15 Best Photo Editing Apps For iPhone (Free and Paid)

Last Updated: March 25, 2015

iPhones have arguably one of the best cameras available on a smartphone and have encouraged even the most casual amateur to take a swing at professional grade photo creation. However, taking a photo straight from the Camera app can create dull and lackluster images that could make your beautiful vacation seem a little less than extraordinary. Fortunately, there are a slew of photo editing iPhone apps that are sure to breath life into even the most mundane of photos.

Here are 15 Best Camera / Photo editing apps for iPhone

1. Snapseed

Snapspeed by Google

You may be shocked to see a Google app at the top of iPhone app list for camera apps, but credit must be given where it is due. The versatile app treats filters differently. Instead of standard click-and-go options, the app allows users to create their own effects. In addition to the filters, users can tune an image to adjust shadows, ambiance, and warmth among other settings. Most importantly, the settings are fully adjustable, allowing users to achieve the exact results they desire.

One of the best functions is HDR Scape, which allows you to create images with High Dynamic Range. It’s best used for landscapes, as it can be quite unattractive when applied to a portrait, but the function creates beautiful skies and bold colors that are aesthetically pleasing.

Snapseed is available for iOS 6.1 and later, comes in ten different languages and is available for free. It is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch and optimized for iPhone 5.

Install

2. VSCO Cam®

VSCO Cam

VSCO Cam is a great camera app for users who want the functionality of filters with the perks of fine-tuning. VSCO Cam allows users to choose a filter and its strength or to simply adjust things manually. You can easily change the temperature, cropping, brightness, fade, and contrast if you’re looking for simple adjustments.

VSCO Cam’s best features lie in their settings just beyond the basics. Shadows and highlights allow the view to see details in the dark while toning down blown out areas that may distract from the image. For an added bonus, you can even tint the highlights and shadows separately to add artistry to the image. If all of your adjustments have made your subject look a little languid, you can even just their skin tone.

The app also has some stellar features for capturing your image. You can lock the exposure and focus to two separate points as well as adjust the exposure compensation and ISO to capture the perfect image with fewer adjustments later. VSCO Cam also offers a Community to share your work with fellow users.

The app is available for free on iPhones using iOS 8.0 or later and compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch and optimized for iPhone 5, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus.

Install

3. Photoshop Express

Photoshop Express

What photo editing list would be complete without a little attention towards Photoshop? Photoshop Express allows users to access many of the features of their favorite photo editing software while on the go. For quick adjustments, Photoshop Express even offers “Looks” which are their version of filters, which can all be adjusted.

The most notable of the functions within the app are premium features. Noise reduction is particularly important for images taken in low light settings to reduce the grainy appearance that can be distracting. You can even heal blemishes and remove red eye in humans and pets. The premium features can be purchased in-app or you can sign up for a free Adobe ID account to unlock the features.

Photoshop Express is free and available for iOS 7.0 or later. The app is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch and optimized for iPhone 5.

Install

4. Photo Editor by Aviary

Photo Editor by Aviary

Aviary is another photo editor app from Adobe without all of the bells and whistles of the adjustments in the aforementioned app. Instead, Aviary focuses more on the visual effect options.

Aviary offers a variety of Effects and Frames that come with many photo editors. What stands it apart from the rest is the ability to add overlays, stickers, and text (although the text selection is slim). The app comes with a selection of free options and more can be added when you use your Adobe ID.

They offer additional options from $0.99 to bundles up to $3.99, however the app itself is still free and available for iOS 7.0 or later in 16 languages. The app is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch and optimized for iPhone 5, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus.

Install

5. Darkroom – Photo Editor

Darkroom

The problem with a lot of photo editing apps is recreating the effects for another image. You make all of these adjustments and 19 steps later you forgot where you even started. Darkroom allows you to view a history of your adjustments and saves all of the edits so that they can be adjusted further as needed. Twelve filters come standard with the app, but there’s a lot more to it. If you love fine tuning and creating your own filters, Darkroom will be right up your alley. The app allows you to save your adjustments as your own filter to use on future images.

Unlike many other apps, they also offer a Curves setting that allows you to adjust shadows, midtones, and highlights overall or individually on the RGB scale.

The Curves setting is an add-on for $2.99 but overall the app is free and available for iOS 8.0 or later in 12 languages. The app is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch and optimized for iPhone 5, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus.

Install

6. STEP

STEP

STEP stands for Simple Touch Editor for Photos and lives up to the acronym. The app allows for basic filter adjustments (supposedly created by professional photographers) as well as the ability to adjust settings manually both from scratch and with the filters applied.

Where STEP succeeds is in their community. If you see an image you like you can “Grab the Recipe” and save it as a preset for your own future use. If you still haven’t found what you’re after, the store offers a variety of presets at $0.99 a piece or you can get them all for $4.99.

STEP is free and requires iOS 7.0 or later. The app is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch and optimized for iPhone 5, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus.

Install

7. Instant Blend Pro

Instant Blend PRO

Back in the film days you could create a double exposed image by purposefully photographing two different images on the same frame of film. It was tedious and often difficult to achieve. Now, Instant Blend takes the guesswork out to create beautiful and impactful images on your first attempt.

