Smartphone camera technology is forever improving: in fact, I can’t remember the last time I grabbed my digital camera to take with me on a trip. As such, I play around with editing apps on my Galaxy S5 to see which ones give me the best bang for my buck. Here is our list of the best photo editing apps on Android, with a brief overview of their various functions.
Photoshop Touch for phone - The classic
Before you get too excited, the Photoshop Touch for phone app isn't nearly as comprehensive as it's PC counterpart, but at least you don't have to pay a ridiculous subscription fee to use it. For 4.99 USD you get access to some of the basic functions, like layers, image exporting, color correction and other adjustments, and it's still just as feature-packed and useful as other apps on offer from the Play Store. It's the most full-formed version of Photoshop for smartphones and tablets.
Pho.to Lab - Light on editing features, heavy on frames and backgrounds
What Pho.to Lab lacks in serious editing tools it more that makes up for in the amount of customization: photo frames, landscapes, colors, effects, stickers, icons, filters and more are included to spice up your pics. It's definitely one of the less "professional" photo-editing apps on our list - it can't compete with the likes of PhotoShop or Snapseed for in-depth photo-fixing. But for a bit of fun, it has a huge amount of variety.
Snapseed: The experienced
Snapseed was developed by the professionals from Nik Software and is ideal for touching up your photos. Brightness, contrast, and saturation are among some of the standard tasks that it can do, and if you’re lucky, the automatic correction will get it all for you in one fell swoop. Fine adjustments and corrections can be made very carefully with some gestures and you can even choose to edit and customize selections of your photo. Snapseed is known primarily for its filters: with Retrolux, Vintage, Tilt Shift, Grunge, Drama and other cool effects you can use and it's free of charge with no ads.
Cymera: The portrait photographer
Although you can technically use Cymera for any type of photo, it really excels with portraits. Photos can be taken directly from within the app or imported from your gallery. The app offers seven different lenses that you can use and four different types of recording modes. More than twenty filters, decorative effects, portrait features, and realistic make-up effects are also available. Images can then be shared amongst Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr directly from the app. Cymera is free, but not free of advertising: a small, but manageable banner is displayed on the bottom of the screen.
Aviary Photo Editor: 1, 2, 3 – Meme!
The Aviary Photo Editor has been updated as of the beginning of the month. Besides the standard functions for rotating, cropping, correcting, and auto-enhancing, the app also has focus functions (tilt-shift), text input, cosmetic corrections (red eye, make-up) and a “Meme Generator”. The photos can be shared amongst most popular social media apps. The Aviary Photo Editor offers some in-app purchases in term of other effects, frames, and stickers, but is otherwise free of charge and advertising.
PicsArt: The all-rounder
PicsArt is one of the most popular free photo editors available and an all-round solution: an image editor with effects, a camera app, drawing tool, and a social platform. As well, there is a great design program inside the app that can be used to edit the photos afterwards with filters and decorations. Finished masterpieces can also be shared on most popular social platforms in addition to text messaging and e-mail. Also, much like Instagram, PicsArt has an internal social network in which you can share your creations.
Pixlr Express: The fast
From the creators of Pixlr-O-Matic comes Pixlr Express and the name says it all: this application for editing photos is aimed at appealing to the people who want it done lickity split and then go about their day. So really, in order to come out with something amazing you have to have a pretty amazing photo to begin with. There are many effects, such as cosmetic editing (red-eye removal, brightening, and smoothing) and social sharing is also available. For those who want to save more time, there is a “Frequently Used” settings that can be used to increase the speed in which photos are edited.
Adobe Photoshop Express: A free version of a classic
Photoshop is synonymous with image editing for many people. With Adobe Photoshop Express, you can do a plethora of editing to your photos in the comfort of one app: cutting, rotating, color correction, apply filters, amongst others. You can also link your Facebook, Twitter, and a free Photoshop.com account to this app to make sharing an ease. The Express version of the app is available for free and the more advanced version, Adobe Photoshop Touch (mentioned above), is available for the tablet or smartphone for a small fee.
Vignette: The retro
Vignette is not a pure editing app, but a hybrid amongst the pack as it packs a standalone camera app with digital zoom, self-timer, and time-lapse available. The focus of the app is on vintage camera effects and styles: you can make your pictures look as if they were taken with a Lomo, Diana, Holga, or Polaroid. Similarly, there are double exposure settings and a photo-machine mode. The image processing with Vignette is limited to the camera effects as rotating and cropping aren’t available. Vignette costs around 3 dollars but also has a free demo version available. In contrast to some other apps, you can have all functionality of the app even if you don’t have a data connection present.
So, what's your favorite Android photo editing app? Let us know in the comments below!