- Photo editing apps can give your photos that professional look you are striving for.
- Photos that have a professional look help your business gain credibility with consumers.
- Not all photo editing apps are created equal. Some are better than others in areas like filtering, retouching and adding color.
- This article is for business owners looking for an app to make their social media photos look the best they can.
A strong social media presence is crucial in today's digital world. However, posting just anything on your accounts is not enough. A profile filled with low-quality photos will displease your consumers and could even hurt your credibility as a brand, but posting professional-looking photos to your social media accounts and website is a surefire way to gain a following.
You don't need to be a trained photographer with expensive equipment to up your photo editing skills; all you need is a smartphone or device with a decent camera and some of these great (and affordable) apps. Here are 12 apps you should consider using to add that professional look and feel to your photos.
Best app for: Filters
- Wide range of filters
- Basic editing capabilities like exposure, contrast, saturation, temperature and fade
- Syncing across multiple devices
VSCO – or Visual Supply Company – is one of the most popular photo editing apps. Small businesses can use the platform, which lets users create a profile and share photos, to increase their online presence.
In terms of editing, VSCO provides a great selection of filters and basic editing capabilities such as exposure, contrast, saturation, temperature and fade. The editing control allows you to transform photos into engaging content.
The VSCO community provides users with a marketplace of ideas. You can follow other users and plan content that reflects major photo trends. VSCO is available for both iOS and Android, and it syncs across multiple devices, so you can edit photos from anywhere. VSCO's free version includes 10 presets, basic editing tools, and the ability to explore other photos and share photos.
To upgrade, you can pay $19.99 per year for a VSCO membership, which includes more than 170 presets, advanced editing tools, and inspiring tips and tricks.
Best app for: Retouching
- Remove unwanted elements (shadows, people, buildings, etc.) from your photos
- Clone or duplicate items
- Match backgrounds
- Take tutorials for easy learning
One of the main highlights of TouchRetouch is its ability to remove unwanted items from your photos. Everyone has experienced this – you line up the perfect shot, only to see a trash can or group of people obscuring your shot. You can use TouchRetouch to remove these objects, presenting the subject of your shot how you want.
With TouchRetouch, you can remove unwanted elements like shadows, people, buildings, wires and spots in the sky. You don't even have to do any work – you simply highlight an area with your finger and tap Go. You can use this app to perfect other elements of your photos as well. You can use the clone stamp tool to fill in any gaps, duplicate elements or match backgrounds. The app also comes with some tutorials, so you can learn how to use the program and understand different guidelines for photo editing. TouchRetouch is available on both Android and iOS for $1.99.
Best app for: Precise editing for beginners
- Wide range of tools (brush, healing, HDR, perspective tools, cropping, rotating, etc.)
- Wide range of filters (including personal features to save for later)
- Autocorrect for beginners
Snapseed is a Google product with more than 25 tools and filters for editing photos, including healing, brush, HDR and perspective. These tools give you the power of precise editing to create professional-looking photos. The brush tool, for example, can be used to edit a specific object or area of a photo instead of the entire frame. You can also save your favorite filters and automatically apply them to later photos, which allows for quick editing on similar photos for your small business.
If you don't have a lot of experience editing photos, Snapseed provides an autocorrect feature that adjusts colors, exposure and contrast to make your photos sharper and more compelling. Other tools and features include cropping, rotating, tuning, and creating double-exposure photos, which blend two images so you can choose and edit blend modes. Snapseed is a free service available for Android and iOS.
Best app for: Creative business owners
- Textures, light leaks, gradients
- Standard editing tools
- Nondestructive workflow
- Filter stacking
- Saving/editing for personal formulas
- Inspiration feed
Mextures allows you to apply textures, light leaks and gradients to your images. It has a nondestructive workflow, so you can adjust and edit photos at any stage of the editing process and not worry about your file's quality diminishing. Mextures is ideal for creative business owners looking to create engaging, heavily edited photos. The app's robust services include more than 150 textures, the ability to stack infinite filter layers, and standard editing tools such as exposure, contrast and tint.
You can save and edit your own formulas, so it's easy to apply the same mixture of adjustments to multiple photos. Mextures also offers an inspiration feed, where you can curate and view photos to develop new ideas. The app gives you the option to instantly connect with photographers in the inspiration feed on Instagram. Mextures is available for $1.99 on iTunes, but it also requires some in-app purchases to use certain features.
5. Adobe Photoshop Express
Best app for: Adding text to photos
- Standard editing and photo adjustment tools
- Text adding and overlaying
- Option to save personal formulas
- Resizing and blending
Adobe Photoshop Express is the mobile version of Photoshop, Adobe's flagship photo editing software. Unlike Photoshop, however, Express is a free service. In addition to standard editing and photo adjustment features like cropping, auto-fixing and brush tools, Photoshop Express offers tools to add text to images. This feature allows you to overlay text on your images, so you can create memes, issue announcements or include company information on your photos.
