The 15 Best Photo Editing Apps / Best Photography Editor Apps

Posted by Grant Patten on Oct 26, 2020 7:27:59 AM

The 15 Best Photo Editing Apps / Best Photography Editor Apps

Best Photo Editing Apps: mobile app picSource: Royalty-free stock photo ID: 1399145969 | Shutterstock

Let’s review the 15 best apps for photo editing available on the market now.

(in no particular order) We’ll discuss:

  1. Polish / Photo Editor Pro
  2. Snapseed
  3. VSCO
  4. Photofox
  5. ON1 Photo RAW
  6. DxO PhotoLab and ONE
  7. GIMP
  8. darktable
  9. RawTherapee
  10. PicsArt
  11. Pixlr
  12. Fotor
  13. Ribbet
  14. Colorcinch
  15. Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom and Spark


1. Polish / best photo editing apps for Android / best photography apps for Android

Polish / Photo Editor Pro is a great photo editor app that has excellent reviews on the Google Play store. The app offers stylish effects, filters, borders, grids and draw tools. With the app, you can post your edited photos directly to Instagram, Facebook and other social media. The app is also available on iOS.

One user’s review (Ross Peters) on the Play store: “I've tried a few photo editor apps, and this one is very competent, and allows the ability to do basic layering of additional photos with transparency, a basic need for me that's seemingly hard to find on Android.”

2. Snapseed / best photography filter apps

Certainly one of the best photo editing apps is Snapseed, which is available for FREE on both iOS and Android. With this app, users can easily edit their photos using swiping gestures. The app has many features, including 29 tools and filters.

The app has excellent reviews on the Google Play store, including this one from user Javi: “Reliable and functional, delivers great effects without destroying originals. HDR Scape and Selective adjust are two of my favorites.”

The iOS reviews are also great for this app, including this one from user Paul: “[This app’s] ability to select areas for retouching is uncannily accurate; its Structure feature beats anything Photoshop can do; and its Ambience tool provides a wonderful combination of brightness, shadow opening, warmth, and even incredible highlight protection all at once.”

3. VSCO / best photography apps for iphone / best filmic filter app / best photography filter apps

VSCO is a photography mobile app for iOS and Android devices. The app has a bunch of nice filmic emulation filters, and some editing tools.

The app includes multiple popular presets for free. From quiet and muted to vibrant and saturated, each preset produces a unique look. Additional presets can be purchased within the app.

4. Photofox / best photography apps for iPhone

Photofox is (at time of this writing) only available on iOS/Apple devices, but it has excellent reviews on the App Store, including this one from user Nick: “This app is the absolute best for creating and editing photos, no other app does it better. It helped me make some REALLY impressive pictures I never would’ve thought I could make without this app.”

Features include double exposures, advanced editing, glitch art, adding text, drawing, painting on images, and adding cool effects. Surreal backgrounds and effects can be added to a photo in a single tap, for example. The basic app is available for free (with in-app purchases).

5. ON1 Photo RAW / best photography app for computer and mobile

ON1 Photo RAW is one of the rare photo editing apps that is available on computers (Mac and Windows) AND mobile devices (iOS and Android). It is billed as “THE professional-grade photo organizer, raw processor, layered editor, and effects app.”

The app allows photographers to adjust myriad photo elements, including Exposure, Contrast, Shadows, Mid-tones, Highlights, and more. The companion product, ON1 Photo RAW 360, allows seamless cloud syncing of photos and editing between computers and mobile devices.

6. DxO PhotoLab and DxO ONE

PhotoLab from the French photography company, DxO, is an image processing app available on Windows and macOS. They also have the DxO ONE app for the App Store and Google Play.

The PhotoLab app (includes free trial) has some powerful AI and deep learning technology to be able to enhance the overall look and feel of your photos, especially photos with noise. The app’s “ClearView Plus” feature reduces haze, enabling quick restoration of the natural radiance of photos.

The DxO ONE app is available for free and is meant to be used with the DxO ONE cameras [Amazon Affiliate Link] that connect to iPhones and iPads. This app includes various features for the DxO ONE camera, including Shoot in Auto mode, scene modes for Sport, Portrait, Landscape and Night photography, and a “Selfie mode”.

7. GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program)

GIMP has been around since 1996 and is still going strong! The app is a free, open-source raster graphics editor used for retouching and photo editing, free-form drawing, transcoding between image file formats, and other tasks.

GIMP’s interface has perhaps a bit of a steeper learning curve than a mainstream product like Photoshop, but the designers have made improvements to its UI in recent years to make it more streamlined and less cluttered.

Features include photo manipulation, colour management, original artwork creation, graphic design elements, and the app even offers extensibility via integration with various programming languages.

8. darktable / best open source photo editing app

darktable is a powerful open source photography workflow application and raw developer. Features include non-destructive photo editing, GPU accelerated image processing, professional colour management, and more.

