed effects with simple sliders and select from broad color adjustments. You can even adjust perspective and add more subtle effects.
The free version of the app feels focused on the basics. Premium content includes advanced geometry, healing, and masking tools. You’ll also find a gallery of professional presets. You can spend as much time as you want in Lightroom. For fast, Instagram-friendly images, or more complex edits, Lightroom balances needs well.
Lightroom syncs with your photo library, removing waiting for frustrating shot imports. This makes editing on the go easy. Even if you stick with the free version, the range of tools makes Lightroom worth downloading. It is simple to navigate, easy to master, and wonderfully efficient.
4. VSCO: Photo & Video Editor
VSCO combines a creative social feed with an easy-to-use photo editing suite. With VSCO, you have plenty of possibilities, even without paying for a membership. Tool highlights include exposure, contrast, and temperature correction. These make VSCO great for moody, cinematic shots.
The layout of the app is intuitive and sleek. Not only can you make use of essential tools, but you also have access to more specific features, including an alignment tool. You’ll also find color correction and the ability to edit RAW.
You can even edit video in the VSCO app. But this feature is only available if you pay for a membership. Despite its editing tools being more than great, the main draw of VSCO is its presets. This extensive collection of filters is a photographer’s dream. For adding an analog, authentic look to your shots, VSCO is perfect.
There are over 200 presets to choose from, many inspired by traditional photography and film effects. Bear in mind that you’ll only have access to a handful. For the whole experience, you need to sign up for a membership.
The VSCO app itself is free. It will prompt you to sign up for a membership, but you can choose not to.
TouchRetouch offers a far more focused and specific experience. In comparison with other smartphone editing apps, TouchRetouch is an outlier. While most other iPhone and Android apps provide a full range of editing tools, this app zeroes in on healing.
The app itself is easy to use. It offers all the tools you need for removing unwanted elements from your photos. TouchRetouch doesn’t overcomplicate things. Removing unwanted objects only takes a simple tap of your finger.
You can use the app’s auto tools to get instant results, from removing imperfections in portrait shots to deleting power lines. If you prefer to get more hands-on, you’ll be able to. The real benefit to TouchRetouch is that you do not have to be precise. Mark only a section of the imperfection, and the app removes the rest.
Most other mobile editing apps offer some form of healing or image repair. You’ll find it as standard in the most popular. But TouchRetouch offers something more refined and powerful. By focusing on this specific editing area, the app allows you to do more than some of the other apps.
Within the app, you’ll find a range of great support options. You can even watch tutorials in the app to help you learn as you go. To use TouchRetouch, you’ll need to make a one-off payment.
6. Prisma Photo Editor
Since winning the App Store App of the year in 2016, Prisma has continued to grow. A photo editing and artwork app at its core, Prisma turns your best photos into stylish paintings. This makes it stand out from other more traditional apps. The app features an ever-expanding library of filters, known as styles.
Using AI technology, Prisma applies your selected style once selected. You can then fine-tune and edit the final image to your heart’s content. You’ll find a full suite of editing options here. It has sliders to adjust saturation, sharpness, and exposure.
While not designed for pure image editing, the capabilities are there. Editing tools are not hidden behind the styles. You are also able to fine-tune your images before applying a filter.
The range of art styles and filter types available is impressive. Prisma releases a new filter every day, meaning the library is ever-expanding. Selecting and testing new styles can get addictive. At its core, this app is perfect for having fun with your images.
With over 120 million users, Prisma has built a real community around the app. You can share your creations on the social side and see other people’s best photos. You can even follow others and chat with them.
A very basic version is free, but two subscription models are available. You can also make use of a free trial period before committing.
Instagram is the world’s most popular social app built around image galleries. As a free app, Instagram offers an excellent platform for editing your images and sharing them with the world.
Completely free, Instagram’s editing offering won’t disappoint despite its social focus.
Before you share your images with the world, it’s easy to edit your photos with a complete range of tools. Fine-tuning your pictures is simple. Choose from color balancing sliders and sharpness and structure.
Much like VSCO, filters are the main draw here. A selection of free filters allows you to alter your images’ appearance and tone in seconds. Further tweaking can create impressive results, perfect for building a social feed.
Thanks to its simple design and integrated photo library, Instagram is very popular. While it is better suited to being a social feed first and editing suite second, it offers many pluses. Many users edit within an app before posting to Instagram. This does not mean that the app’s capabilities are not up to scratch.
A drawback with Instagram is not being able to download your edited images in high resolution. For the professional photographer or budding editor, this may be an issue. For finding inspiration and testing basic options, Instagram is a solid option.
