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12 best photo editing apps on Android

Authored by: Scott Adam Gordon — 3 months 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 dozen best photo editing apps on Android.

With these great Android photo editing apps you don't even have to take perfect photos. / © ANDROIDPIT

PhotoDirector: The ultimate

When a massive multimedia software company like Cyberlink delivers a photo editing app to Android, you're going to want to pay attention. PhotoDirector is a kind of multi-purpose photo editor. You can quickly and easily add overlays to your images, and get creative with effects and different photos styles. Or, you can step things up a notch and make use of PhotoDirector's more advanced features, like RGB curves, HSL tools.

AndroidPIT PhotoDirector photo editor
PhotoDirector has a range of basic and advanced photo editing options. / © ANDROIDPIT
PhotoDirector - Photo Editor Install on Google Play

Adobe Lightroom Mobile: The heavyweight

Adobe is a world leader when it comes to image manipulation and Lightroom is the photographer's standard. The mobile version of Adobe Lightroom is feature-packed with tools you'll know from the desktop version, all squeezed into your pocket. You will need a subscription to Adobe Cloud Photography plan to use Lightroom on your Android, but if you take your photography seriously you wouldn't be without this app.

AndroidPIT Adobe Lightroom Android
Adobe Lightroom for Android brings desktop power to your pocket. / © ANDROIDPIT

Photo Editor by Lidow: The fast and fun

Photo Editor by Lidow is a quick and fun photo-editing app that saves you the hassle of trying to figure out millions of options, filters and settings. Photo Editor by Lidow is definitely less complex than many of the other photo editing apps on this list, but that's part of its charm. You've got a handful of fun, easy-to-use features that can be applied in seconds.

AndroidPIT Photo Editor by Lidow
Photo Editor by Lidow is simple, quick and fun. / © ANDROIDPIT
Lidow:collage square mirror Install on Google Play

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 Lab: The framer

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.
foto apps snapseed 02
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 among 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.

androidpit cymera screenshot 5
I dialed up the 'smile' amount on my face (left), then added some color, slimmed myself down, sharpened it, and voila. / © 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.
Pixlr – Free 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.

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  • Retouchify - your photos are edited by real people. If you need anything fixed on the photo this is the best app.

  • Hi,
    myphotofilter Online photo effects & filters for free, try our photo effects editing

  • VSCO cam is for those who are more interested in serious photography. It has made me put down my dslr and use only my phone the last few weeks. Phenomenal software. Snapseed and Afterlight are the "best" editing only apps (although Afterlight does have a dedicated camera) I've used....after VSCO. This is just my opinion though.

  • I have tried all of these except lightroom and vignette: retro and ended up Uninstalling most of them. I still have pixlr and photo director, and i have snapseed on my tablet though i rarely use it. What baffles me when i read these beat photo editing app articles is how an app called Photo Editor by a developer named dev.macgyver is never on them. It has 10 million downloads on the playstore but i never see it mentioned. This app is amazing. Truly the closest thing you will find to a photoshop or a GIMP on android. The interface is basic, nothing fancy, but what you can do with this app is amazing and almost endless. Every feature and tool can be adjusted and fine tuned down to doing exactly what you want. No other photo app I've tried even comes close. And ive tried over 30 photo editing apps easy. Anyway, it's worth checking out, it's simply called Photo Editor and has a basic blue icon. Oh and all tools and features are free, the only in app purchase is to make it ad free. The ad is small, uninterested and mostly goes unnoticed at the bottom of the screen. Ok ok I'll shut up about it now, i just love this app!

  • Surely Lightroom Mobile doesn't make any sense unless one has the pics in LR in the cloud before processing in Android. And to be in the cloud the pics must be imported via LR but not on Android. IMHO a limiting (lack of) feature.

  • Great Post !! 😃😄

  • 'Dramatic Black & White' by JixiPix Software. Once i realised you could pretty much do away with the vignetting almost entirely if you want, this became the must have camera app i download to a new phone before all other camera apps. I truly cannot understand why it has so few downloads and why it's never mentioned in articles like this one. I haven't found anything that suits me any where near as well for B&W's

  • Mel Fox 3 months ago Link to comment

    I am looking for a photo app that allows me to edit pix & move location to were I want them located. Unlike Google photo when edited they are placed as a new photo any suggestion's would be appreciated. MF.

  • #1 editer.............PhotoDirector: The ultimate

  • Dmitry 3 months 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!

    • Mel Fox 3 months ago Link to comment

      Editing is not a problem but being able to than place the pictures were I want them is my problem I would l like folders like on my computer.

  • sacocheio 4 months 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.

  • 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.

  • Can you write to me in French.

  • I use this one:

  • Asad Ali 9 months ago Link to comment

    Aviary & Pixlr are best

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

  • 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 =/

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