RAW photos are one of the most versatile ways to click pictures. They offer an incredible level of control over the brightness, contrast, saturation, color balance, exposure, and other aspects of your photos; and they’re not limited to pro photographers anymore. However, you can’t edit them properly in just any photo editing software. So, if you’re thinking of taking RAW pictures with your iPhone, here are the 7 best RAW photo editing apps for iPhone that you can use.
Darkroom is one of the best RAW photo editing apps for iPhone. Don’t be fooled by the simple and clean user interface of the app, Darkroom is a feature-packed photo editor that will let you edit RAW photos easily. The app will let you edit RAW photos at their full resolution, which is great to fine tune details in photos. Plus, it also comes with a lot of ready-made filters and effects to let you quickly edit your photos without diving into the nitty-gritty of RAW editing.
You can also edit these filters, or create your own custom filters that you can then quickly apply to all your photos using the batch editing functionality. The app also supports Siri Shortcuts, which means you can get things done even faster, and automate certain tasks with Siri on your iPhone.
Pros Cons Ability to edit RAW photos at their full resolution At times, it seems to stutter while exporting large files Robust batch processing Freedom to create your own filters Supports Siri shortcuts
Install: (Free, monthly subscription starts at $6.99)
Snapseed is one of the most feature packed RAW photo editing apps for iPhone. It comes with a plethora of features, including basic ones like image tuning, cropping, rotating, and more. Moreover, it brings advanced (and really useful) features such as the healing tool, perspective tool, curves and more.
For a faster, and less hands-on editing experience, Snapseed also features one-tap filters that can let you quickly change the look and feel of your photos. Whether you’re adding better HDR with HDR Scape, or giving your photos a retro look with the Grainy Film filter, Snapseed has you covered. What’s more, you can also use the Selective editing tool to make changes in specific parts of your photos — this makes it easy to quickly adjust the exposure of, say, the background of your photos without affecting the main subject.
Pros Cons A neat user-interface Color grading lacks precision A wide range of editing tools Lens blur to add stunning bokeh effect Better white adjustment tool
3. Adobe Lightroom
Adobe Lightroom is pretty much the industry standard for editing photos on a PC or Mac, and the Lightroom iPhone app is no different. It brings in all the powerful editing features offered by Lightroom’s desktop app, and allows you to finely retouch and tune your RAW photos.
There are tools to let you change the lighting of your photos, the colors, and more. You can also add effects, dehaze photos, and increase or reduce the amount of texture in an image. One of the really cool features of Lightroom is its ability to remove chromatic aberrations, and apply lens correction automatically to pictures. However, the main USP of Lightroom is its color grading ability. It has one of the best and most precise color grading tools available on a RAW photo editing app, so you can make your photos look exactly the way you want them to look.
Pros Cons Intuitive user-interface The free version is quite limited A solid library of filters Advanced color grading Better control over images with selective adjustments
Install: (Free, $4.99/month)
Another RAW photo editing app that has never failed to impress me is VSCO. Just like Adobe Lightroom and Snapseed, VSCO also has a solid roster of editing tools. You can easily import your RAW images and use a variety of editing tools to edit them.
Featuring over 200 professionally designed presets, the app offers a lot of flexibility while editing your RAW photos. You can also use editing tools like saturation and contrast to refine your images. Besides, there are fade and grain tools to add texture and even mimic analog film effects. Notably, tools like HSL and split tone can also play a vital role in enhancing the overall appearance of your photo.
Pros Cons Edits RAW images with precision White balance tool needs improvement Over 200 professionally-designed presets Fade and grain tools to add texture HSL and split tone
Install: (Free, $29.99/year)
When it comes to creating amazing art design, Lightricks Photofox has long been one of the best in the business. So, if you are looking for a RAW photo editor that can let you craft eye-catching art, you should try out Photofox.
Featuring a great collection of art filters and eye-catching effects, the photo editing app turns your image into a masterpiece with little effort. Depending on your needs, you can mix your photos in several different ways to craft a unique design.
Just in case you want to have better control over your image, you would appreciate the ability to create stunning double exposures with the help of adjustable blending modes and layers. Besides, it also offers a pretty good image correction tool that allows you to curve, heal, or even fine-tune intensity.
One of my favorite features of Photofox is a large library of different fonts and colors that come in handy for creating posters, banners, and cards. The ability to draw, paint, and even add different elements to the design has also appealed to me no end. Overall, it’s one of the best RAW photo editing app for creating artistic designs.
Pros Cons Great collection of art filters and eye-catching effects At times, image correction doesn’t work as expected Option to draw, paint, and add different elements Adjustable blending modes Image correction
Install: (Free, offers in-app purchases)
6. Affinity Photo 2
For the folks looking for a top-notch photo editor that can get the most out of the iPad, Affinity Photo 2 can be one of the better contenders. The app features a clean interface and is fully optimized to handle RAW files. Being metal accelerated, it can render large files (supports over 100 megapixels) smoothly.
For an enhanced image processing, the app lets you open a RAW image in a dedicated pre-processing workspace. Thus, you can fine-tune exposure, clarity, vibrance, white balance, shadows, black point, and highlights with complete peace of mind.
Another feature worth taking note of is that Affinity Photo fully supports all the custom Apple Pencil gestures. So, you can use the digital pen to edit your images with more precision.
Notably, the app supports full 16 and 32-bit per channel editing, allowing you to pan and zoom at 120fps. Moreover, it also features RGB, CMYK, greyscale, and lab color spaces for more flexibility. On top of all, Affinity Photo is compatible with several file formats including PNG, TIFF, JPG, GIF, SVG, EPS, EXR, HDR, RAW, and PDF.
Pros Cons Opens RAW images in a dedicated pre-processing workspace No dedicated iPhone app Compatible with several file formats Supports full 16 and 32-bit per channel editing
7. Filterstorm Neue
Last but not least, Filterstorm Neue is more than handy to be your favorite RAW photo editor. Packed with a range of masking tools and pre-defined filters, the app can let you edit RAW photos with ease.
Though Filterstorm Neue lacks a modern-looking interface, I don’t think it would be a dealbreaker if you prefer a simple user-interface with a minimal learning curve. Features like the ability to add exposure, reduce noise, adjust clarity, fine-tune saturation, and also edit watermark offer you the required flexibility to handle RAW images as per your needs.
Even in terms of effects, Filterstorm Neue has looked quite good to me. With the inclusion of a variety of effects like amatorka, bleach bypass, posterize, sepia, and vignette, you can make your image pop up instantly.
Personally, I have found its blend modes very helpful thanks to the ability to add, subtract, color dodge, color burn, overlay, and more. Besides, the noise reduction tool has also performed exceptionally during my test.
Pros Cons A wide range of masking tools Interface looks outdated A large collection of effects Pro-grade blend modes Impressive noise reduction