8. Foodie – Camera for life
This food-focused app is one of the best photo editing apps for creating Instagram-friendly food images. Its library of presets and tools is perfect for mastering flat lay food photos.
You’ll find dozens of attractive filters, most of which are great for not only food. The slider tools are pretty comprehensive, too. Foodie is not only great for still images but also for editing video.
For selfie enthusiasts, Foodie has presets for snapping perfect selfies. You can also make use of a timer to get the best shot. The Foodie app is free, and it works as a great companion app to your social feed. Foodie is a great free option with its range of filters, effects, and editing features.
9. Lens Distortions
Lens Distortions is a layer-based photo editor for creating cinematic images. The app and its features focus on after effects. You can recreate iconic visual techniques with striking effects, including lens flare and fog. The creators of Lens Distortions took much of their inspiration from advertising and film.
The app offers color layers, an erase and mask tool and an automatic portrait mode layer. You can manipulate the layers by adjusting intensity and light balance. The library of layers is impressive and continues to grow. You can currently choose from over 400 effects to create striking images.
The Lens Distortions app is free. You’ll be able to make use of a limited number of layers and tools. To access all the effects and layers, you’ll need to subscribe to Lens Distortions Unlimited.
10. Superimpose X
Superimpose X is a photo editing app that allows you to create surreal photos. It strikes a good balance between after-effects and image manipulation. The app’s features can be a little tricky to master, but a series of tutorials have you covered.
The app boasts an attractive design and a robust collection of layer effects. With minimal trial and error, even beginners can make professional-looking images.
A handy feature is the ability to edit several layers simultaneously.
It’s easy to insert light leaks and other photo effects or make minor adjustments on clarity or shadows. Superimpose X is a Photoshop-style suite in which you can get very creative. You can completely transform your images with masking tools.
The app features over 18 blending modes and a surprising array of manipulations. You can also use an effective automatic masking tool built with AI.
Hypocam is one of the best photo editing apps for black and white photography fans. Featuring an updated design, the app layout is sleek and minimal. You can make use of a full range of standard creative tools. These, along with the featured presets, are perfect for monochrome photography. Everything you’ll find in most free apps is here, such as exposure, shadows, and contrast.
Either choose images from your library or shoot live. The level of control you have in the live view is great. You can apply filters and adjust your shot on the go.
And the app stores all your edits and post-process if you want to revisit them later. If you create something you’d like to use again, it’s simple to save!
You’ll find a social feed and story section on the social side. You can find inspiration, discover photographers, and pick up tips within this social side. The app is free, but you’ll need to pay to access extra texture packs.
12. Pixlr – Free Photo Editor
Pixlr is another excellent free photo editing app. Along with standard tools for adjustments and fine-tuning, the app also features a collage tool. You have complete control over all aspects of your image, from aspect ratio to color grading.
The app also includes more creative tools. Much like Afterlight, you can add text, borders, and unique after-effects to your image. This makes Pixlr a great option for creating unique images for social feeds.
With overlays and stylized filters, you can completely transform your image. There is also a wide range of effects to choose from.
A tool to note is the auto-fix setting. This allows you to adjust several aspects of your photo with a simple click. The double exposure tool allows you to create a merged image with adjustable transparency.
You can also create watercolor, sketching, and painting effects. While this app strays into the territory of being more fun than functional, it remains a great option.
You can download Pixlr for free and jump straight in. But you’ll need to pay for some texture and overlay packs.
13. Photoshop Camera
Photoshop Camera is a fun, easy-to-use app. It combines simple fine-tune tools with a library of ‘lenses.’ These apply certain styles to your images, either as you take them or after in the edit.
While it’s not as powerful as the Photoshop products of the past, this is a fun app designed to help you get creative. While the tools on offer are somewhat basic compared to other apps, Photoshop Camera is a great light-hearted option. A bonus is that the app is free, with a small number of optional in-app purchases available.
This is a great option for simple, fun shots and basic adjustments such as cropping and quick fixes.
So what is the best photo editing app? The answer may be subjective. It comes down to which app clicks with your style of photography best. Thanks to the high quality of most mobile photo editing apps, it’s easy to be a photographer on the go. Editing pictures has never been so simple.
Most editing apps offer quick and easy photo editing tools. And some even allow you to edit photos and videos. Whether you are an editing pro or a complete beginner, you should try some of our selections of the best photo editing apps.
It won’t take long for you to see which one you prefer. One massive bonus to free apps is that there is no commitment. This means they are a great place to start.
Much of the final decision will come down to your personal preference. Some apps are better for portrait photography, while others are more well-rounded. Ultimately, it’s down to how the app feels and integrates into your photography.
If you opt for Lightroom, check out our Effortless Editing with Lightroom course!