Editing your iPhone photos can dramatically improve their visual impact, turning an ordinary photo into an amazing one! But with so many image editing apps available, how do you know which ones to choose? If you’re new to editing photos with your iPhone, it can be difficult to make sense of all the options. In this article you’ll discover the 10 best photo editing apps that the top iPhone photographers recommend.
If you ask any group of iPhone photographers for a list of their best photo editing apps, it’s likely that most of them would include Snapseed in their list.
Snapseed is one of the most popular photo editing apps for the iPhone, and for good reason. It’s incredibly easy to use, but at the same time it offers a powerful collection of tools that can take your photos from “okay” to “wow!”
Snapseed excels in all basic photo processing techniques, including exposure and color adjustments, sharpening, cropping and straightening.
It also offers advanced editing and brush tools to make selective adjustments, as well as a healing tool for removing small unwanted objects from your photos.
In addition to these, there’s a great selection of creative filters that you can use to convert your photos to black and white, apply textures, add blur effects, and otherwise enhance the mood of your images.
If you’re new to iPhone photography, this really should be one of the first apps you download and learn.
Learn how to use Snapseed with our in-depth editing tutorials:
How To Use Snapseed’s Essential iPhone Photo Editing Tools
How To Use Snapseed’s Advanced Photo Editing Tools
How To Use Snapseed Filters To Create Wonderful Mood In Your iPhone Photos
Another very popular editing app is VSCO. While this app also functions as a camera app, it’s the rich collection of filters and editing tools that attracts iPhone photographers to this app.
VSCO (Visual Supply Company) have built their reputation in the photo world by creating unique film emulation presets that can be used with the desktop software Adobe Lightroom. Luckily for mobile photographers, they’ve packed much of that editing power into this fantastic app.
Unlike other apps where the filters can be a little harsh, VSCO’s filters are generally designed to emulate classic and modern analog films.
Many of the filters feature a soft, slightly faded look that’s quickly become very popular amongst mobile photographers.
The strength of every filter can be adjusted to suit your taste, and the app also features a number of highly-effective editing and adjustment tools.
VSCO is FREE on the App Store and comes with a basic collection of filters to get you started. You can then download additional bundles of filters from within the app if you wish. Some can be downloaded for free but others have to be purchased for a small fee.
Learn how to use this app with our in-depth tutorial on VSCO shooting and editing.
3. Filterstorm Neue
Filterstorm Neue offers many of the features and editing control of more powerful desktop applications like Lightroom and Photoshop, but in a mobile-friendly format.
If you’re interested in learning more advanced editing techniques and taking your photography to another level, it’s worth investing some time in learning how to use this app.
In addition to all of the typical photo editing tools, Filterstorm Neue includes one of the best mobile implementations of a powerful Curves control for fine-tuning brightness and contrast.
It takes a bit of time to learn how to use a Curves tool effectively, but once you do, you may never want to use adjustment sliders again!
One additional feature that really sets Filterstorm Neue apart from the rest is that you can selectively apply adjustments through a number of tools, including a powerful masking brush as well as radial and linear gradient filters.
If you’re looking to move beyond basic photo editing with your iPhone, Filterstorm Neue is the next logical step.
Enlight has an extensive collection of basic and advanced editing tools, as well as a selection of more whimsical and artistic effects for getting really creative with your images.
With so many features, this app can take a bit of time to fully understand, but each tool is very intuitive in how it works. Additionally, Enlight has one of the best built-in Help features available in any app.
The first time you access any tool, a quick visual animation or guide appears on the screen to show you exactly how to use that tool. These “tool tips” can be accessed at any time thereafter by simply swiping down from the top of the screen.
Learn how to use Enlight with our in-depth tutorials:
How To Use Enlight App For Powerful iPhone Photo Editing
How To Create Unique iPhone Digital Art With Enlight App
Sooner or later you’ll want to experiment with applying textures and other creative effects to your iPhone photos. While there are many worthy apps for doing this, the one that’s often mentioned first by many top mobile artists is Mextures.
