iPhone Photo Apps: Which Ones Do You Need?
There are many different types of photo apps available for iPhone. But there are only three types that you’ll need on a regular basis:
- Photo editing app
- Camera app
- Photo sharing app
Photo editing apps and photoshop apps allow you to edit photos on iPhone after you’ve taken them. With just a few basic editing tools you can turn an ordinary photo into a stunning masterpiece.
While the iPhone’s built-in Camera app is fantastic, sometimes it doesn’t give you enough manual control. For example, you can’t adjust shutter speed or ISO.
If you want DSLR-like control over the iPhone camera, you can download a third-party iPhone camera app.
Once you’ve shot and edited some amazing photos, you’ll probably want to share them with others. A photo-sharing app lets you showcase your photos to family, friends, and even strangers across the globe.
Read on to discover the 10 best picture apps for shooting, editing and sharing incredible iPhone photos.
1. Best Photo Editing App: Snapseed
Powerful photo editing app with a huge range of tools
- Wide range of professional editing tools, yet very easy to use
- Exposure, color, and sharpness adjustments
- Crop, rotate, straighten, and perspective correction
- Selective adjustments, brushes, and healing tool
- Black & white and vintage filters
- Portrait enhancement, vignette, and lens blur
- Double exposure, frames, and text
- Price: FREE
Snapseed is one of the best photo apps for iPhone. And it’s certainly the best photo editing app for beginners and advanced users alike.
Free photo apps are often sub-standard. But the free Snapseed app offers a high-quality photo editing experience.
If you only download one photography app, make it Snapseed!
This powerful photo editor takes care of almost all your image editing needs. It’s great for everyday photo editing, including exposure, color, cropping, and sharpening.
But it also has tools for advanced photo editing. These include brushes and selective editing which allow you to edit only certain parts of an image. And the healing tool lets you remove unwanted objects from your photos.
Snapseed has a collection of preset “Looks” and filters. These provide a quick way to change the look and feel of your photos. You can convert photos to black and white with filters. Or enhance the colors and apply grungy or vintage looks.
The portrait tools are fantastic for smoothing skin and brightening eyes. It even has a head pose tool which adjusts the angle of your subject’s head in portrait photos.
If you’re editing a batch of similar photos, the “Last Edits” option will save you time by applying the same edits to each photo.
Snapseed is an amazing photo app for all iPhone photographers. Once you start using Snapseed, it’s likely to become your go-to photo editing app.
2. Best Intermediate Photo Editing App: Afterlight 2
Full-featured photo editor with advanced tools and creative options
- Exposure, color, and sharpening adjustments
- Advanced tools such as curves, selective color, gradients, and blend modes
- Dust and light leak overlays
- Double-exposure tool for seamless blending of images
- Add text and artwork using layers
- Free filter packs by well-known mobile photographers
- Price: FREE (with a subscription fee for full access to all features)
If you want to move beyond basic image editing, Afterlight 2 is a great place to start.
It offers a wide range of editing tools, as well as artistic options. Despite its comprehensive set of tools, it’s very easy to use.
For basic edits, this app has the usual color, exposure, sharpness, and crop tools. But it also offers advanced editing features like curves and selective color.
You can use filters and overlays to enhance the mood or add an artistic flair. Afterlight 2 comes with a basic set of filters, but you can download more filter collections for free.
The double-exposure tool lets you create unique combinations of photos. And you can add graphics to your images with the text and artwork tools.
3. Best Professional Photo Editing App: Adobe Lightroom CC
Professional photo editor app with advanced editing tools
- Powerful editing tools within a simple user interface
- One-tap filter presets for quick edits
- Advanced editing tools including curves and color mix tools
- Selective editing, healing tool, and perspective correction
- Get consistent looks by copying your favorite edits to entire albums of photos
- Adobe Creative Cloud syncs edits between iPhone, iPad, computer and web
- Price: Free (with a subscription fee for premium features)
Adobe Lightroom CC offers a powerful set of tools for editing your iPhone photos.
You can edit a photo in seconds with sliders and one-tap filters. But it’s the advanced photo editing tools that make this app stand out.
The curves, color mix, and split tone tools offer incredible control over color and exposure.
You can also apply edits selectively to certain parts of an image. And the healing tool makes it easy to remove unwanted objects from your photos.
Adobe Lightroom CC is free to download from the App Store. But you’ll need to pay to upgrade to the premium features.
This unlocks the selective, healing and perspective tools within the app. It also lets you access your photos across all your devices via Adobe Creative Cloud.
