There are a lot of photo editing apps out there. But many of them appeal to people who just want to give their pictures a simple vintage look or an over saturated look to post on social media. They aren’t professional grade photo editing apps. If you are a professional photographer or want to be one, but aren’t there yet, you need to upgrade your photo editing apps. Find out which apps offer pro-grade color correction and go beyond simple filters.
By far, the best app for professional color correction, editing, and creative filters is Adobe’s Lightroom. It doesn’t have every feature that the full desktop program has, but it has the most comprehensive list of features. It has all the usual editing features for color correction; white balance, saturation, contrast, brightness, temperature, sharpness, exposure, and tint. But also has a lot of features that you don’t see on any other program; clarity, vibrance, auto tone, auto white balance. It also has settings that allow you to edit the white, blacks, highlights, shadows, and mids independently. It also comes with preset filters like many of these simpler programs and allows you to save custom looks after you’ve found a look that you like.
One of the best features is it allows you to apply settings from one picture to multiple pictures. If you have 20 pictures from a wedding, and they all need color correction before posting, you can edit one of them, then apply all the edits to the rest of the pictures pretty easily. It also allows you to crop pictures to various sizes and aspect ratios. A few features it doesn’t have are the ability to add frames or edges to your picture and you can’t create collages. But you wouldn’t expect that from a professional photo editing program. I wish it included a few more of the desktop features, but you can’t expect an app to do everything that a full desktop program can do.
The phone app does allow you to edit RAW files, but it’s a little slow due to file size. But this is huge! Very few programs, if any, allow you to edit RAW. Lightroom does not downgrade your picture quality. It preserves your image quality. Most of the other apps significantly downgrade picture quality.
The only drawback is that you will need an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription to be able to use the app. Most professional photographers probably already have a subscription. There is a photgrapher’s Creative Cloud subscription that is only $9.99/month and gives you full access to Photoshop and Lightroom. If you are already a member, then Lightroom for your phone makes the most sense.
Adobe Photoshop Express
This is exactly like Lightroom, but also includes a few extra features. You can add frames, edges, red eye removal, pet eye removal, and other blemish removal features. It also gives you access to the camera so you can take pictures then edit them. The interface is different than Lightroom’s, but you can get both if you already have an Adobe Cloud subscription. It also allows editing of RAW files. The advantage of the Adobe programs is that you will not destroy the quality of your pictures or lose resolution. They both preserve the image quality. A lot of the other apps significantly degrade your final rendered pictures.
This is a great free app that allows you to do all of the basic color correction features and allows you to create collages. The editing features include; white balance, saturation, contrast, brightness, temperature, sharpness, exposure, and tint. It even includes RGB curves and other more advanced color correction settings. It also has a lot of creative filters and effects with lights leaks and extra color that can be added to a picture. It also allows you to add stickers and graphics to your pictures, like Happy Birthday, or balloons. It also allows you to type your own memes, blur out or pixelate a face, and many other very creative effects. And it’s free! If you wanted one single program that could do almost everything pretty nicely, then this is the one! There are some filters and effects that you can buy as add-ons, but it’s not necessary. It’s also available for iPhones.
This comes built in to most Samsung advanced phones and is just as powerful as Fotor above. It adds the feature that you can draw onto your pictures with various pens and brushes. If you have a Samsung Note, you can use the S Pen, otherwise, you draw with your hand. Basically, it does what Fotor does but allows drawing by hand or pen. If you don’t have a Samsung device there are other ways to download it and install it.
This is a free Google app that allows all the basic color correction as well as the ability to apply certain corrections and filters to only a limited part of your image. You can change the contrast around a person’s face only if you’d like. Which is a neat feature. It includes lots of built in filters, effects, and frames. It doesn’t allow you to draw on the pictures or add stickers. The interface is different than all of the other apps and takes some getting used to, but it works really well. You can’t create collages or draw on the pictures, but does almost everything else.
This app is similar to Snapseed in many ways. It doesn’t allow you to apply certain effects to certain areas. It has a lot of built in filters, but you can adjust tint, temperature, brightness, contrast, etc individually. No frames, no stickers, no drawing on pictures. A very basic app that does what it’s supposed to do pretty well.
Apps that you should not use:
This is an app that appears to be a competitor to Instagram. It has a lot of built in color correction features like many of the other apps, but also has a social sharing function built over top of the app that really gets in the way. Some people use it without the built in social sharing, but it gets very cumbersome.
Color Correcting your images
First set your white balance. Then adjust your exposure so that the subjects that you photographed are well exposed and not too dark or too bright. Then add some saturation (vibrance) to make the colors pop and look nicer.
Hope you enjoyed this review and tutorial! Snap away and edit!