If a picture speaks a thousand words, then you better make sure that people listen. However, unlike painted pictures, capturing actual photos is like capturing time. You’ll never be able to capture the same moment ever again. Aside from selecting a subject and taking the photo, producing aesthetically pleasing and meaningful photos require an editing process. That said, there are photo editing apps available to help improve the overall quality of images. With the best photo editing app, you can make the best out of every captured moment.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the best photo editing apps and programs for any device.
What are photo editing applications?
Photo editing apps are software programs used to edit digital or traditional photographs. These apps are useful for both professional and personal use. Notably, special interest and artistic groups use them more frequently. These include artists, amateurs, photographers, and illustrators.
There many different types of applications available for computers, mobile devices, and tablets. Most photo editing apps only allow you to upload specific graphic design file formats onto the software. This might include the GIG, TIF, PNG, and JPG file formats. To learn more about which file format works best with your project, you can check out the top ten most common file formats and the specific uses for each.
Photo editing software offers a wide variety of features. Their practical uses and applications are also just as varied. Personal photos are commonly edited for posting to social media websites or as a hobby. Meanwhile, professional photographers and artists make use of this software. These allow for quick editing to make the photos clearer and more presentable. Most photo editing apps also compete on the variety of their customization options. These allow artists to custom-fit their photos for a specific target audience.
What are the common features of photo editing apps?
There are different types of graphic software programs. These include vector graphics editors, raster graphics editors and 3D photo editors. Other features include special effects, selection tools, and layers. There’s also image size alteration, cropping, noise reduction, and color construction. All these tools allow the user to manipulate, enhance and transform images. The editing process is meant to produce a desired effect or message from the photo
Most software also features a wide variety of theme overlays and color changes. Some tools allow the user to soften or sharpen images and merge images with other images. Meanwhile, some have the ability to create collages using multiple photos. More advanced software use AI technology scans for parts in the photo that need editing. It then automatically takes action to correct them.
Who can benefit from photo editing applications?
Anyone who takes photos, posts them online, or enjoys creating creative content can benefit from photo editing applications. Thus, we have attempted to compile the best photo editing tools for PC, Mac, Android, and iOS devices. These are the quickest and most convenient apps available to edit your photos. Most of these tools are also available online for free. We will assess each software according to its features and performance. We will also take into consideration the user interface and usability.
The best free and premium photo editing apps are usually enough to meet the photo editing needs of an average user. With the right application, creating a realistic composite or a photograph with artistic design shouldn’t be a problem. And after you’ve produced the best photos, you need to find a way to organize them on your computer or device. Learn how to zip your files as the first step to efficient photo filing.
Of course, photo editing apps are only one of many types of media-related software and tools. There are plenty of other programs that help you create, capture and improve media content, and we encourage you to explore them. If your specific need is to download photos and videos from social media applications, you can learn how to download photos from Instagram or how to download videos without using any software.
Best Photo Editing App for PC
Phones and devices are fully capable of taking photos. However, editing may be quite difficult to do while using these handheld devices. Edit your photos to perfection with the most powerful editing apps for your PC.
Adobe Lightroom CC
Adobe Lightroom CC is a subscription-based photo editing app. Created by the famous computer software giant Adobe, Lightroom is the one of the best editing software. The app has a Creative Profiles feature adds special effects and filters to your photos. As the name suggests, Lightroom is a lightweight photo editing app with multiple features. The heritage of the app alone is perhaps a sufficient indication that it was specifically made for professional editing. It is particularly helpful if you are looking for a lightweight app to change the theme or color gradient of your photos.
Adobe included a step by step tutorial to help users learn the basics and master all features in no time. An Import feature automatically backs up all uploaded files onto the cloud storage. A search bar allows users to locate their photos. It also generates object keyword tags for the photos. Users can also organize their Lightroom photo collections. Organization tools include albums, star ratings, and selection flags.
Lightroom vs Lightroom Classic
There are two versions of the Adobe Lightroom product that are available in the market. These are the Lightroom and the Lightroom Classic. Both offer powerful editing tools. Both also come with a Texture slider and an AI Enhance feature. The Lightroom Classic lets you see any photo in larger detail as it removes blurred spots. It also retains the traditional user interface and the original set of tools. It can export the raw DNG file format and provides drag and drop support for albums.
On the other hand, the Lightroom version added a couple of options for panoramic photos. They also added HDR Merge tools. These automatically remove moving objects from the photo. However, it still lacks a printing capability and support for plug-ins. Both software packages include cloud storage for photos. The stand-alone version of Lightroom comes with 1 TB of cloud storage. Meanwhile, the Adobe Creative Cloud Package comes with only 20 megabytes of cloud storage. However, all three best photo editing software created by Adobe come in the Creative Cloud package. This includes Lightroom, Lightroom Classic and Adobe Photoshop.
