11 of the Best Photo Editing Apps You Need to Try!

May 8, 2015 - Holly CardewTaking a photo with a smartphone

A decade ago, photo editing was a pretty simple business. There was MS Paint and Photoshop, and that was about it.

But in recent years, there has been a huge proliferation of photo editing applications for every need. No matter what sort of photo editing you require, there’s an app for it.

I want to share 11 of the best photo editing apps available today. I think they’re awesome!

1. Adobe Photoshop

Monthly subscription for $19.99/month — Mac, Windows

The original and still the best, Photoshop is the 500-pound gorilla of the photo editing world. It has so many features that countless books are written about each version, and Photoshop will handle everything from simple editing to advanced compositing and animation work with aplomb. The latest Photoshop Creative Cloud versions cost $19.99 per month, and are integrated with cloud-based asset storage and mobile apps.

The Best Photo Editing Apps - photoshop

2. Lightroom

$9.99/month — Mac, Windows

If you’re looking for a more powerful photo editing and organizing platform to deal with hundreds or thousands of images — especially RAW files from DSLR and mirrorless cameras — then Adobe Lightroom is the way to go. Lightroom is designed with professional photographers in mind and offers retouching options in a cleaner, more focused interface than Photoshop. With the new Adobe Creative Cloud subscription plans for photographers, you can get both Lightroom and Photoshop for $9.99 a month.

The Best Photo Editing Apps - Lightroom

 

3. GIMP

Free – Mac, Windows, Linux

If you’re looking for a completely free, open-source application that can match Photoshop feature for feature, GIMP is the application of choice. It’s a professional-quality application that supports (almost) everything that Photoshop does — layers, channels, masks, filters and more — but without the price tag.

GIMP misses out on some of Photoshop’s more powerful features like 32-bit photo editing, CMYK support and scripting — and the interface just isn’t as polished. However, it’s available for free on Windows, Mac and Linux. You can also check out Gimpshop, which is just a modified version of GIMP that aims to match the Photoshop interface as closely as possible.

The Best Photo Editing Apps - GIMP

4. Pixelmator

$29.99 Mac, $4.99 iPad

If you’re looking for an affordable, actively developed an alternative to Photoshop that’s a bit easier to use than GIMP, Pixelmator is a great choice. It features almost every tool a basic creative graphics professional could need (layers, magic wand, levels, built-in effects, and filters, etc.), but in a simplified interface that makes everything easy to understand. It’s a refined, beautiful application that’s a joy to use.

The Best Photo Editing Apps - Pixelmator

5. Instagram

Free — iOS, Android, Windows Phone

While it thrives mainly as a photo-sharing application, the Instagram app also offers basic editing tools including various filters, exposure adjustment, etc. It may be light on the editing tools, but it’s a platform with very high engagement rates and it pushes images out to the world quickly. If you’re thinking about getting an Instagram account for your eCommerce store, check out these how to craft an Instagram brand like a pro.

The Best Photo Editing Apps - Instagram

6. VSCO

Free — iOS, Android

For editing photos directly on your smartphone, it doesn’t get much better than VSCO, a free app that packs a punch. With a wide variety of presets and filters, VSCO lets you modify images quickly and easily. It won’t deliver the quality or precision of a desktop app, but it is fast and easy to use — and you can’t beat free. VSCO is one of the best photo editing apps for your in-context product photography images since it can deliver various ‘looks’ (vintage, sepia, warm, etc.) with ease.

The Best Photo Editing Apps - VSCO Cam

7. Fotor

Free — iOS, Android, Mac, Windows

One great cross-platform photo editor that takes its visual design cues from the Windows Metro aesthetic is Fotor. It’s a free, beautiful app that includes basic editing tools, frames, visual effects, text entry and a few advanced features like RAW compatibility and tilt-shift effects.

8. Snapseed

Free — iOS, Android

One of the most popular and fully featured mobile photo apps is Snapseed. With tools such as spot repair, adjustment brush, quick transform and a wide range of fun filters, Snapseed is a quick and powerful way to adjust your images. We like that it’s owned by Google, which means high-quality code and minimal bloat.

The Best Photo Editing Apps - Snapseed

9. Aviary Photo Editor

Free — iOS, Android, Windows Phone

If you need a simple, good-looking photo editing app, Aviary is a great way to go. It offers all the tools we’ve come to expect in basic photo editing apps without any time-wasting registration. Aviary is great for its streamlined interface. More so than any other app on this list, it allows for quick and simple editing.

The Best Photo Editing Apps - Aviary

10. Filterstorm Neue

$3.99 – iOS

One of the most powerful mobile editing apps is Filterstorm Neue, from New York developer Tai Shimizu. Aimed primarily at photojournalists, Filterstorm Neue offers a huge variety of powerful features, including the ability to process RAW images, enter IPTC tag data, watermark your images and work with professional tools like curves, levels, channels and more.

5 - Filterstorm Neue

11. Canva

Free — iOS, Web

Another honorable mention has to go to Canva, the graphic design cloud software that’s become a sensation in a short amount of time.

Canva makes it easy to design and lay out your images for social media, presentations, blogs, cards, etc. It has a super-simple drag-and-drop interface that anyone can master in seconds, and gives the user access to thousands of free fonts, images and layouts. This app makes creating beautiful images simpler than ever.

The Best Photo Editing Apps - Canva

 


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