An element of smartphone tech that’s always being improved is your camera – it’s the norm now for flagships to have two or more lenses that can easily compete with many of the DSLR cameras on the market. However, pairing a great smartphone camera with some amazing editing software can make a huge difference, and these photo and video editing apps will ensure your shots and movies always look professionally finished.
A favourite of many Apple users, Darkroom takes the top spot for photo editing with the iPhone. It caters to a whole bunch of users – for example, amateur photographers looking for the perfect social media snap will appreciate how easy it is to use, its wide range of filters and the app's regular updates.
However, even serious photographers favour the app thanks to its sophisticated manual adjustment tools, preservation of metadata and great export quality, as well as its support for RAW and HEIF files. It skips the need to manually upload your photos to the app too, instead you can edit directly from your camera roll, and there's even a streamlined saving process too. Combined, all of this leaves less room for a drop in quality post which is common in other editing apps.
You can download Darkroom for free on the App Store.
The Apollo editing app essentially changes the way your photos are lit by intelligently reading the information saved in the image. It’ll only work with iPhones that have more than one lens, as it needs depth information to make a 3D render of the image, which will enable you to place artificial lighting wherever you’d like.
As an app, it’s incredibly clever – and it’s certainly interesting to work on a photo which has been translated into a 3D space directly on your iPhone. You can adjust the intensity, colour and distance of the lighting you add, and you can place up to 20 new light sources in a single shot.
It’s simple enough to add and remove light sources, but it can be tricky to get to grips with this the first-time around. Luckily, you’re provided with some sample images when you first start the app that you can play around with, and a handy ‘help’ section with some tips and tricks to make the most of the editing software.
You can download Apollo from Apple's App Store, and it’ll cost just £2.99.
TouchRetouch is popular amongst both Apple and Android users, thanks to its availability on both the Google Play and the App Store. It landed on smartphones back in 2010 and has been impressing photo fanatics ever since.
It’s one of the only apps on the market that provides a Photoshop-calibre object removal tool on a smartphone. You can edit your photos with a brush or lasso tool, and it’ll cleverly align the editing area just above your finger, so you can see precisely where you’re snipping from.
Then, it’ll remove the area you’ve selected, and use its AI feature to create a background that fits with the rest of the image – it might not be a perfect match first time, but then you can also manipulate and edit the area within the app until it’s perfect. When you’re done, you can share it directly from the app to multiple socials or through your preferred email app – alternatively, you can add it to your clipboard to paste in later.
You can find TouchRetouch on the App Store or the Google Play Store.
Snapseed is a free, fully immersive app from Google, available on both iOS and Android devices. It’s a gesture-based app, packed full of editing tools and filters that both amateur and professional photographers alike will be familiar with.
Snapseed keeps you in control every step of the way, creating new Stacks – which are essentially layers – every time you alter your image, so you can go back to an earlier point in your edit and adjust whenever you’d like.
You can take new snaps directly in the app, or you can upload one from your gallery or camera roll. When you do, you can choose from a huge number of editing options, and use intricate gestures to control every aspect of them – such as pinching and tapping for crops, or horizontal swiping for filter intensity. You can do a lot with Snapseed, which also means there’s a lot to learn – but you can get stuck into in-app tutorials that are super simple to follow.
Download Snapseed for iOS or Android.
Launched by popular YouTube influencer Zoe Sugg, Filmm is a video editing app which is free to download, but you can also make in-app purchases if you'd like access to even more editing features and video filters.
When you first download the app, you’ll have 17 free filters and effects to choose from, but hundreds more textures, filters and light leaks are available if you sign up for a monthly subscription. You can expect a whole host of advanced adjustment tools, curving and story splitting from Filmm too, alongside handy features like crop detection, which ensures your videos are ready for a range of social media dimensions, and clip trim that’ll make you edits and adjustments accurate within each frame of your video.
You can download Filmm for free on both iOS and Android.
Filmic Pro is a serious app for serious film makers – you can control video format and quality, exposure, white balance and focus with much more in-depth precision than any built-in filming software can offer.
While Filmic Pro is perfect for intense and complicated film editing, the app is surprisingly easy to navigate and use. Manual controls use arc sliders which are super simple to adjust, and feedback from analytics is detailed but not overly complicated. Users will be able to play around with stabilisation features, lens adjustments, colour adjustments and so much more, so their film has the perfect look and feel.
Filmic Pro is primarily aimed at film makers, so it’s probably over kill if you’re just looking to jazz up your social media stories. Nevertheless, it’s a highly impressive app with a brilliant range of effective filters.
It’s available for download from both the App Store at £14.99, and from Google Play for £11.49.
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