So you want to promote your business through photography, but you want to attract the attention of your customers. This is extremely difficult to accomplish. Especially in the age of social media, where attention spans are shrinking to just eight seconds. Using a photo editing app can help you get one step closer to success by using photo filters and touching up images.
Thirty-two percent of marketers say visual images are the most important form of content for their business. Can you afford not to invest in a photo editing app that could skyrocket your visual brand? Plus, we’ve created a product photography course that teaches you how to take stunning product photos with your phone.
We’ve compiled a list of the 21 best photo editing apps on the market, both free and paid, so you can choose which one best suits your photo editing needs.
But First, What Is a Photo Editor App?
A photo editing app is a software application designed to edit pictures on a mobile device. For a business, this means you can create a great visual strategy, displaying your products in a professional manner by simply using your mobile phone.
This type of app offers a wide range of diverse features from cropping, controlling shutter speed, and adding filters. But you can also find photo editing apps that let you create collages or create automatic settings for various scenes. When looking to improve the visual side of your business, you can do so much with the photo editing apps listed below.
The Best Free Photo Editing Apps for iPhones and Android
Best for: Advanced photo editing on a mobile device.
Google’s Snapseed packs a punch, rivaling desktop photo editors with its huge range of features and an intuitive interface.
Just like you’d expect, this free photo editing app comes with a range of preset filters. However, unlike most apps, you can edit these filters and even create your own from scratch.
It also has all of the classic tools, such as cropping, straightening, frames, text, vignettes, etc. And the sharpening feature does the job without making the image look grainy.
Then, things get interesting.
Snapseed has precision masking, which allows you to edit the depth of field – photographers often do this to make the background blurry and bring the foreground even more into focus.
There’s also a “Selective Adjust” tool. This lets you select a specific area of your photo and adjust the saturation, contrast, and brightness of that single point.
What’s more, the photo editor app saves your edit history, so you can amend your previous edits at any point.
Best for: Classic-look filters.
Like Instagram, VSCO combines a camera, editing tools, and an online community.
But it’s all about the filters.
This free photo app provides a set of stunning filters that make your photos look like they were taken on an analog film camera. These soft and subtle filters add a touch of class to your photos compared to many heavily filtered Instagram presets. And you can also adjust them via a simple slider.
Of course, the app also has all the standard editing tools, like adjustments, cropping, borders, and vignettes. You can also use VSCO to adjust the exposure, contrast, temperature, or skin tones.
Once you’re done editing your photo, you can share it with VSCO’s community or to another social network – like Instagram! The app even lets you share on WhatsApp and SMS using the in-built sharing feature.
3. Prisma Photo Editor
Best for: Turning your photos into artistic “paintings” and “drawings.”
OK, sure – most filters that turn photos into “drawings” or “paintings” are downright awful.
Prisma is the exception.
This free photo editing app uses artificial neural networks (whatever that means), which “enable users to make photos appear like they were painted by Picasso, Munch, or even Salvador Dali.”
Give it a go – you might be surprised by how much you like it. You can pay to access additional filters, but there’s a generous set provided free of charge. In total, there’s more than 500 creative filters you can choose from.
Prisma also has its own online community similar to Instagram’s. So, once you’re done editing, you can share your image to your Prisma feed, save it directly to your device, share it on any social media app, or send it via email or messaging.
4. Adobe Photoshop Express
Best for: All-around photo editing.
Adobe Photoshop Express takes many of Photoshop’s best photo editing tools and squeezes them into a mobile app. And despite providing plenty of advanced features, this free photo editing app is easy to use on a small touchscreen.
Just upload a photo from your device, take a new one with the camera, or use an image from your Adobe Creative Cloud account, and then start editing.
It has all the tools you’d expect – cropping, red-eye correction, brightness, contrast, saturation, filters, borders, etc. However, the best part is its selection of smart filters. These filters automatically correct common issues, such as color temperature and exposure problems.
Before you can use Adobe Photoshop Express, you’ll need to sign up for a free Adobe ID account. When you’ve finished editing your photo, save it directly to your device or share it to other marketing and social media apps.
Best for: Taking your food photos to the next level.
Everyone has been guilty of taking pictures of their food at some point. Foodie embraces this impulse and helps you take your food photos to an entirely new level.
The editor is somewhat similar to Instagram’s – except that all of the 30 filters and editing features are set up with food in mind.
Plus, it helps you line up the perfect bird’s eye shot and makes the colors pop.
Bottom line: If you take pictures of food, you need this free photo editing app.
6. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC
Best for: Professionals and those wanting to make quick pro adjustments.
If you’d like to up your game even further, check out Adobe Lightroom CC.
This app version of the popular desktop software provides access to professional editing tools on the go. Plus, it even works with RAW files – a high-quality image format popular among photographers.
One of the great things about this free photo editing app is that it’s not trying to do everything for everyone.
Instead, it focuses on providing a set of high-quality adjustment tools presented as simple sliders. These allow you to adjust the light, detail, color, distortion, and grain of your photo.
