In the late 1990s, someone had the innovative idea to put a camera into a mobile phone. Flash forward to twenty years later, and there’s no denying that nearly every modern mobile device houses a camera. And many of these are incredibly advanced.
Having a camera in a 2018 smartphone is essential, and manufacturers compete to produce better and better camera technology for users. These days, many smartphone cameras, especially on flagship devices, surpass even stand-alone digital cameras in their capabilities. There’s always a newer phone with a more impressive camera.
The ever-present nature of cameras has changed things forever. From these inventions, photo and video swept the Internet, and helped sites such as YouTube take off and become one of the biggest sites on the web.
Photo-sharing apps popped up, too, with Instagram gaining a stronghold and now boasting 1 billion users. Facebook, too, is a photo-heavy platform, and users of all ages love sharing photos of themselves, their children, their holidays, and much more.
So, nearly everyone has a camera phone, and nearly everyone has a social media account. Enter, smartphone photo editing apps.
With your device you can snap a great photo, but then it’s time to turn it into a work of art. There are an endless number of photo editing apps available for your smartphone, especially for iOS. But among the many, there are some that stand out for their superior features and beautiful editing. We’ve compiled a list of the 10 best photo editing apps for iOS. Which one will be your new favourite?
The Darkroom app is iOS only, so Apple lovers can rejoice. This is a very popular photo editing app, possibly because of its striking simplicity. With an intuitive user experience and editing tools located in one centralised location, you can use Darkroom to create stellar images in a flash. Potential edits include cropping, tilting, shifting the aspect ratio, adding borders and text, colour edits (hue, saturation, and luminance), and curve adjustments. Darkroom is also home to a wide range of exceptional filters to help you create a specific mood.
The newest iteration of the app introduces a realm of new and free features that take Darkroom to the next level. User can quickly and easily view metadata for a given image, and even export newly edited photos with copyright metadata attached. You have options for customising the filters to suit your own personal style, and also have Infinite Undo History at your fingertips, meaning you can change a photo’s edits at any time.
While Darkroom is free on iOS, you can pay for a premium version that gives you more options, such as batch editing, high-res images, and such as support for Raw photos.
One of the most professional programs for editing photos is Adobe Lightroom. While this is primarily a desktop program, there is also a mobile app available that has a lot of the same functionality.
With the Lightroom CC app, you don’t need to transfer your iPhone photos to your laptop before editing them. You can complete professional-quality edits right inside your mobile device.
You can edit to a significant degree with the Lightroom CC app. This is not just your average photo editing app with filters. You can alter the basics such as lighting, warmth, and clarity, as well as focus on individual colours. In the Color Mix tool, you can isolate colours and alter their hue, saturation, and more. Do you like using the tone curve on desktop Lightroom? The CC app brings this to your fingertips, enabling you to complete more advanced and precise edits.
The Lightroom CC app is free, but you can’t access the maximum functionality without a paid subscription. This will give you more options, including more presets, selective editing, and RAW capabilities. Perhaps photographers will like most of all that you can easily manage and organise your photos, too.
VSCO app is another well-loved iOS photo editing app. This app is most known for its massive range of filters, many of which emulate vintage or film-style photography. There are dozens of attractive, subtle filters that can be applied to your image, creating a moody, beautiful masterpiece.
This vintage style has been quite popular among Instagrammers, and it’s not hard to see why. With VSCO, it’s so easy to select a filter, perform minimal edits, and share your photo to your favourite social media site.
It’s worth noting that only a small selection of filters come with the free version of VSCO, however you can buy additional filter packs to give you more options. Either way, you’ll have access to the editing tools inherent in VSCO, which let you make essential edits, increasing or decreasing exposure, changing the contrast, adjusting saturation, or shifting the overall hue. To get more detailed with your editing powers, you can do things like fade your image (for an even more vintage, moody look), change your white balance, or fix skin tone.
One great feature of VSCO is that you can easily apply your edits to multiple photos. This allows you to produce a consistent style for a collection of shots---something which today’s Instagrammers are very happy about. To apply edits to several images at once begin in the gallery screen and highlight the image with your chosen edits. Then click the dots in the lower right-hand corner, and select Copy Edits. Next highlight all the images you want to edit and bulk and click Paste Edits. Voila! A beautiful gallery edited with your signature look.
A Color Story
A Color Story is, as the name suggests, is a very colourful app that is fun to use. In some ways, it’s an antithesis to moody VSCO. Navigation is easy here, as you move seamlessly between your tools, filters, and effects.