If you use Lightroom to edit photos on your computer, this may become your favorite photo app for iPhone.
4. Best Filter App: VSCO
Stylish editing app with beautiful film-like filters
- Subtle one-tap filter presets that mimic the look of classic film
- Adjustable filter strength
- 130+ filters available via an annual subscription
- Editing tools for cropping, exposure, color, and sharpness
- Built-in camera app and photo sharing platform
- Price: FREE (with a subscription fee for additional filters and tools)
VSCO (pronounced “Visco”) is one of the best photo filter apps for iPhone.
VSCO filters allow you to change the look and feel of a photo with a single tap. They offer a quick and easy way to enhance your iPhone photos.
Many filter apps have garish colored filters that can ruin your pictures. But VSCO is different. VSCO filters are beautiful and understated, emulating the look of classic film.
And you can easily adjust the filter strength, allowing you to tone down the effect to create just the look you want.
The filters are conveniently organized into different categories, such as Warm, Cool, Vibrant, and Black & White. You’ll also find filters suited to particular photography genres, such as Portrait, Nature, and Urban.
In addition to the filters, the app has a good set of editing tools for fine-tuning color and exposure.
VSCO also includes a built-in camera app with manual controls. And it even has its own photo-sharing platform.
However, it’s the filters that really draw photographers to the VSCO app. So if you’re looking for an amazing filter app to enhance your images, VSCO is a fantastic choice.
VSCO is FREE to download from the App Store. It comes with a basic collection of 10 filters to get you started. And you can get access to the full set of over 130 filters by subscribing to VSCO X membership ($19.99 a year).
5. Best Retouch App: TouchRetouch
Remove unwanted objects from your photos in seconds
- An app dedicated to removing unwanted elements from your photos
- Remove blemishes, power lines, and other distracting objects
- One-touch fixes make objects vanish immediately
- Handy line removal tool
- Clone tool for duplicating or removing objects
- Price: $1.99
TouchRetouch is an app dedicated to removing unwanted objects from your iPhone photos. It only takes a few seconds to remove distracting objects that are spoiling your image.
It’s easy to get rid of elements such as litter, street signs, or a person. Use your finger to paint over the object or select it with the lasso. Then watch it disappear.
The app works by analyzing the pixels around your selection. It then replaces the selected object with pixels from the surrounding area.
This app is great for removing imperfections in portrait photos. You can make pimples and skin blemishes vanish with a single tap.
The line removal tool is perfect for erasing power lines and telephone posts. You don’t even have to be precise. Mark a section of the line, and the app will remove the entire line.
Learn how to remove objects from your iPhone photos in our TouchRetouch tutorial.
6. Best Creative Editing App: Enlight
Photo editor app with creative and artistic tools
- Selective control over exposure, color, and details
- Filters, two-tone gradients, light leaks, and vignettes
- Black & white, paint, and sketch effects
- Double-exposure, tilt-shift, and photo montages
- Drawing tools, text, borders, and frames
- Crop, rotate, straighten, and perspective correction
- Clone tool for removing unwanted objects
- Masking tool for seamless blending of effects
- Price: $3.99
Enlight is an all-in-one photo editing app with a great range of creative and artistic tools.
Whether you want to perform a simple edit or create an artistic masterpiece, you can do it all with Enlight.
Artistic tools let you turn a photo into a sketch or drawing. You can personalize your photos using brushes, design elements, text, borders, and frames. And you can arrange your photos into a collage.
The mixer tool lets you create double-exposure images. And you can use the tilt-shift tool to create fake-miniature photos.
The mask tool is one of the most useful features in Enlight. It lets you apply any effect to only certain parts of your image. It’s great for blending different effects into your photos. Or use it to create a black and white image with a flash of color.
In addition to the creative tools, you’ll find the usual basic editing tools, as well as preset filters.
But it also has curves and split tone options for advanced fine-tuning. And the target tool lets you make selective adjustments to your photos.
If you’re looking for an all-round photo editing app with a focus on creativity, Enlight is for you!
Download Enlight for $3.99 from the App Store.
Learn how to use Enlight with our step-by-step video demonstrations.
7. Best Texture App: Mextures
Add textures, grain, and light leaks for unique creative edits
- Grit, grain, grunge, and vintage film textures
- Analog light leaks and beautiful gradients
- Layer several effects for unique blends
- Fine-tune images with editing tools and filters
- Use preset formulas to apply quick edits
- Create your own formulas and save them for later use
- Price: $2.99 (with in-app purchases for additional effects)
Mextures is an incredible app for adding beautiful textures to your iPhone photos. It also includes other effects such as film grain, light leaks, and gradients.
