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The Best Photo Editing Apps

posted by on July 22, 2011 in Cameras and Photography, Photo / Video Sharing, Mobile Apps, Android Apps, iPhone/iPad Apps, Guides & Reviews :: 4 comments

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Look around the next time you’re at a soccer game, park or even a family wedding. Chances are a lot of the photos are being taken with a cell phone's camera, not a regular camera. More and more, people are also editing their photos on their smartphones as well. There are apps for both for traditional editing tasks, like cropping and adjusting brightness, and for applying fun and artistic effects, like sepia or cartoonization.

Here are some of our favorite apps for iOS and Android devices. Just one bit of advice. Always start by getting the picture you want, before experimenting with effects.  You can always undo those you don’t like.



Primarily a photo sharing app, much like a Twitter for photos, Instagram lets you share with groups of friends and view their feeds.  But it also includes basic image editing and some fun filters and effects.  Plus you can upload your creations to Facebook. A downside is that images are down-sized.  Free on iTunes.


The popular photo-sharing site Photobucket recently launched this mobile app for both Android and iPhone, and not surprisingly, it excels at sharing.  It offers basic editing , filters and effects in an easy interface.  Photos can be saved and posted to social sites, with captions.  Free on Android Market and iTunes.


Like its closest rival Instagram, Picplz is mainly about sharing, and offers all the basic editing and effects tools.  It excels in sharing, even offering a Dropbox option.  Free on Android Market and iTunes.

Fotolr Photo Studio

Fotolr is a nifty image editor that has most of the features you would want for on-the-fly sharing.  Aside from the basic editing tools and creative filters and effects, it includes several creative makeover tools like “acne removal”.  They’re not for creating a professional headshot, but for having a laugh with your friends. Free on iTunes.



This elegant app offers the basic tools you need: editor for cropping/adjusting the image, filters for applying cool effects, and sharing.  The Facebook integration lets you add a caption with the upload.  $1.99 on iTunes.

FX Photo Studio

In addition to the standard repertoire of editing tools, this robust photo tool offers some professional-level tools like masking and gamma adjustment.  The nearly 200 effects and filters have sliders for easily adjusting the degree of the effect.  If you love to tinker, this is the app for you. $0.99 on iTunes.


If you love special effects, Vignette delivers. There are 84, including retro and vintage styles, toy camera effects (LOMO, Diana and Holga), photobooth, as well as a bunch of interesting film effects, like double exposure and cross-process.  It is designed to apply those filters during picture-taking, but they can be applied from the gallery too.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t save your original images.$4.04 on Android Market.

PicSay Pro

PicSay Pro version is one of the most robust photo apps, with a full suite of capabilities from start to finish.  It stores your original un-edited photo, and applies edits to a copy, as it should.  There’s even a version for Android tablets. $4.28 on Android Market.

Discussion loading


From Sandy on July 26, 2011 :: 3:37 pm

Great article with lots of interesting apps to explore. Wonderful to use as a reference when looking for just the right effect for a photo. Think I’ll share this with some other photographers I know…


Save original photo

From chris on July 29, 2011 :: 12:08 pm

Wish I had seen this before our trip last week. we were at Disney and I was shooting in sepia for fun. The kids were all laughing at something and I got the perfect spontaneous shot with iPhone. But it was in sepia! I wish it was color, I will never change the shooting mode on my phone again. I’ve been playing with PhotoForge but I just downloaded Camera+ to try.



From Jim Daniel on August 10, 2011 :: 2:37 pm

You can add effects to your photos at without installed software


Update: PicPlz Shutting Down July 2012

From Kristy Holch on June 04, 2012 :: 12:07 am

PicPlz lost the race to Instagram today, and announced it will be shuttered July 3, 2012.  So take that one off your app wish list.


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