Should you decide to subscribe to Adobe Creative Cloud, you’ll also get access to additional features. These include selective editing and Adobe Sensei – an AI system that auto-tags your images based on their content, allowing you to quickly find the ideal image.
Best for: Creating the ultimate photo collages.
Many free photo editing apps allow you to create simple collages (like Photoshop Express). However, LiveCollage kicks it up a notch.
This photo collage maker has thousands of layouts, so you can always find the ideal one for your needs. There’s a wide range of styles and interesting backgrounds. Plus, you can add text and customize the fonts, colors, and sizes.
The app also provides basic photo editing tools, so you don’t need to switch between apps to create the perfect collage.
8. Adobe Photoshop Fix
Best for: Editing portraits.
You can use this intuitive and simple photo editing app to make professional-level edits to your portraits. To start, it covers all of the basics – you can adjust highlights, shadows, colors, and more.
However, it’s the Liquify section that’s truly impressive.
When you upload a portrait, the app will automatically register each of the subject’s facial features. Then you can adjust their size, shape, and position to create the perfect image.
Best for: Retouching selfies.
First things first: There’s nothing wrong with pimples, bags under the eyes, or teeth that aren’t perfectly white when taking a selfie.
Still, whenever our vanity gets the better of us, Visage is ready and waiting.
This free selfie photo editing app lets you quickly and easily retouch your portrait photos. Specifically, you can smooth skin, reduce skin shine, whiten teeth, apply eye makeup, and more.
The app also includes a set of interesting backgrounds and effects to spruce up your selfies.
The downside is that the free version of the app shows a lot of ads, and your finished photo edit will have a branded hashtag applied to the bottom. However, you can always upgrade to the pro version ($4.99 per month or $9.99 per year) to avoid these drawbacks.
10. Enlight Photofox
Available on iOS only | Free
Best for: Artistic photo editing.
One of its most popular features is the ability to blend photos together to create dramatic effects. You can also add graphic elements to your images.
While it has many of the same features as Photoshop, such as layers, the learning curve isn’t so steep. That said, to get the most out of Enlight Photofox, you’ll probably need to watch a bunch of its tutorial videos.
The downside is that the free version only allows you to use two layers at once. So, you’ll need to subscribe to the pro version ($2.74 per month or a one-time purchase of $64.99) if you want to let your creativity run wild.
Best for: Sharing your photos to build an online following.
It should go without saying: If you’re taking photos, Instagram is the place to share them.
The site is the third-largest social network in the world after Facebook and YouTube, and as of June 2018, the app has over 1 billion monthly active users.
The platform has all of the basic photo editing tools you might need, including filters, effects, text, stickers, overlays, and more. However, the app also provides other tools to help you grow your following.
For example, you can harness Instagram Insights to understand how your audience engages with your posts, or you can use Instagram Stories or Instagram Live to connect with your following in a more interactive way.
Whichever app you use to edit your photos, you’re going to want to upload them to Instagram.
12. Afterlight 2
Best for: All-around editing and artsy overlays.
Afterlight dubs itself the “all-in-one, feature-packed” photo editing app – which is a fair summary.
It has all the basic features you would expect, including tools to adjust the exposure, hue/saturation, contrast, and tone. And the options to add and customize text are vast.
Plus, there are more than 70 frames to choose from and tons of great filters which you can customize to suit your needs.
Best of all, there’s a set of textures, including prism effects, real film light leaks, and dusty film overlays. These allow you to create unique images that stand out and capture people’s attention.
The app also works with RAW files on iOS or Android.
Best for: Business-related branded photos.
OK, so Canva is not just for photos. It’s for creating posters and other visuals across your website and marketing collateral, but that is why we love this app!
Take a photo, upload it to Canva, edit it, and start creating all your amazing visuals that are consistent no matter where your customers will see them.
With filters, vignettes, and more your photos can look professional in minutes, and so can everything you post on social media and your website.
Best for: Adding beautiful text to your images
Over has a little bit of everything – like blurring, tints, opacity – but the option to add text is where it truly shines.
You can use the app to add multiple text overlays, which you can style individually, to your images. It has a great catalog of fonts, as well as a simple interface for quick editing.
Editing lets you adjust tint, size, and text alignment of the image. Plus, you can pinch to resize the text. Moreover, you can add multiple text entries on a single image using the app’s layer system.
Customize as you like and then share on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media networks. It’s a neat and low-cost way to start generating brand awareness for your business.
The Best Paid Photo Editing Apps
Best for: Adjusting the perspective of your photos.
Have you ever taken an amazing photo that just wasn’t quite lined up right? Perhaps the perspective was slightly tilted or askew?
SKRWT fixes these issues.
This photo editing app lets you adjust the perspective of your images so that everything lines up perfectly. It has automated cropping and perspective correction. Or if you’d prefer, you can use the “4 Points Correction” to edit the perspective of your image manually.
You can also use the app to correct lens distortion – a common problem with smartphone cameras. No wonder SKRWT says it’s the “missing link in high-end smartphone photography.”