The app has a bit of a learning curve, though. It can be installed on a variety of operating systems, including Windows, macOS, Linux, Ubuntu and Debian. This app is designed to be used on computers, not mobile devices.

9. RawTherapee / best photo processing app

RawTherapee is a free and open-source app for processing photos. The app has photo editing functions specifically for non-destructive editing of raw photos and is primarily focused on improving a photographer's workflow by facilitating the handling of large numbers of images.

RawTherapee is available on Windows, macOS and Linux at the time of this writing. As with darktable, this app is designed to be used on computers, not mobile devices.

Features include a 32-bit (floating point) processing engine, best-in-class demosaicing (reconstructing a full colour image from incomplete colour samples), hot/dead pixel correction, and the compositing of raw photo files with automatic ghost masking.

10. picsart / best online photo editor

PicsArt is an online photo editor that is free, has advanced tools such as effects & filters and includes 100+ million free-to-edit images in its library.

The app includes a "sticker maker" to create stickers, clipart and emojis to add to your photos. There is also a "collage maker" with preset collage formats. The app is available on iOS, Android and Windows PC.

11. pixlr / best saas photo EDITING APP

Pixlr is a cloud-based, software-as-a-service (SaaS) suite of image tools and utilities, including photo editors, created in Sweden in 2008. These apps range from simple to advanced photo editing.

Pixlr's creative library features over 3,000 overlays, 5,000 decorative texts and 7,000 icons and stickers for its users. Though the platform is free, it offers subscriptions plans for access to more advanced features and functionality.

12. fotor / photo editor and design maker

Founded in the UK in 2012, Fotor is a photo editor app available on Mac, Windows PC, iOS and Android platforms and also online in the browser. Though the basic app is free, some options are only available through an in-app purchase.

In addition to basic photo editing tools such as cropping, red eye removal, the use of stickers and overlays, photo deblurring and aperture addition, Fotor can also be used for graphic design and collage making.

13. ribbet / intuitive photo editing app

Ribbet from Ukraine-based design shop Tubik Studio is a photo editor available on Mac, Windows PC, iOS, Android and desktop web browsers. Most of their tools can be used for free, but there is a Ribbet Premium membership tier that provides full access to their desktop and mobile apps.

The app has a large library of fonts, advanced tools such as curves & special effects, over 2.7 million free stock photos and there is a Ribbet editing community to connect with other photographers and photography fans.

14. colorcinch / best photo cartoonizer app

Colorcinch (formerly Cartoonize) describes itself as "the #1 photo editor & cartoonizer designed to be simple, beautiful, and free." The app is available online.

This app takes an intuitive, one-click approach to design. Their AI-powered photo enhancers are excellent and the app has solid photo manipulation capabilities. Colorcinch provides access to a library of ~2.5 million photos, graphics and icons.

15. Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, and Spark

Yes, we have saved the most obvious ones for last! Everyone reading this has likely already heard of Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom [Amazon Affiliate Links], but they deserve mentioning in any “best photography apps” article. They work seamlessly together – you can use Photoshop for the initial image work, and then take it into Lightroom for any additional image organization and manipulation.

Unlike Photoshop, Lightroom's edits are always non-destructive by keeping the original image and the edits applied to it saved separately.

Some readers potentially haven’t yet heard about Adobe Spark, however. Spark is an integrated suite of digital media apps for mobile and web, comprising Spark Page, Spark Post, and Spark Video. Access to Spark is included in Adobe Creative Cloud.

Photo Editing Accessories for your Laptop | Photo Editing Laptop Accessories

If you’re doing photo editing, don’t forget about these important accessories:

Having an external monitor is generally better than having just the laptop screen, so consider getting a nice 4K resolution monitor to complement your laptop (you’ll want a monitor that is colour accurate. Computer speed and high performance don’t matter so much if your colours are off!) A good one to consider is the ViewSonic VX2776-4K-MHD 4K Frameless IPS Monitor. [Amazon Affiliate Link]

An external hard drive and/or subscription to a cloud storage service such as Dropbox would be advisable because even if you have a large hard drive on the laptop, you will likely be surprised at how quickly that drive can fill up. A well-reviewed external HD to consider is the Seagate portable external HD. [Amazon Affiliate Link]

Note: ~8GB of RAM can be a bit tight if you're using both Photoshop and Lightroom, plus other software like a web browser, so if you’ll be using a lot of software simultaneously, always opt for more RAM.

Get Photography Insurance | Photography Equipment Insurance | Front Row Photography | Photographer Insurance

Front Row’s insurance for photographers (Canada) is a good option for insuring your photo gear. You can get a quote and purchase a policy online in just a few minutes, or read more about the coverages available on the photography insurance site.

Note: Cellular phones are not covered under this policy, either as equipment or office equipment, regardless of whether they are used as part of your photography practice. Coverage for your cellular phone may be available through other insurance or product warranties.


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