Once upon a time the idea of editing photos on a phone or tablet was considered folly – akin to painting watercolours on a piece of sponge.
But that all changed as screens got sharper and touch control more precise. Plus, with many of us now using smartphones as our main camera, there’s no shortage of raw material on them that could benefit from a bit of judicious tweaking before posting to Facebook or Instagram.
There are hundreds of photo-editing apps out there clamouring for your attention, but the 10 you'll find listed below are the best we’ve tried so far.
Google’s take on photo-editing manages to be typically approachable. Need to crop or rotate an image, or add a filter? That just takes a couple of taps. How about adding some great-looking text? No problem – select from a large choice of styles and fonts, and the app arranges everything for you.
But Snapseed goes far further than most similar apps. There’s a powerful curves tool; filters can be tweaked and fine-tuned, as can text placement; best of all, Stacks enable you to view and adjust previous edits. That’s a pro-level feature set, which makes it all the more astonishing that Snapseed is free.
Although wildly different from Photoshop in terms of its interface, Pixelmator is the closest thing you’ll get to Adobe’s desktop powerhouse on iOS. The app includes some fantastic configurable filters, tools for making adjustments to levels, and features for touching up and enhancing snaps.
You can paint on the canvas with all kinds of brush and media types, add shapes and text, create and blend layers, and mess around with crazy distortions if one of your photos is otherwise unsalvageable. Feeling uninspired? Pixelmator’s got you covered there, too, with its collage, card, frame, and poster templates.
Adobe Photoshop Fix
Speaking of Photoshop, Adobe’s decided against bringing its desktop giant to mobile. Instead, it’s hacked bits off of it and smushed them into focused apps that nonetheless provide photographers with plenty of power at their fingertips.
Photoshop Fix is, as you might guess, all about quick fixes. You heal blemishes, make subtle adjustments to highlights and shadows, or slather colour everywhere through finger-painting. On portraits, you can unleash the Liquify tool, which smartly detects facial features and lets you edit them. Fancy giving yourself an action hero jawline or a terrifyingly massive nose? Photoshop Fix will fast become your favourite app.