Adobe works on a subscription-based service, so there is no telling how long they can keep your photos in the cloud storage provided for. In such cases, you might want to consider a more permanent storage for your files. We highly recommend Google Drive as a more permanent storage option. It’s also free if you have a Google mail account. Find out how you can upload and download photos to and from Google Drive. If you are not a fan of Google, the next best thing we can recommend is iCloud. Check out this article on how you can download photos from iCloud.
Skylum Luminar has a list of features that allow users to optimize their photographs. The Expert Imaging and Sound Association (EISA) even dubbed it the best app of 2019. The software has an array of excellent photo filters and the ability to develop raw photos. An example of this is the adjustable gradient filter. This filter lets you change the exposure for each photo.
It also includes a library that allows the user to organize photos by date. It also filters recently added images. A built-in photo managing software enables the user to transfer files from PC to Mac to other devices. Editing multiple files is also made easy. The software is able to tell you which files still need editing.
Skylum Luminar 4th Edition
The fourth edition of the Skylum Luminar software is the latest version of the series. The app offers an AI Structure feature. This detects, selects and masks areas in a photo that needs enhancement. There’s also an AI Enhance feature that provides a quick fix to all issues related to photo exposure. An AI Enhance feature can easily detect and fix problems. If you don’t want the automatic features, you could apply the changes yourself. You can also uniformly apply changes to multiple photos that belong to the same folder. The AI technology can incorporate the changes to each photo.
The Skylum Luminar 4 has a simple but efficient design. It has multiple tools divided into categories on the main page. These include layers, canvass, and essential editing tools. Also included are creative tools, portrait editing tools, and professional editing tools.
An External Editor feature allows the app to serve either as a plug-in to the Adobe Lightroom Editor or as a standalone product. Both allow you to edit photos transferred directly from Adobe Lightroom. This means that you can edit photos with Lightroom edits and vice versa. It also means that can go back and forth between Luminar and Lightroom in the editing process.
Another notable feature of the app is the Orton Effect. This blurs some areas of an image while highlighting other areas. This gives the photos an otherworldly effect. The app also provides a clean and sharp editing process. It allows the user to add contrast and clarity to the photo without affecting the foreground. This means that there will not be any visible halos and other residues of the editing process. Skylum Luminar is available for a one-time purchase.
Adobe Photoshop CC
Adobe Photoshop is a subscription-based photo editing app. Photoshop is one of the most powerful photo editing tools available in the market. It also seems to be the go-to product for a large number of professionals. It has excellent photo correction and manipulation capabilities. This is in addition to image editing, typography, and video editing capabilities. It also includes 3D modeling and 3D design capabilities. The latest version of the app includes cloud syncing with Photoshop on iPad products. There’s also AI-based object selection and manual paintbrush features.
The Photoshop user interface is highly dynamic and very customizable. There are several options for targeted workspace layouts. These include Graphic and Web, Motion, 3D, and Painting custom layout options. An Object Select function uses AI technology to identify the subject of an image. A search function also lets you find files, program features, and tutorials.
The Photoshop package means serious business when it comes to photo editing. Professionals are thus recommended for download for high-powered PCs and Macs. However, the software is also available on Apple iPad and the Microsoft Surface Pro. This is for those who want to edit on touchscreen devices. As mentioned, Adobe created a package that includes Photoshop and Photoshop Lightroom. This means that Photoshop is not available for sale as an individual product. Instead, it is part of the Creative Cloud Package.
Best Photo Editing App for Mac
There are several image editing applications designed for MacOS. Unfortunately, it would not be easy to tell which one of them works best. The following applications are some of the best fit for easy and complete photo editing for Mac.
DxO Optics Pro
The DxO Optics Pro is a premium photo editing app available for Windows and Mac. Its most notable feature is its lens correction and lens combination capabilities. The software offers more than 40,000 profiles or camera lens combinations. It also offers excellent photo retouching capabilities, deep color, and lens sharpness correction.
A DxO smart lighting feature also keeps the details in the sky. It also brightens the urban landscape without changing the overall mood of the photo. A contrast palette also lets you adjust the brightness of each section of the image. This removes haze from the photo and allows for higher visibility for minute details. This works best for urban skyscrapers and detailed street photos.
All photos receive a default noise correction including tone and color. You can adjust the automatic changes made by the software to your liking. The DxO optics module lets the user optimize image sharpness. It also corrects optical defects. There’s also an excellent array of customization features for tone, hue, and sharpness. A notable feature under customization is Repair. This lets you remove unwanted objects from your photos.
The Pixelmator Pro is a subscription-based photo editing tool exclusive to macOS devices. It is known for its comprehensive tool panel and machine learning abilities. The machine learning framework keeps track of your editing patterns. It uses this information to speed up subsequent editing processes. These automated functions make for a faster and more intuitive image repair.
