A complete guide to all the best smartphone photo editing apps

In different app-stores, there are a plethora of photo-editing apps. Some of them have very specific uses, others are more general photo apps.

In this blog post, I’ll be discussing the best and polyvalent photo editing apps for your phone. Read the guide here!

Native apps

Use the native app on your smartphone for photo-editing

Every smartphone these days comes with a native app. iOs has one and so does Android. You can usually find it embedded in your gallery app. Just go to your photo gallery and choose a photo. Next to the sharing and delete buttons, you will find one labeled ‘edit’.

On Android phones, there are plenty of basic editing options present. As well as a couple of fun and creative ones.

Basic editing options on Android Smartphones:

  • Rotate and mirror
  • Cropping (with several ratios presets)
  • A set of filters
  • Splash: to add a bit of color to a black and white photo
  • Blur to remove focus and sharpness
  • Adjustments: brightness, contrast, saturation, sharpness, highlights, shadows, hue, BW filter.
  • Beauty for selfies

Creative editing options on Android Smartphones:

  • Mosaic: a pencil that adds mosaic style lines
  • Graffiti: to write or draw on your photos
  • Stickers: location, time, and weather-based information
  • Label: A bit like stickers, but more creative shapes and options

The pros of native smartphone photo-editing apps

There are a couple of advantages of having the native app on your smartphone.

  • You don’t have to install it yourself
  • It helps you to fix those basic things fast
  • It is an easy application

The cons of native smartphone photo-editing apps

  • It’s basic
  • It won’t get you high-quality edits

Instagram: as a good photo editing app

Basic photo editing in the Instagram app for mobile

It’s one of the first apps we all install on a fresh new phone. So I guess this photo-sharing app does not need an introduction. However, not a lot of people see it as a valid photo editing app. Let’s get into the post-processing power of the Instagram app.

Instagrams editing options

Exactly like the native apps on smartphones, Instagram has the standard functions all present. You can unlock these features when you swipe left at the moment you would normally choose a filter.

  • Adjust for the horizon correction
  • Brightness
  • Contrast
  • Structure
  • Warmth
  • Saturation
  • Colour: for highlights and shadows split toning
  • Fade
  • Highlights
  • Shadows
  • Vignette
  • Tilt-shift: Or a focus/blur tool
  • Sharpen

The pros of photo editing in Instagram

  • Easy to share afterward
  • No extra app needed
  • Good basic editing

The cons of photo editing in Instagram

  • No extensive editing
  • Low-res export of the final result
  • Only jpg-editing

VSCO: the more artsy and popular photo editing app

Artsy photo-editing in VSCO

VSCO is a well-known app. A lot of famous Instagrammers and photographers use the app for their photo-editing. The app has a lot of features that work perfectly, along with a nice collection of filters you can add to your photos.

The filters are as easy to use as the ones on Instagram but have a more artsy look. There are also a lot more filters available, and you can purchase extras within the app.

VSCO editing options

  • Exposure
  • Contrast
  • Adjust: for straightening and cropping
  • Sharpen
  • Saturation
  • Tone: for highlight and shadow edits
  • White Balance
  • Skin Tone
  • Vignette
  • Grain
  • Fade
  • Split Tone
  • Borders: from some nice frames
  • HSL: only in the membership
  • Edit copying to multiple photos

The pros of photo editing in VSCO

  • Easy to use when you get the hang of it
  • Loads of presets to get you started
  • Good editing options
  • High-resolution exports

The cons of photo editing in VSCO

  • No RAW-support
  • Paying for extra presets can be a roadblock for you

Adobe Lightroom: The great photo editing app

Edit photo’s like a pro in Adobe Lightroom for Mobile

The famous tool for professional photographers has a free mobile app. This comes in handy, especially if you are used to the desktop app. The Mobile app has the same options as the full version on your computer.

A wide range of editing options, preset libraries, export settings, RAW-support and more.

Adobe Lightrooms editing options

  • Selective editing
  • Healing
  • Crop
  • Auto edit option
  • Light
    • Curve
    • Exposure
    • Contrast
    • Highlights
    • Shadows
    • Whites
    • Blacks
  • Color
    • White balance
    • Temperature
    • Tint
    • Vibrance
    • Saturation
    • HSL options
  • Effects
    • Clarity
    • Dehaze
    • Vignette
    • Grain
    • Split Tone
  • Detail
    • Sharpening
    • Radius
    • Detail
    • Masking
    • Noise Reduction
    • Color Noise Reduction
    • Detail Smoothness
  • Optics
    • Remove chromatic aberration
    • Lens profile correction
  • Geometry
    • Distortion
    • Vertical
    • Horizontal
    • Rotate
    • Aspect
    • Scale
    • X Offset
    • Y Offset
  • Presets
  • Export options

The pros of photo editing in Adobe Lightroom

  • RAW editing
  • Extensive editing options
  • High-resolution export
  • A lot of options
  • Professional photo editing app
  • User presets

The cons of photo editing in Adobe Lightroom

  • A bit of a learning curve
  • Large files sometimes take a bit of time

Snapseed: the top free photo editing app

Extensive photo editing in Snapseed

A double whammy with basic and creative editing options all combined in one app. Snapseed is an intuitive app with lots of different options. You have the editing power of Lightroom combined with the ease of use from VSCO and a couple of fun features.

Basic editing options on Snapseed:

  • Tune Image
  • Details
  • Curves
  • White Balance
  • Crop
  • Rotate
  • Perspective
  • Expand
  • Selective
  • Brush
  • Healing

Creative editing options on Snapseed:

  • HDR-scape
  • Glamour Glow
  • Tonal contrast
  • Drama
  • Vintage
  • Grainy Film
  • Retrolux
  • Grunge
  • Black and White
  • Noir
  • Portrait
  • Head Pose
  • Lens Blur
  • Vignette
  • Double Exposure
  • Text
  • Frames

The pros of photo editing in Snapseed

  • Supports RAW
  • Lots of options for editing
  • Creative possibilities
  • Easy to use

The cons of photo editing in Snapseed

  • A lot of options make it sometimes overwhelming
  • Some of the features look fake when overused
  • No sliders on screen but finger control, which is sometimes hard

What is your favorite app to edit your photos on your smartphone? Let me know in the comments!

Disclaimer: There is none, I just really wanted to write this piece of content for you. <3