You can stack an unlimited number of effects to create a completely unique edit. Each layer is adjustable, so you can alter the opacity and blending mode to achieve the look you want.
If you’re new to Mextures, you can start by using the wide range of preset “formulas.” You can save and share your own formulas, and even import formulas from other Mextures users.
Mextures also has a set of standard editing tools and filters. You can use these to fine-tune the exposure and color of the final image.
If you want to create beautifully unique edits, Mextures is the app for you.
Mextures is $2.99 on the App Store. Extra presets are available as in-app purchases.
Learn how to enhance your photos with textures in our step-by-step Mextures tutorial.
8. Best Photo Sharing App: Instagram
Photo sharing app with editing tools and filters
- Largest photo sharing platform with over 800 million users
- Share your photos and build an Instagram following
- Discover inspiring images from photographers all over the world
- Edit your photos right before sharing them
- Good selection of color and black & white filters
- Editing tools for exposure, color, sharpness, and more
- Direct messaging facility for private conversations
Instagram is the best photo app for iPhone photographers who want to share their pictures. It’s the ultimate blend of photography and community.
Within seconds you can share your images with millions of people. And by posting high-quality photos, you’ll soon build a following of people who like your work.
Instagram is perfect for discovering inspiring photos from a huge range of genres. And it’s easy to connect with like-minded people through comments or private messages.
Hashtags let you search for certain types of photo, such as landscapes or silhouettes. You can even find photos taken in a particular location.
The Instagram app also has a good selection of editing tools. So you can enhance your photos right before you share them.
There’s a range of filters for changing the look and feel of your image. And editing tools let you improve exposure, color, and sharpness.
You can also crop, rotate, straighten, and correct perspective. And you can add a vignette or tilt-shift effect.
9. Best Camera App With Manual Controls: Camera+ 2
Camera app with manual controls and a range of shooting modes
- Camera app with shutter speed, ISO, white balance, and manual focus controls
- Slow Shutter mode for shooting long exposure photos
- Portrait mode for blurring the background
- Macro mode for capturing close-up photos
- Option to shoot in RAW format
- Built-in photo editor
- Price: $2.99
Camera+ 2 is a powerful camera app with an integrated photo editing suite. It offers manual iPhone camera controls, including shutter speed, ISO, white balance, and focus.
It also has a range of shooting modes for different situations. Macro mode is perfect for capturing close-up macro photos of insects and flowers.
Slow Shutter mode helps you take stunning long exposure photos.
Portrait mode blurs the background of your photos, allowing you to shoot professional portrait photos with your iPhone. This is similar to the Portrait mode in the built-in iPhone Camera app.
(Note that you can only use Portrait mode in Camera+ 2 on iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max).
Another great feature of Camera+ 2 is the ability to separate the focus and exposure points. This makes it easy to focus on one part of the image, but expose for a different part.
The handy editing suite offers tools to improve exposure, color, and clarity. Or you can use the one-tap filters to quickly change the look and feel of your photo. The layers feature lets you stack several different filters for a unique look.
Camera+ 2 is available for $2.99 on the App Store.
Learn how to shoot and edit stunning iPhone photos in our Camera+ app tutorial.
10. Best Professional Camera App: ProCamera
Powerful camera app with DSLR-like controls
- Full-featured camera app with a clean and simple user interface
- Easy to adjust shutter speed and ISO
- Advanced white balance setting
- On-screen histogram to help with exposure
- HDR and LowLight modes for tricky light conditions
- Option to shoot in RAW, TIFF, and HEIF formats
- Price: $5.99 (with in-app purchases for HDR & Low Light modes)
ProCamera gives you incredible control over your camera settings. If you’re looking for a DSLR-like experience with your iPhone camera, ProCamera is the app for you.
The clean and simple interface makes it easy to adjust settings like ISO and shutter speed. And the on-screen histogram helps you get the perfect exposure in your shots.
The advanced white balance setting lets you fine-tune the color tint and temperature.
ProCamera has some handy settings for shooting in awkward light conditions. The anti-shake setting ensures you never get a blurry shot.
The LowLight modes help you take better photos in dark conditions. And HDR mode is perfect for creating better exposures in high-contrast scenes.
HDR and LowLight+ modes are only available as extra in-app purchases. But you can try them out before you buy to see if you like them.
As well as JPEG capture mode, you can also shoot in RAW, TIFF, and HEIF formats.
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