An example of an AI application is the Quick Selection. This tool is able to determine the edges of objects very quickly. This allows for precision editing and reduced errors. Smart selection tools highlight areas that you can edit. In addition, you have the option to add layers, move objects around, and add special effects to any photo. A repair tool can detect unnecessary objects in an image and removes them. Other notable AI features include automatic horizon detection, image recognition, and layer naming.
There are also enhanced tools like brushes, special effects and color presets. The software also makes it very easy to edit multiple layers on photographs. You can do this through an auto-select feature that identifies the layer a certain object is in.
The gray, white and black design of the app gives it a clean, monochrome appearance. This is reminiscent of nearly all Apple products. All system tools are neatly packed onto a single-window layout located on the right side of the main page. The overall performance of this software is quite fast and reliable. This may be attributed to the fact that it is able to take advantage of the Apple API Graphics software. Pixelmator Pro runs on Mac version 10.13 or later.
GIMP Image Editing App
Gimp is a free photo editing program. It offers an array of professional-quality features. Special features include noise reduction, cropping, and automatic image enhancement. There’s also color adjustment, gradient adjustment, and customizable brushes. More advanced features include an animation package, layer masks, and filters. There’s even a Bezier curve tool that lets you customize styles based on different shapes.
Gimp lacks the advantage of fully integrated features found in commercial editing programs. Nonetheless, it does have the basic editing features. These include cropping, white noise reduction, and white balance correction. There are also gradients, customizable brushes, and channel manipulation editing tools. The later allows users to correct images for various distortions. It also offers plug-in support for other applications.
Gimp uses a simple and clean but professional design for its user interface. You can find all basic editing tools in the main editing area. This includes the toolbox, layers, paths, undo, and channels buttons. Gimp has a full set of features and functionality. These make the software a great alternative for commercial versions.
Best Photo Editing App for Android
You’ve probably experienced times when your photos just don’t come out the way you want it to. A fully functional photo editing application can help you fix the problem. With the right tool, you can come up with beautiful photos without having to switch to another device. Edit your photos right through your phone with the best photo editing tools for Android.
VSCO Cam is a subscription-based, powerful photo editing film-emulsion emulator software. The program functions as an add-on tool for Adobe Lightroom and Apple Aperture. The software gives users the ability to take photos right through the app. The in-app camera also takes note of all the information about when and where you took the photo. It has a useful set of advanced camera tools and mobile presets. This allow you to configure how you want your photos to look even before you take them. You can configure the flash modes, aspect ratio, and focus before taking any photo. Users can save images in raw camera formats. This gives the user more leeway in correcting lighting and color.
After the photos have been taken, the app gives you dozens of options for editing. These include color adjustment, contrast, cropping, and saturation. There are also toolbars for shadow save, color temperature, tint, and exposure. A great tool included here is Skin Tone that lets users adjust the tone of the flesh of human subjects on the photo. White balance and focus settings are also changeable. Unfortunately, the program lacks social interaction features like chat boxes and contacts. However, it does let you share final products through Facebook, WeChat, and Google+.
The app has a simple and clean user-interface. VSCO has everything seperated into modules. These include Feed, Discover, Studio, Profile, and Membership modules. You will need to create a user account to be able to install the software, but it’s worth it. VSCO Cam is available for both Android and Apple devices.
Snapseed is a free photo editing software designed for Android and Apple products. The software gives the user the ability to make collages out of photographs. Users also have the option to edit photo qualities. These include brightness, saturation, and contrast. With a few clicks, you can adjust the white balance of your photographs and edit the curves and shadows as well.
You can also add filters, fix red-eye and add lens blurs for effect. The filter presets or looks are similar to that of Instagram. This gives you plenty of filter options to change the aesthetics of your photos. You could also preview all potential changes before applying them.
The software was originally created for iPad devices by Nik Software. However, it became a free downloadable app after Google purchased the company. The app was then made publicly available through Google Play and Apple Store. All features of the app are free and there are also no pop-up ads. This means additional purchases are not required. You will also not receive any bothersome ads.
PicsArt Photo Editing App
PicsArt is a free photo-editing application. The software is popular among casual photographers. This is because of its quick fixes and integration with social applications. Another unique ability is that it can take your photos right through the app. Pre-capture effects let you configure camera settings before you take photos.
The software has a rich array of editing tools. This includes special effects, stickers, and photo search functions, among others. Magic Effects filters let you apply different artistic styles to your photos. A collage making tool lets you combine your photos, edit them, and even add artistic text to the collages. You can also use it to create digital backgrounds and drawings. A collaboration feature called Remix lets you share your photos and stickers. Other users can add stickers and text onto the photos. It is also deeply integrated with Facebook so you could easily post photos online.