Photoshop Express also lets you edit photos in raw formats, save your own formulas, and resize and blend images. It is available on both iOS and Android devices for free.
Best app for: Shooting and editing
Price: $2.99 or $4.99
- Shooting modes (stabilization, burst, etc.)
- Basic editing tools
- Advanced features (clarity, scene modes, lightbox, etc.)
- Social media integrations
Camera+ is an ideal app for business owners looking to shoot and edit photos in one complete program. It provides a few advanced shooting modes, like stabilization for capturing sharp photos and burst for taking rapid action shots. After you've taken a photo using Camera+, you can edit it directly in the app. The program includes basic editing functions – like cropping, adding borders and applying captions – and more advanced features, like clarity, scene modes and lightbox. The clarity tool analyzes and enhances your photos, while you can use scene modes and lightbox to capture photos in the right light and select which ones to keep and which to delete immediately after taking them.
Camera+ has built-in social media integrations, so you can quickly upload a photo to Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. It also syncs with iCloud, so you can use Camera+ to edit photos on any iOS device. Camera+ is available for $2.99 on iPhone and $4.99 on iPad.
Best app for: Blending and overlaying images
Price: $0.99 or $1.99
- Superimposed images
- Basic editing tools
Superimpose is ideal for business owners looking to create professional-grade photos where multiple images are overlaid and blended together. You can easily blend two images, smooth out edges, add masks or mask out different portions of an image, and adjust the color, exposure, contrast or saturation of both images. This app includes moving, scaling, resizing, rotating and flipping tools in addition to blending tools.
This app is a simpler, mobile alternative to working with layers in Adobe's Photoshop – you can easily superimpose an image on another, and make adjustments on the fly without advanced knowledge of masks or image blending. This app's focus is blending images, but it provides tools to edit existing photos as well. Superimpose is available on iOS devices for $1.99 and Android devices for 99 cents.
8. A Color Story
Best app for: Color pop
- Basic photo editing
- Range of free filters
- Grid of edited photos
With more than 8 million installs, A Color Story is another popular photo editing application. This app is perfect for business owners hoping to create fresh photos and videos with colors that pop. Along with basic editing functions such as cropping, A Color Story has more than 100 filters available. Once you finish editing your photo, you can save it to a grid and start to edit others, helping you create a cohesive photo grid for social media.
While many of the filters and features are free to use, there are also filter packs available for in-app purchasing. A Color Story is available on iOS and Android devices.
9. Adobe Lightroom CC
Best app for: Precise fine-tuning
- Basic photo editing
- Simple user interface
- One-tap presets
- Advanced editing tools (curves, color mix, split tone, etc.)
Adobe Lightroom CC is a great application for both beginners and advanced users. You can use one-tap presets that automatically enhance your photos, or manually adjust details like exposure, color and curves. The user interface is simple and easy to get used to, so you won't waste time trying to learn how to use the program.
Available on iOS and Android, this app is free, but if you want access to premium features, there is a $4.99 monthly subscription fee.
10. Lens Distortions
Best app for: Enhancing photos with lens flares
- Multiple lens flare, rain, snow, fog, sunlight overlays
- Basic photo editing (brightness, contrast, opacity, etc.)
Lens Distortions is a unique photo editing app that allows you to add natural elements, like fog and rain, to your pictures. You can layer different lens flares over your photos and adjust their opacity, brightness and color.
This app is especially great for advertisements or creative projects. If you want a dramatic yet natural look that doesn't appear overly edited, this is the program for you. You can turn a simple photo into a cinematic experience with the use of light and other effects. The app is available on iOS and Android. It's free, but for the unlimited version, you pay $2.99 monthly or $23.99 annually.
Best app for: Old-school photos
- Basic and advanced photo editing tools
- Range of filters
- Textures and overlays
- Frames and borders
Afterlight is great for both new and advanced photo editors. Users with advanced skills can use its tools to change curves, selective hues and saturation, and tone. Other tools include the option to add overlays, frames, artwork and text. You also get the photo editing basics, such as typical color, exposure, sharpness and crop tools. Beginners can also benefit from Afterlight's regularly updated selection of filters.
Afterlight is available on iOS and Android devices. The app is free, but you can pay $2.99 for a monthly subscription or $17.99 for a yearly subscription.
Best app for: Batch processing
- RAW editing
- Blur editing
- Full-album management
- Personal filters
- Batch processing
- Hashtag manager and Siri shortcuts
Darkroom is a great option for editing multiple photos at once. The app allows you to create Siri shortcuts, edit RAW or live photos, manage hashtags related to your photos, and sync your entire photo album. Additionally, you can edit photos that were taken on a digital camera rather than being limited to your iPhone. You also get a ton of filters to choose from and can even create your own. If you're feeling uninspired, Darkroom can choose frames for your photos based on the color scheme and other elements.
The application is only available on iOS. You can use the free version or pay $3.99 for a monthly subscription or $19.99 for a yearly one.
Saige Driver, Sara Angeles and Matt D'Angelo contributed to the writing and reporting in this article.