Like some of the other apps on our list, A Color Story is well-known for its dynamic, vibrant photo filters. A selection of free ones come with the app (which is also free to download and use), but if you want to obtain additional filters, these are available for purchase. As you use some of these filters and make your own adjustments, you’re able to save these settings as a custom edit. This is a great way to put together an editing style that you’re keen on and then use it multiple times with ease.
The Grid feature of this app is beloved by Instagrammers. This section displays your images in the square grid format that they would appear on your Instagram account. You can move around your newly edited images to help you plan your account in advance, and you can easily compare with your existing images by connecting your Instagram account to the app.
One thing that sets A Color Story apart from other photo apps are the Effects. Some of these are included in the free version of the app, such as Glow, which adds a bright, sometimes coloured pop of light to your photo, or Texture which adds an overlay to your image that texturises the shot. Many of the Texture Effects are vintage-styled in nature, adding a scratched or grainy element to your photo. Like the filter packs, you can also purchase additional effects with A Color Story.
Like other iOS photo editors, A Color Story delivers the same range of basic tools as such as vibrancy, contrast, and temp. Want to get more funky with your edits? Try out the slider in Hue Shift which dramatically changes the colour spectrum in your image. You can also add a vignette, sharper or blur your photo, and incorporate colours in your shadows, high colour, and midtone colours.
ProCamera is not a free app, but many users find the price to be more than worth it.
ProCamera is a sophisticated picture-taking app that has been optimised for iOS 10. You can use this app while taking your photos to grant yourself advanced photographic capabilities. Play with the ISO, extend or shorten your exposure, or use a dedicated night camera mode. If your iPhone has dual lenses, you can also use wide, telephoto and dual modes for snapping.
And there’s more. Additional camera modes are preset so you can shoot better in Lowlight or capture a great HDR shot. An anti-shake feature will stabilise your camera to prevent blurred images. There’s also a convenient timer for those self-portraits you’ve been wanting to take.
YouTubers and videographers will appreciate the video options with ProCamera. In video mode, you can utilise many of the manual controls which you have for still images. Want to change your frame rates or resolution? This is also possible. If you’ve got an Apple watch, the ProCamera Apple Watch app will let you check out your last photo, capture pictures remotely, and more.
Of course, there are also editing opportunities. ProCamera supplies 70+ filters and unique effects.
The newer version of the original Camera+ app, Camera+ 2 offers even more of the same great features for iPhone photographers.
Although Camera+ 2 has some editing elements, what it’s really known for is its power when capturing your photos. Your iPhone camera has a lot of capabilities, bugt the Camera+ 2 app, which is paid, will take things even further.
With this app, you can use your iPhone in the way you would with a DSLR camera. Telephoto, wide-angle, and macro options give you the flexibility of a pro camera. You can also make manual changes such as setting your white balance, selecting shutter speed, and adjusting ISO. Or, you can enter modes like Slow Shutter, Smile, and Burst.
Slow Shutter enables long exposure shots. If you’ve been wanting to experiment with astrophotography (photos of the night sky and stars), this app could potentially help you do it. The Smile mode will focus on your portrait subject and snap the image only when the subject is smiling. And Burst mode will take a series of photos in quick succession (a “burst”) so you have many captures to choose from.
The Camera+ 2 app has a smooth interface and is easy to use. Once you’ve grabbed your shots, you can also edit them right from the app. Crop, add frames, warm up your photo (or cool it down), or change your image with one tap by applying one of the built-in filters.
Afterlight 2 is perfect for the budding smartphone photographer who is ready to takew their editing to the next level. Inside this paid app, you’ll find advanced editing tools including curves, selective colour, sharpening, exposure, and gradients. To add something special to your images, and give them a certain style or mood, Afterlight 2 comes with overlay options like dust and light leak.
There are some excellent filter packs that let you transform your images with just the touch of a button. The app comes with a set of filters built in, but adding additional collections is free, and many of these are from leading photographers. If you want to get even more creative, you can use layers to add customisable text or graphics to your image. There’s also an option to blend images via the double-exposure tool.
Although there are many great iphone photo editing apps, you may need to sample a few before settling on a favourite. With a lot of the same or similar features, it might come down to finding the photo app that has your favourite filters, or simply using the one that you find most intuitive.
Once you’ve found that perfect app, it’s time to start sharing your gorgeously edited photos with the world.