Not only does this app offer a wide range of textures, grains and light leaks, but each of them is fully adjustable and you can combine as many as you want through an easy-to-use layering approach.
Mextures does take a bit of time to learn how to take full advantage of its features, but you can get started in no time by using a wide range of preset “formulas.”
The creative options available in mextures really are endless, and it’s the perfect app for creating your own unique editing style.
Check out our step-by-step tutorial to learn how to use Mextures to add wonderful textures to your iPhone photos.
Many apps now offer the ability to remove unwanted elements from a photo, but TouchRetouch is dedicated solely to this purpose and it’s still one of the easiest and most effective to use.
Using your finger, you can quickly and easily highlight the objects (or parts of objects) that you want to remove (shown in red). When you tap “Start” the app removes the unwanted objects and replaces them with pixels from the surrounding area.
Removing more complicated elements may take a few tries to get it perfect, but TouchRetouch makes it easy to start over if you’re not happy with the results.
Learn how to remove unwanted objects from your iPhone photos with our in-depth tutorial on TouchRetouch.
One drawback of having a fixed wide-angle lens on the iPhone is that it often results in somewhat “distorted” images where the image looks bent or stretched.
This is a common issue with all manner of wide angle lenses and it’s most noticeable with architectural photos and other images that feature strong lines where the “curving” effect is most pronounced.
With SKRWT, you can quickly and easily correct these distortions. This helps ensure that your final image more closely resembles how the scene looked to your naked eye. You could of course take a “normal” image and distort it in SKRWT for dramatic effect.
There are other apps that offer this type of functionality, including Snapseed and Enlight, but SKRWT is solely focused on this type of editing and is still one of the better options.
Learn how to correct perspective in your iPhone photos with our in-depth tutorial on SKRWT.
AfterFocus is another specialty app in that it really only does one key thing, but it does it very well. This app allows you to imitate the shallow depth of field effect that can typically only be achieved with a DSLR.
Shallow depth of field is when only your main subject is in focus and the background appears blurred. AfterFocus provides a very user-friendly way of achieving this effect.
You simply mark your image as to where the foreground and background are. You can even add a natural-looking bokeh effect where the background highlights are rendered as soft circles/hexagons.
This app can be especially useful for drawing the viewer’s attention to your main subject if the background is a bit busy and distracting.
9. Lens Distortions
There are many apps on the market these days that allow you to add lighting effects and textures to your iPhone photos, but Lens Distortions is one of the best.
What really sets Lens Distortions apart from other similar apps is that all of the filters are created from actual photos of those same elements.
All of the effects are derived from optically-captured elements, including actual sunlight (Light Hits collection), haze (Fog collection), fragments of glass (Legacy collection), as well as a unique “Shimmer” collection.
Adding these images to your photos is remarkably easy and intuitive, and it’s great fun playing around in this app to see what sort of new creations you can come up with.
Lens Distortions is available for FREE from the App Store, but it only comes with a basic collection of effects. Additional effects are available as in-app purchases, and they’re definitely worth it.
If you want to get more creative and start compositing multiple images into a single photo, one of the best options is Superimpose.
If you’re not already familiar with masking and layering images, this app does require a bit of experimentation to learn, but it really isn’t that hard and can be learned in less than 30 minutes.
You can use Superimpose for a wide range of compositing effects, from simply removing an unwanted background from your image to creating truly unique compositions. With this app, you’re only limited by your imagination!
Learn how to use this app in our step-by-step Superimpose tutorial.
The 100 Best iPhone Photography Apps
If you’d like to learn about more iPhone photography apps, we’ve created a free report in which we review the 100 best iPhone photography apps.
Whether you’re brand new to iPhone photography or simply looking for a new app to add to your “camera bag,” hopefully this list has given you some inspiration for new apps to try out.
The key to successful post-processing is to just use a handful of the best photo editing apps, and learn to use them to their full potential. That way you can quickly and easily enhance your iPhone photos using the best tools available for the job. Happy editing!