PicsArt has a user-friendly interface that beginners will appreciate. The app is easy to navigate and to understand. Each panel contains all of the editing features. Overall, the app offers users a great amount of creative control. This is attributed to its comprehensive list of features and quality editing tools. PicsArt comes in a free software package and an ad-free commercial package. Either option delivers the basic set of photo editing tools.
Best Photo Editing App for iOS Devices
Not all photo editing apps can adapt to the configuration of handheld devices. Much less are specifically adapted for Apple iOS devices. If you love to take photos on your Mac phone, you will need a fully compatible photo editing app. Edit your photos right through your iPhone, iPad or iTouch with the best photo editing tools:
Afterlight is a free photo editing software available exclusively for iPhone users. It has a handy collection of filters and adjustment tools for editing photos. The software has a simple layout and a user-friendly interface. This makes it easy to learn the different features and functions. This makes the app attractive for beginners and amateur iPhone artists.
The features of the app are diverse. It allows users to experiment with lighting, textures, and temperatures. There are also options to adjust brightness and color schemes. A text overlay tool allows users to add text, quotes or copyright watermarks to photos. Users are also able to add artwork into their photos in a similar fashion. Users can edit their color schemes using selective color features. A special feature lets users isolate and manipulate individual colors in a photo. There’s also a feature that lets users control the lightness and darkness of any color in the photo.
The application’s design allows it to connect easily with the iPhone camera roll. As such, users will be select photos that they want to edit off of the camera roll of their phones. In-app preset filters function like Instagram filters. These allow users to customize the look and feel of each photo. Established photographers also contribute to this pool of filters. As such, their creations are available for free. Users are also given the option to create their own presets.
TouchRetouch is an affordable photo editing app exclusively available for iPhone users. Giving credence to its name, the most notable feature of the app is its object removal function. An object removal tool lets you quickly remove unwanted objects in an image with either a brush or a lasso. A similar line removal tool also removes lines from any surface. All you need to do is to highlight the image and the app will remove it in one click. The object removal capabilities of this app are up to standard, comparable to Photoshop.
A quick repair tool allows the user to retouch photos using brush strokes. This works best for removing blemishes on faces and centerpieces of your photo. The app has a simple and clean user-interface that makes it easy to navigate. The app also comes with video tutorials for beginners, which adds to the coherence of the tools.
Additional features include a clone stamp that duplicates elements of any photo. A before and after button that shows you the effect of changes made in comparison to the original. An undo and redo button that lets you undo changes and re-apply changes if you change your mind. You could export your photos into different file formats and settings. The software gives users the option to send photos to social media apps, mail, clipboard, and other photo editing apps. TouchRetouch retails as a one-time purchase application.
Facetune 2 Selfie Editor
Facetune is a subscription-based photo editing app made specifically for editing selfies. They released the second-generation version of the app in 2017. Reviewers claim this to be an entirely new product and is considered to be much better than the first version. That said, the app has a collection of editing features for retouching selfies. The app includes features to retouch your face, makeup, clothes, and even background details.
Potential adjustments include smoothing skin and adding artistic objects and special effects. and teeth whitening. You can also widen smiles, whiten teeth, and enlarge or minimize facial features. Most of these tools use a sliding bar to determine the adjustments.
Users are also given the option to take selfies right through the app. You could also add filters and makeup before taking selfies. An easy compare tool lets the user compare the original photo and the final product. An object removal feature lets you remove unwanted objects. A relight tool allows you to adjust the lighting of your photo for a studio effect.
Final Thoughts on the Best Photo Editing Apps
Photographs are the result of a creative and technical process. Aside from a subject, each photograph has other essential aspects that reflect its technical and artistic qualities. The creative process itself might require several steps. Deciding on your medium and the subject of your photograph is only the first step. Taking photos is the second. And if you want to produce great content, editing should be the third and most crucial part of the process. It is always important to consider the theme, mood, and message of the photograph. The right photo editing tools can help you create high-quality content in the fastest and most efficient way possible. And if you still haven’t decided whether it would be better to use your phone, tablet, or computer to edit photos, this article discussing the pros and cons for phone and PC might help you decide.
There are many popular and widely used applications on the photo editing front. However, not all of them are necessarily the best fit for your specific needs. The right photo editing app should not only help you improve the aesthetic quality of your photos. It should also be able to function seamlessly and consistently. Aside from normal editing tools, there are other basic features to be considered. These include file support, standard editing tools, organization tools, and photo-sharing capabilities.
Apps with modernized features and AI technology should have an advantage in terms of speed and functionality. You have the option to stick with industry standards for a premium cost. Or you could also explore new apps available on app stores for free. Regardless of whether you are a professional photographer or an amateur, the right photo editing app will help you produce the best quality photos in no time.