Best for: Professionally editing selfies.
Do you love taking selfies? Facetune is another portrait photo editing app designed to help you look your best.
It allows you to quickly make professional photo editing adjustments to your images. You can smooth skin, whiten teeth, remove blemishes, and even adjust the position of facial features with just a few swipes and taps.
You can also change the backgrounds of your selfies using its set of fun graphics.
Facetune is best used in moderation – if you get carried away, your selfie can quickly end up looking like a wax doll.
Thankfully, you can tap and hold the blue button at the bottom of the screen to switch between the original image and your edited version. This way, you can easily tell if you’ve gone too far.
Best for: Removing unwanted objects from your photos.
Have you ever taken a photo that has an object in it you wish you could remove? Well, TouchRetouch is a photo editing app that lets you do just that.
You can use this photo editing app to remove things like telephone wires, posts, power lines, street signs, or trash cans. You can also remove blemishes, pimples, or even pesky photobombers.
Plus, the app is extremely simple to use. In fact, you can remove most objects with just one tap. However, should you need help, there are tutorials within the app that teach you how to harness its full potential.
Available on iOS only | $39.99
Best for: A huge range of photo editing features.
Pixelmator covers all the bases. It blends the tools needed by both photographers and graphic designers into one mobile app.
This is a feature-packed, layer-based photo editing app. You can use it to enhance images, add graphics and text, or create advanced artistic compositions. And the app comes with preset templates, collages, and effects.
The best part? The interface is very simple to use.
The app also works seamlessly with Pixelmator’s desktop software (which costs $39.99,) so you can edit wherever and whenever is most convenient for you.
Available on iOS only | $1.99
Best for: Quick and professional layer editing.
Mextures is a layer-based photo editing app that makes advanced photo editing simple.
You can use the app to stack different edits and adjustments on top of each other and edit them individually.
Plus, the app comes with plenty of beautiful filters for quick editing. And you can save your editing formulas to apply to other photos in the future.
It’s also fantastic for applying dust, film grain, textures, gradients, or light leaks.
20. Distressed FX
Available on iOS | $0.99
Best for: Unleashing your editing creativity.
This is a photo editor app with a twist. Distressed FX allows you to add a wide range of textured images and overlays to your images to create something amazing.
With this photo editor app you can turn images into photographs, add extra elements that you wouldn’t otherwise have at your disposal, and so much more.
Users of the app praise it for being “easy to use” and having “so many options to release and free your creativity”.
If you are looking to create visuals that are 100 percent unique, you can achieve this through this awesome app.
21. Superimpose X
Available on iOS | $4.99
Best for: Creating stunning double-exposure images
This is the ideal photo editing app for creating Photoshop-like effects that will leave your Instagram followers amazed.
Using the masks, layers, and blending modes in Superimpose X, you can create stunning double-exposure images that add a new dimension to your branding.
For layers, the app offers up to eight layers on iPhone 7 and above. For masking, it lets you adjust the brush strength and size to ensure you get the edges and other details. But you can also use other masking features like Magic Wand and Lasso to auto-mask your images. And of course, Superimpose X offers a masking library where you can store your masked images for later use.
Plus, the app lets you adjust saturation with desaturation, lightening, darkening, and other brushes. If you want to present a unique brand on social media and other online properties, this is the app for you.
There are so many amazing photo editing apps out there that, at times, it can become overwhelming. To find the best free photo editing app for you and your brand, you need to first think about what you want to achieve and then test some photo editing apps to find the right one for you.
For best results, stick to just one or two – it’s better to become highly skilled in one app than to have mediocre skills on many.
Here’s our roundup of the best photo editing apps available in 2021:
- Snapseed: Best for advanced photo editing on a mobile device.
- VSCO: Best for classic-look filters.
- Adobe Photoshop Express: Best for all-around photo editing.
- Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC: Best for professionals and those wanting to make quick pro adjustments.
- Prisma Photo Editor: Best for turning your photos into artistic “paintings” and “drawings.”
- Foodie: Best for taking your food photos to the next level.
- LiveCollage: Best for creating the ultimate photo collages.
- Adobe Photoshop Fix: Best for editing portraits.
- Visage: Best selfie editing app.
- Enlight Photofox: Best for artistic photo editing.
- Instagram: Best for sharing your photos to build an online following.
- Afterlight 2: Best for all-around editing and artsy overlays.
- Canva: Best for business-related branded photos.
- Over: Best for adding beautiful text to your images
- SKRWT: Best for adjusting the perspective of your photos.
- Facetune: Best professional selfie editing app.
- TouchRetouch: Best for removing unwanted objects from your photos.
- Pixelmator: Best for a huge range of photo editing features.
- Mextures: Best for quick and professional layer editing.
- Distressed FX: Best for unleashing your editing creativity.
- Superimpose X: Best for creating stunning double-exposure images
Did we miss any awesome photo editing apps? Which photo editing apps do you use? Let us know in the comments below!