How To Edit Your iPhone Photos With Photoshop Express

If you’re looking for a simple iPhone photo editing app that’s perfect for quick edits and social sharing, you should definitely check out the free Photoshop Express app from Adobe. From one-touch fixes to customizable slider controls, this app offers a great set of essential editing tools for creating high quality images. In this article you’ll discover how to use Photoshop Express to quickly and easily create stunning iPhone photo edits.

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Photoshop Express is free to download from the App Store, however, there are some additional features available as in-app purchases.

If you sign up for a free Adobe ID, you’ll actually get some of these features for free, including Noise Reduction to minimize grain in low light photos, a Defog option to reduce haze in your photos, and additional one-touch filters.

Now let’s explore the features of the app so that you can start using them to edit your own iPhone photos.

1. The Photoshop Express Icons

Like all apps, Photoshop Express has a unique set of icons to identify each editing function. You can learn about these in the pop-up menu in the app, but here are the basics for quick reference:

  • Overlapping circles icon: Looks (Filters)
  • Overlapping 90 degree angles icon: Crop, Straighten, Rotate, Flip
  • Three horizontal lines (sliders): Correction Tools
  • Eye icon: Red Eye Fix
  • Rectangle icon: Borders
  • Band-Aid icon: Blemish Removal

2. Shoot Or Edit An Image

When you first open Photoshop Express, you have the option to use the app’s camera to take a photo, or select a photo from your device’s photo library, Adobe Creative Cloud, Facebook or Dropbox account for editing.

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The camera is very similar to the iPhone’s native camera. You can easily zoom in and access flash options. You also have the option of using either the forward-facing or backward-facing camera. 

If you’ve used the camera to take a photo, tap the X button which will take you to the Select Image screen.

To open a photo for editing, select the On My iPhone option (unless you want to open from one of the other locations listed), then tap Camera Roll to find your photos.

Select the photo you want to edit, and it will appear in the app’s main editing window with the editing icons below. 

3. Crop & Straighten

The first step in photo editing is to crop and straighten your image. Tap the Crop icon (overlapping right angles) at the bottom of the screen to access the options.

In this photo the uneven horizon distracts the eye away from the focal points, which are the sunburst in the trees and the raised leaf in the foreground.

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To crop (remove a portion of the image), use your fingers to pull or push the lines at the sides, top or bottom of the screen. Stop when you see exactly the image you want to capture.

To straighten the photo, place your finger drag the Straighten slider left or right until the horizon is perfectly level.

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4. Choose A Filter

Filters in Photoshop Express are called Looks. There are over 20 basic Looks, and you can access another 20 by signing up for an Adobe ID.

Tap the Looks icon (overlapping circles) at the bottom left of the screen to see the range of filters available.

All of the filters have a sliding toggle that you can use to make the effect more or less intense. It can be useful to play around with different filters to see which works best with your image.

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Above you can see how the mood of the image really changes with a filter called Misty.

Below, the Summer filter gives the image a softer, warmer feel.

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5. Correct Your Image

Most photos could use a little editing to bring out their best features. Correcting your image may involve adjusting contrast, sharpening, light or color.

Photoshop Express includes all of the editing tools you’re most likely to need. To access any of the tools, tap on the Correction Tools icon (three horizontal lines).

Select the tool you want to use, e.g. Clarity, Sharpen, Reduce Noise, etc. then use the slider beneath the photo to fine-tune the intensity of the effect.

From left to right, the correction tools are:

Clarity: Drag the slider left and right to see your image become softer or more structured. If you like a softer look, move the slider further to the left. If you prefer a very clearly structured image, move the slider to the right.

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Sharpen: Enhances the detail in individual objects. While it’s great for many purposes (such as showing detail in fabrics or leaves), it’s easy to overdo sharpness so keep the intensity low to avoid compromising image quality.

Reduce Noise: (only available with an Adobe ID) If your photo appears grainy, use this tool to smooth it out. The noise reduction filter drastically reduces noise in under-exposed images. It can also brighten images and make exposure more consistent. 

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Defog: (only available with an Adobe ID) Reduces fog and haze in your photos.

Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows: These tools allow you to adjust the exposure/light levels in your photo which can dramatically improve the end result.

Temperature, Tint, Vibrance: All of these features allow you to quickly adjust the color in your photo. Warm up or cool down the colors, add a color tint to the entire photo, and make the colors more vibrant or muted.

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6. Remove Blemishes 

When you look closely at your photo, you may notice unwanted spots or objects. To remove these, tap the Band-Aid icon at the bottom of the screen.

Use two fingers to zoom in on the area you want to fix. Tap on the spot with your finger, and the blemish will instantly blend with the surrounding color and texture.

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7. Add A Frame

The rectangle icon near the bottom right allows you to add a frame or border to your photo. You have three sets of options: Basic, Edges and Frames. While frames and borders aren’t essential, they can be a lot of fun! 

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8. Save And Share Your Photo

Once your photo is edited, you’ll need to save it to your iPhone’s photo library. Tap the square with upwards arrow at the top right of the screen, then tap Save to Camera Roll.

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You can also use this option to share your photo with friends via email or social media. Photoshop Express allows you share directly to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, Flickr or send to your Creative Cloud library.

If you want to edit your photo further with another editing app, tap the Open With option and select the app you want to use.

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As you can see, editing your iPhone photos with Photoshop Express is a quick and easy process. It’s simple to crop and straighten, apply filters, make corrections, remove blemishes, and add borders to your photos.

If you’re looking for a free app with a wide selection of tools for simple editing, Photoshop Express is definitely a good choice!

  • Piyush Bhartia

    I have just joined iPhone Photography school & came across your article Photoshop Express Appl for editing. I already have 645 Pro & VSCO installed on my iPhone 6s with IOS9.3. How are these Appl compared to Photoshop Express.

    • Lisa Jo Rudy

      The best way to answer that question is to suggest that you go ahead and upload Photoshop Express (for free) and take a look. Photoshop Express is, as the article says, a much simpler program — so it’s particularly useful for quick edits, but doesn’t offer the range of filters or other tools available with the apps you’ve mentioned.

  • Henrik Herskind

    Thank you! I’ve just discovered how well the noise reduction tool of Photoshop Express works. It should be noted that in the present version the tool is found under the Correction Tools icon (three horizontal lines) and rightmost under Details. Here you find 1) Sharpen, 2) Reduce luminanse noise, 3) Reduce color noise. Most often you will probably be needing to reduce luminanse noise.
    I found that Photoshop Express did a much better job than the noise reduction function of Filterstorm Neue and also the dedicated app, Noisemaster.