For serious photographers editing their pictures can be a major part of their routine, and if they can find an app that allows them to do this on the move, it can save them a lot of time. Although no app will ever be able to replicate the qualities of desktop applications, due to limiting factors such as processing power, some offer very powerful tools, and if you know how to use them you can create fantastic images.
We have trialed hundreds of these applications, and we can safely say that we were pleasantly surprised with what we found. Many of these applications are very powerful, and their features work just as well as desktop software.
Best Free Editing App – Snapseed
Snapseed is by far the most popular applications for editing media on the go, and it is incredibly easy to use. It different to the conventional photo apps, like Retrica, and it can do much, much more than just apply filters. One of the main appeals that this app has is the fact that it is incredibly well designed for mobile devices, and the user interface is sleek and simple.
It uses lots of gesture controls to change various things, and this means that there is less clutter to include in the UI. One of our favorite gestures is how you can select a tool’s settings. You can do this by simply swiping vertically, and scrolling through all of the settings, which we thought was a great idea, and it is just one of the many gesture controls that make this application amazing.
The app is free to download, and we were surprised considering the hundreds of features that it brings to the table. There are many things you can do with Snapseed, and the list is incredibly long. You can easily change exposure and white balance levels, as well as enhancing shadows, which can really give your photo a completely different feel and look. There is also the option to enhance small details by using the more traditional sharpening tools to make your photos pop. You don’t have to do these improvements to the whole photo however, and you can simply use the selective adjust tool to make precise selections for where you would like the effects to happen. We also loved the healing tool, which allows you to easily remove dirt and dust from your images, and this can really save an image you thought was a lost cause.
As well as all of those tools, there is also a large range of filters to pick from, including some classics such as vignette, lens blur, grunge, and HDR. There are also traditional and simple editing tools, such as crop, rotate and transform.
Overall we felt this was the best app for mobile photo editing as it is optimized incredibly well for mobile, with the inclusion of many gestures, and these work consistently and fabulously. The app’s simple interface also makes this ideal for beginners, and because it is free it is really accessible.
Best Paid Editing App – Photoshop Touch
Adobe are the masters of desktop photo editing, so it is to be expected that their mobile sister-app is extremely capable. This app is aimed solely at professional photographers and editors, and unless you will be using this for professional-grade content, we don’t recommend it. If you are serious about photography however, this is the app for you, and it blows all of the competition out of the water.
Before we talk more about the app it is important to note that there are two different versions of mobile Photoshop: Mobile and Tablet. We will mainly be talking about the mobile version, however we will mention the tablet version occasionally.
You can edit photos up to 12MP, so if you are wanting to edit DSLR grade images, we suggest you use the full desktop version. It has all of the basic features like cropping and adjusting exposure, however where it really stands out from the crowd is with its selection tool. This tool allows you to separate the foreground and background, with much more accuracy than other mobile competitors, and this means that you can add the specific effects to one layer only. This is a great tool and it bridges the gap between traditional mobile editing and the desktop-grade software.
The user interface is a little less simple than Snapseed, however if you are used to the full-fledged version of Photoshop, it will all seem very similar to you. It does not support as many gestures, which really disappointed us, however we found that these touch controls were more accurate and precise. There is a main toolbar, located at the top of the view, and from there you can quickly access all of the main menus, which open up sidebars containing their controls.
It also supports creative cloud sync, which makes transferring files between your phone and computer convenient, and this once again adds to the premium, authoritative feel that the application has. Overall we firmly believe that this is a step in the right direction for mobile editing, and it includes any of the features that professional photographers know and love. We really hope that in the future more apps reach this level, and we would like to see more gesture controls incorporated in the app.