Who said you need an expensive dSLR, lighting kits and Photoshop subscriptions?! Whether you’re a social media amateur, or you’ve been in the game for a while, here are a few apps to make the best of your phone’s camera:
More than just a photo editing app, VSCO has created a vibrant community of phone photographers. It first rose in popularity due to its ease of use and filter-centric user interface, making it simple for anyone to make an average photo exciting. With a selection of free filters, all you have to do is tap to apply them, and then share the photo to your social media. There’s also an in-app store which allows you to purchase additional filters if you wish. Looking for more advanced tools? Well you won’t be disappointed with almost 20 additional image adjustments, for example: exposure, contrast, saturation, temperature, tint, skin tone, fade and more.
The app is free (in app purchases available), and is available on both iOS and Android.
Winner: best for filters
Looking for plenty of editing features, and not a fan of VSCO? Try Google’s photo editing app Snapseed. This beautifully designed app allows you to make detailed adjustments, apply filters, and enhance faces through simple swipes up and down on the screen. Similar to VSCO, Snapseed allows you to adjust basic attributes such as brightness, contrast, saturation and temperature. However, the toolkit of Snapseed far extends that of VSCO, offering tools to alter the image’s ambiance, selective focus, colour/luminance curves, white balance and more. Almost a mini Photoshop; you can use the healing tool to remove and touchup impurities in images, utilise the powers of the brush tool to make selective edits to only certain areas of the photo, and create awesome artworks with the built-in double exposure tool. You can also adjust a person’s facial features including the angle their head is facing, the size of their pupils and the arch of their smile. Admittedly, no app comes close to the filters provided in VSCO, however Snapseed provides some pretty solid competition.
Winner: best for editing options
Over (only on iOS)
Wanting to add text and graphics to your images? Look no further if you’re an iOS user. With over 10,000 graphics, fonts and images, the opportunities are almost endless. The app boasts simplicity, and is designed to easily ad text and graphics over the top of your existing images. Whether you’re making a meme, an inspirational quote post, or just want to add some text to a post, Over will do just that! A pro subscription is available and can be paid monthly or yearly if you’re looking to unlock more features. Over isn’t just limited to social media posts, and can be used to create digital and print publications such as flyers and invites.
The app is free for iOS users. And Android (in some countries).
Winner: best for design templates
The cross-platform alternative to Over is Studio Design, a free app offering almost identical features. With a slightly smaller catalogue of predefined graphics, Studio Design offers thousands of templates ready to go. Studio Design strongly advocates a remix-style community, allowing users to adjust existing creations, easily swapping out images but retaining the designs.
If you’re an iOS user, try both Over and Studio Design to see which one suits your needs – they are very similar, and it ultimately comes down to personal choice.
Phonto is another great alternative to Over and Studio Design, allowing users to add text on top of photos. Although you don’t have the option of over 10,000 predefined graphics, you do have a large selection of over 200 fonts to choose from. You also have a few advanced features such as installing custom fonts, changing letter/line spacing and adjusting colours. Perfect for keeping in line with your business’ branding. If you aren’t a fan of the cliché templates that the above too apps have to offer, then Phonto will give you the creative freedom to make adjustments without the unneeded extras of a template library and social/remixing platform.
The app is free for iOS and Android users.
If you’re after an app that offers a little bit of everything, or you have a Windows Phone, PicLab is a great option. With filters and creative overlays, you get the toolkit of both VSCO/Snapseed and Over/Studio Design at your disposal. Whilst the template library on PicLab is significantly smaller and not as customisable, there are plenty to choose from and use. Unlike the other photo editing apps, PicLab also has a collage creator built in. Allowing you to arrange multiple photos into a social media friendly single image. PicLab will export its images with a watermark, unless you pay to remove it.
Winner: best all-rounder and best (only) for Windows phone