While images from top-tier smartphones now rival those of DSLRs and mirrorless cameras (that’s a debate for another day entirely), the editing, that’s where you can really take an image and turn it into something special.
You see, you can take a relatively flat image and turn it into something amazing if you have the right tools.
It goes without saying that the best way to improve your photography is to simply practice taking better photos, but the following three editing apps can all be used when you want to sprinkle your own signature style on your images.
Ah, faithful, trusty Snapseed.
This app has been around since the days when Instagram first launched, before it was acquired by Google. When I first used it, I really abused the HDR feature, that is, bumping the shadows and saturation all the way up until my pictures resembled comic books.
I was young, dumb and full of creative intent.
Nowadays, I use it more for subtle colour corrections and ‘taste’ edits than wholesale image edits. It’s come a long way from humble beginnings and has a full range of editing functions, all the way from tone curves to selective edits.
It does have the option to save presets which is nice if you’re working on an account where you want to maintain a certain tonal range or aesthetic. It even allows you to save editable copies of your images, which means that you can make non-destructive edits to your original image.
2. Lightroom Mobile
The real power of Lightroom Mobile comes into play if you have an Adobe Creative Suite account, as the app will sync your images and settings via cloud across multiple devices.
Be warned though, this app uses a ton of space, especially if you have a lower capacity iPhone (32GB or less).
It’s easily the most advanced solution for colour correction and tonal tweaks, however. You can adjust hue, saturation and luminance for each of the colour channels, along with split toning for shadows and highlights.
3. Adobe Spark Post
Full disclosure, I hardly use this app but I have played around with it, and it’s a convenient solution for creating posters on the fly.
Again, it helps if you have an Adobe plan, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make full use of it.
The alternative to Adobe Spark Post is Over, another type-setting app that provides customisable social media templates.
4. Honorary mention — VSCO
I was a die-hard VSCO user before I started leaning more heavily on Lightroom, as I wanted more control over colour tweaks which VSCO couldn’t provide.
The film-emulator app doesn’t have much else that the above apps don’t have, but the reason it scores an honorary mention is because it’s created a niche community of photographers and content creators within the app itself.
Which apps do you use for editing images on your smartphone?