Updated April 11, 2019
Great lighting and an attractive focal point help make good photos. But all those Instagram and Pinterest photos you ogle over make you wonder how that food blogger’s layered cake or that Etsy seller’s pair of earrings can look so perfect in a simple picture. Truth is, it didn’t just happen with one click of their iPhone camera. I can guarantee they used a photo editing tool.
People download the best photo editing apps for Android or IOS for free or for about $10 to make basic photo editing, color correction, add frames, filters or text.
And there’s nothing wrong with that. When your business or blog depends on great looking photos, you can and should use all the help you can get to make them look their best.
While most mobile phones these days take awesome pictures, the help of a photo editing tool can take your pictures to the next level. Here are 10 of the best photo editing tools and apps, in no specific order, that every blogger, Etsy shop owner and Regular Joe’s pictures can benefit from:
Platform: Mac, Windows and Linux
Don’t let the name or the fact that it’s a free tool fool you, GIMP is up for any editing task. This full-featured, open-source photo editing software, that stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program, offers a sophisticated toolset—color correction, painting tools, enhancement, cloning, etc.—customization options and third-party plugins to really give your photos life. It may not have all the hype or bells and whistles that Adobe Photoshop does, but it’s deemed by many as the best free desktop photo editing competitor that Photoshop has.
Platform: Windows and Mac
Lightroom’s tools help you easily get the best exposure, tonality and color out of your photos, most notably with RAW images, while also making it easy to organize and share those photos in multiple formats. It removes distractions, like that door in the background you didn’t mean to capture, and makes your colors more vibrant. Best of all, this tool goes wherever you go. You can access it from your computer, the web or your mobile devices, and set it up on all your devices. There’s also a free app version on iOS or Android devices that gives you a good set of tweaking tools to enhance your images before socially sharing them.
Platform: iOS, Android and Windows
If you’re looking for a photo editing mobile app that provides great image quality, ease of use and the ability to fix your photos fast, then Adobe Photoshop Express is what you want. You can adjust contrast, color and brightness, among a few other aspects, with easy slider controls. There’s also automatic fixes and filters, artistic ways to enhance photos, like adding a border or frame, and you can even snap pictures from inside the app. Adobe Photoshop Express supports RAW file formats, as well as JPEG and PNG files, and it integrates with Adobe’s Creative Cloud.
Platform: iOS and Android
Snapseed’s tagline is “Perfect photos in a snap.” And that’s exactly what it gives you. It has 25 editing tools, from cropping to perspective to white balance, vignette and more, that give you the editing precision and control you need right in the palm of your hands. It supports Raw DNG files, frames and even lets you add focus to people’s (or animal’s) eyes as well as face-specific lighting. Google acquired Snapseed in 2012, so if you like and trust Google, then it’s safe to say you’ll like and trust this photo editing app.
Platform: iOS, Android and Windows
Looking to step up your photo editing game? PicsArt is here to help. This all-in-one mobile photo editor, collage maker and drawing tool is loved by many amateur photographers (and selfie takers) for its array of features. Add text, add speech bubbles and even add fun clipart to your photos. You can fulfill your basic editing needs with perspective, tilt shift, stretch and cropping tools. It even has its own built-in social network for you to share your gorgeous photos.
Camera+ is a camera and a photo editing tool, the latter being what it’s best at. Its exposure and focus tools are most used, and it even has different scene modes, like Food and Beach - perfect if you’re a food blogger and/or sell swimwear. And what’s great about its camera ability is the stabilizer shooting mode, which lets you take really sharp photos and clearly zoom in up to 6x. Whether you’re already a pro or someone just starting out taking photos, Camera+ will become your best friend.
Platform: Mac, PC, iOS and Android
Pixlr has a family of editing tools you can use: Pixlr Editor, Pixlr Express, PIxlr Mobile and Pixlr Desktop. For more serious and efficient editing, right from your browser, opt for Pixlr Editor. It lets you work in layers, transform objects, replace colors and more. Pixlr Express is for your quick-fix jobs and lets you get creative on the go. But really, whether you use one or all, Pixlr is wherever you are, whenever you need to create a beautiful piece of art.
Platform: iOS and Android
VSCO is another mobile photo editing app offering a variety of tools, filters and presets. It’s often compared to Instagram. And while it is a photo editing and sharing community, VSCO’s focus is more on being an app for photographers to have a portfolio rather than the social aspects of seeing how many likes or comments you can get. But, its user-friendly editing tools are what help this tool make our list. The portfolio and photo sharing platform aspects are just a bonus.
Price: $49.99 (one-time fee)
Last but certainly not least is Affinity Photo. If you’re an Apple lover and looking for a high-quality Photoshop alternative, you’ve met your editing match. Its professional photo editing software has a conscientious focus on workflow and provides advanced editing, enhancing and retouching tools. Its intuitive interface, power and performance are what helped it earn Apple’s Best Mac App of 2015. And if you’re on Windows, you can sign up now to receive your download link for the free Affinity Photos Windows beta.