The app allows you to adjust the exposure of the layers individually and effects and settings can be adjusted individually as well. Overlays and text allow you to create a full spectrum of art. If you’re feeling artistic, you can even save an image and edit further with multi-layer edits.

Get the pro version with all of the features for $2.99 as long as you have iOS 6.0 or later. The app is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch and optimized for iPhone 5.

Install

8. Instagram

Instagram

Instagram has gained so much popularity as a photo editing app that your grandma has likely even heard of it. The app features a selection of Polaroid-esque filters that can be adjusted to your taste. Add frames or make simple standard adjustments to the photos. In addition to its editing abilities, Instagram is also known for its widely used social media community.

It’s arguably the most well-known and used app available and is free for anyone using iOS 7.0 or later.  The app is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch and optimized for iPhone 5, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus.

Install

9. FX Photo Studio – Photo Editor, Filters, Effects, Camera Plus Frames For Your Great Pictures

FX Photo Studio

FX Photo Studio offers the best selection of filters with over 190 to choose from. You can save your favorites to a list for easy access. The filters are still adjustable and you can create your own presets as well. Standard editing functions like cropping are available and you can also add text to complete your artistic creation. The app even gives you an interesting fact to read while it processes the edits.

For $2.99 the app provides excellent results and is available for iOS 7.0 or later. It is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch and optimized for iPhone 5.

Install

10. Mextures

Mextures

Mextures is a photo editing app created by photographers so their goal was to create an app that appealed to true professionals with the ability to add textures, film presets, and manual adjustments with ease. The edits are non-destructive so you can adjust further no matter what stage of editing you’re in.

Once you’re done you can save your “formula” or even import formulas from other users. The app has a smooth workflow and has 130 textures, largely created from real film.

You can get the app for only $1.99 if you’re using iOS 6.1 or later.  The app is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch and optimized for iPhone 5.

Install

11. Brushstroke

Brushstroke

Brushstroke can make even the simplest photo look like a work of art. The app features a number of paint techniques and mediums to create the desired finish product. When you’re done you can even add your signature to the corner.

If you love your creation you can even get it printed directly through the app as a print, canvas, or poster with or without a frame.

Prices vary on the printed product but the app is only $2.99 and works with iOS 7.0 or later in 12 different languages. The app is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus.

Install

12. Filterstorm Neue

Filterstorm Neue

Filterstorm Neue is like an all-in-one for photographers. Not only do you get the expected filters and image tuning you would expect, you also have a 10-step “undo history” and the ability to edit images in RAW. There’s also a channel mixer so you can adjust the RGB settings.

Notably, the app also allows you to export in various file formats (.tif, .png, & .jpg) as well as editing the meta data.

For $3.99 the app packs a lot of punch and is available for iOS 7.0 or later. The app is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch and optimized for iPhone 5, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus.

Install

13. Color Splash

Color Splash

If you’re big into the colorizing effect of a black and white image highlighting a single red rose or bright blue eyes, Color Splash is at the top of the game. The app is simple and easy to use without a ton of extra features. There are some filters available and the filters will only be applied to the colored portion of the image.

The popups and ads in the free version are downright annoying so it’s well worth the $0.99 to get the pro version. It’s available for iOS 7.0 and later. The app is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch and optimized for iPhone 5, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus.

Install

14. Camu – Camera For Simply Perfect Pictures

Camu

Camu features easy to use adjustable filters that can even be used live to give you an idea of how your image will look in real time. You can even use the filters on video. Additionally you can add text or create photo collages to share several pictures in one.

One of the best settings is the InstaFit that allows you to maintain the aspect ratio of your image while adding white bars to create square sized images. There’s also an easy to use Tilt Shift feature to draw attention to the important part of the image.

The app is free but does have in-app purchase options if you want to add filters. You must use iOS 7.0 or higher and the app supports 20 languages. The app is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch and optimized for iPhone 5, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus.

Install

15. Perfect365 – One-Tap Makeover

Perfect 365

Perfect365 is a makeover app that allows users to adjust makeup and remove imperfections without a kabuki brush ever touching your face. You can remove blemishes, soften wrinkles, and even add in your favorite shades of blush, eye shadow, and foundation. Get a makeover with one touch or customize your own look. You can achieve the makeover look you desire and experiment with colors you may not have otherwise tried.

If you’re not looking for your own in-app makeover, you can have fun with your friends and kids or even your pets.

The app is free and available for iOS 6.0 or later in 11 languages.  The app is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch and optimized for iPhone 5.

Install

Every photo editing app offers different functions and may not appeal to all users but they certainly offer a variety of options for you to try. Some users will develop their own favorites based off of the interface and usability or whether the app offers a community function.

SEE ALSO: 20 Best Free iPhone Games

Give these apps a try and let us know which one is your favorite in the comments.

SHARE


Jeri is enjoying life on the sunny west coast, exploring all that Southern California and Baja California has to offer. When she's not capturing images of the beautiful scenery, she's tapping away at the keyboard sharing her words with the world.

LEAVE A REPLY