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Best photo editing apps on Android: 9 to improve every picture

Authored by: Scott Adam Gordon — 1 month ago

I can’t remember the last time I took my digital camera with me on a trip. Smartphone camera technology has all but replaced point-and-shoot digital cameras with comparable performance and some extra help from apps. Speaking of which, we're here to help you make your favorite photos look even better with our list of the best photo editing apps on Android.

VSCO Cam - The Android favorite

VSCO Cam is one of the most-downloaded photo applications on Android. Combining a dedicated camera app, solid editing features, and its own Instagram-like user-uploads page, this is a photographers' dream. One of the beautiful things about VSCO Cam is how it provides an easy one-click fix for photos in the form of basic filters, while offering further options deeper in the app for those who want to get their hands dirty. 

VSCO Cam's minimal interface makes it easy to grasp, but its professional grade features ensure it has the scope that more "serious" photo fanatics require. It's an astounding package - some of VSCO Cam's editing dials are the most comfortable and usable on Android, providing those subtle improvements that excite an image without looking garish. What's better? It's free to download.   

androidpit vsco cam screenshot
VSCO Cam's interface is simple, but incredibly efficient. / © ANDROIDPIT
VSCO Cam® Install on Google Play

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. There is a free version available known as Photoshop Express, but this is the most fully-formed Photoshop package for smartphones - download it now.

androidpit adobe photoshop touch
Photoshop is the undisputed king of desktop photo editing, and now it is taking on Android. / © Adobe
Photoshop Touch for phone Install on Google Play Lab - Light on editing features, heavy on frames and backgrounds

What 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. 

androidpit photo lab one Lab might not have the most comprehensive array of editing features, but it's filled with simple pleasures. / © VicMan LLC Lab PRO Photo Editor! Install on Google Play

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 can be achieved with some touch-gestures if you want a more physical feel, and you can even choose to edit and customize a selection within your photo. 

Snapseed is known primarily for its filters: with Retrolux, Vintage, Tilt Shift, Grunge, Drama and other cool effects, and it's free of charge with no ads.

Snapseed Filter screenshot app 02
Snapseed - image correction and artistic filters. / © Nik Software, Inc.
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Image editing with Snapseed. / © Nik Software, Inc.
Snapseed Install on Google Play

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, and Cymera offers seven different lenses and four different recording modes to instantly improve snaps.

More than twenty filters, decorations, portrait features, and realistic make-up effects are available, and images can 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.

foto apps cymera 01
Portrait and make-up functions can only be applied to faces. / © ANDROIDPIT
Cymera - Photo Editor, Collage Install on Google Play

Aviary Photo Editor: 1, 2, 3 – Meme!

Besides the standard functions for rotating, cropping, correcting, and auto-enhancing, Aviary Photo Editor also has focus functions (tilt-shift), text input, cosmetic corrections (red eye, make-up) and a “Meme Generator”. All of your photos can be shared across the most popular social media apps too.

The Aviary Photo Editor offers some in-app purchases for added effects, frames, and stickers, but is otherwise free with no ads.

foto apps aviary 01
Left: In-app purchases for additional effects. Right: Meme photos made easy. / © ANDROIDPIT
Photo Editor by Aviary Install on Google Play

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. In addition, the app features an excellent design program for editing photos 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.

foto apps picsart 01
Frame creation with PicsArt. / © PicsArt
foto apps picsart 02
Partial coloring with PicsArt. / © PicsArt
PicsArt Photo Studio Install on Google Play

Pixlr Express: The fast

From the creators of Pixlr-O-Matic comes Pixlr Express, and the name says it all: this app for editing photos is aimed at the people who want it done fast. Pixlr Express features many effects such as cosmetic editing (red-eye removal, brightening, and smoothing) and social sharing. 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.

foto apps pixlr express 01
Pixlr Express comes with a lot of options for quick photo fixes. / © Autodesk Inc.
Autodesk Pixlr – photo editor Install on Google Play

Vignette: The retro

Vignette is not a pure editing app, but a hybrid, packing a standalone camera app with digital zoom, self-timer, and time-lapse available. The, ahem, 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 1.60 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.

foto apps vignette 01
When it comes to Vignette, retro is the way to go. / © Weavr

So, what do you think is the best Android photo editing app? Let us know in the comments below.

Originally from the UK, Scott graduated in Popular Music Studies at Newcastle University and attributes most of his success there to his beloved Samsung Galaxy S2. A dedicated Android fan, Scott has never owned an Apple device, of any kind, and doesn't see this changing anytime soon.


Write new comment:
  • Dmitry 1 week ago Link to comment

    How do you actually edit your photos? I'm running a quick survey to understand it better, and it only takes 2 minutes.

    Thank you!

  • sacocheio 1 month ago Link to comment

    I rarely use effects on photos, so Perfectly Clear is the photo app I use the most. I cannot understand why it's not even mentioned here, because its auto correction is the best I've seen.
    I strongly suggest an addendum to this article mentioning it.

  • Edward Netherton 1 month ago Link to comment

    I totally agree that "VSCO Cam is one of the most downloaded and best photo applications on Android". It has wide variety of features to choose to edit photos. It pretty simple and this app is for free.

  • Ginette Plamondon 1 month ago Link to comment

    Can you write to me in French.

  • Denny Weinberg 1 month ago Link to comment

    I use this one:

  • Asad Ali 6 months ago Link to comment

    Aviary & Pixlr are best

  • Amat Mulisha 6 months ago Link to comment

    Vsco cam and aviary is the best. Trust me. U will get a professional result

  • Paco Inurreta 6 months ago Link to comment

    I have Snapseed, Pixlr, Photoshop Express and VSCO and I hardly ever use them. I have been thinking on uninstalling them. VSCO will be the first to go but then I have no idea which to keep =/

  • Lee 6 months ago Link to comment

    Using Aviary at the moment great photo editor, you can get and keep all the effects for FREE sign in or make yourself a Adobe account within the App.

    All the effects you download will also be saved to your adobe cloud account so you can restore them back at a later date if needed.

    All Aviary supplies are FREE until 05/01/2015 saving you $200+

    Get them while you can I say 👍😉

  • Otavio Ricciotti 6 months ago Link to comment

    VSCO Cam FTW!