30+ Excellent Apps for Android Photographers

Android’s built-in camera application is basic, but can get the job done when you need to quickly snap a moment. It doesn’t offer much beyond the simple snap-and-save routine, leaving the field wide open for other apps to enter the arena with boatloads of features, adding shooting modes, features and post-processing effects to give your shots that extra edge. Here’s a look at some of the best free Android apps to help you take better photos.

We will look at the four most common imaging tasks on the phone – capturing photos, viewing them, editing them and then sharing them with the world. Although a number of the apps do all of these on their own, more often than not they are better for one purpose than the others. All these apps are free or offer a free, ad-supported version. Some do have Pro versions that either take away the ads or offer more in terms of features.

Capture

Let’s start by the most basic function of a camera phone (apart from the regular phone features, of course): taking pictures. Like I mentioned before, the basic camera app lets you take pictures, but these let you do so much more.

Camera360

Camera360 URLCamera360 tries to be the Swiss Army knife of photography apps on the Android, and does a pretty good job of it. Six different shooting modes and more than 30 effects mean it will be a while before you run out of different ways to shoot a picture. Try the tilt-shift mode for miniature mode-like images, or maybe the scenery mode to embed your photo as part of another scene.

Android version: 1.5 and up

Camera360

Retro Camera

RetroCamera URLIf old school images are your thing, it’s hard to beat the utility of retro camera. The app comes with 5 vintage cameras and a bunch of vignetting and surface effects to make your pics look like authentic antiques. The process is simple – choose a camera, decide whether you want a color or a black & white photo and press the shutter on the screen. The darkroom-style gallery for viewing photos is a nice touch.

Android version: 1.5 and up

Retro Camera

FxCamera

FxCamera-urlFxCamera does one thing: allow you to take photos from your mobile camera and apply a few interesting effects to them. The list is not long, although the 5 effects that are included work as one would expect them to. For a free app, it is definitely worth a try.

Android version: 1.5 and up

FxCamera

Camera3D

Camera3D urlTake 3D pictures from your normal phone camera. Before you get excited, note that the app simply lets you take pictures of a subject from different angles and then lets you preview them as a seamless 3D image. When taking pictures, a ghost image of the previous shot shows to help align the next one appropriately. You can then view the images from inside the app using the phone’s accelerometer.

Android version: 1.6 and up

Camera3D

Action Snap

Action Snap urlEver wanted the ability to quickly capture multiple frames when shooting a fast action sequence, in hopes that the timing will be right on at least one? Action Snap will let you do just that – capture four quick shots and compose them in one image. You can choose the interval between shots, decide to align the images in four columns or quadrants and select a photo effect.

Android version: 2.1 and up

Action Snap

PRO Paint Camera

PRO Paint Camera URLPRO Paint Camera supercharges the stock Android camera with a pack of goodies: ten filters, two white balance settings, and the ability to edit photos. As well as the regular brightness- and contrast-related settings, the app also lets you choose from a bunch of clipart images to add to your photos along with text annotations in various fonts. Perfect for making LOLCat pictures on the go.

Android version: 1.5 and up

Pro Paint Camera

Mobile Hidden Camera

Mobile Hidden Camera URLIf you ever need to take photographs without letting others know, but were worried the image preview on your screen or the shutter sound would give you away, Mobile Hidden Camera is what you need. The app installs itself with a notepad icon, and when you launch it shows nothing but a blank screen. No preview, no shutter noise, no flash. The app stealthily takes your photo (or video) and saves it for later.

Android version: 1.1 and up

Mobile Hidden Camera

Photaf 3D Panorama Free

Photaf URLCertain situations lend themselves to beautifully to panoramic images – like landscapes, or our messy desks. The problem with making such images though, is the process of taking multiple images and stitching them together. Photaf 3D Panorama doesn’t just take the pictures and automatically stitch them together, it also provides a 3D panorama viewer in which to preview your images in a 360 degree view. It even has an auto-shoot mode that takes care of shooting the right portions for each frame.

Android version: 2.1 and up

Photaf 3D Panorama Free

Camera Fun Free

Camera Fun Free urlCamera Fun Free takes a slightly different approach to applying effects to photos – it lets you preview the effect BEFORE the photo is captured. You can select one of 6 lens filters and see how the picture will appear right in the image preview on your screen. Once you are happy with the result, simply click the shutter to capture the image as you see it.

Android version: 1.6 and up

Camera Fun Free

Face Blender

You can call Face Blender a one-trick-pony, and not even a very consistent one at that. But when it does work, the results can be pretty funny. The idea is to take photos of two people and the app will then blend them to combine features and create a hybrid face. It needs the two images to be pretty close in terms of alignment for the trick to work, though, so patience is key. If you don’t care for technical accuracy on the other hand, its good for a few good laughs with friends.

Android version: 2.1 and up

Face Blender

View

So you’ve captured a ton of images and now want to browse them, or maybe show them around. Android’s built-in picture gallery should do the trick for viewing images on your device or on your Picasa Web account, but what if you need more than that?

QuickPic

QuickPic URLThe stock Android Gallery app is nice and functional, but not exactly the fastest one around. It sacrifices speed for that animated scrolling jazz. If a super simple and fast image viewer is what you need, QuickPic fits the bill. It makes viewing images on the phone quick and functional. You get all the usual viewing and managing options, including a nice multi-select mode for batch operations. Nothing more, nothing less.

Android version: 2.0 and up

QuickPic

JustPictures

JustPictures URLJustPictures goes beyond the stock gallery app by supporting a slew of photo sharing sites including (but not limited to) Flickr, Smugmug, Facebook and even DeviantArt, in addition to images on the phone and Picasa Web. Once you connect your accounts to these sites within the app, you get one-click access to all images on the sites. You can also browse the images, set them as wallpaper, and more.

Android version: 1.5 and up

JustPictures

Picasa Tool Pro

Picasa Tool Pro URLIf you need more control over your Picasa Web photo albums than the stock gallery app offers, you can try Picasa Tool Pro. The app provides complete control over your online albums and supports multiple accounts. Other features include a batch uploader, customized queries and the ability to set a photo from the online album as a contact or wallpaper image.

Android version: 1.5 and up

Picasa Tool Pro

Flickr Explorer

Flickr Explorer URLFlickr Explorer is a dedicated Flickr photo explorer app, which provides complete access to photos on the popular online photo sharing site. You can browse recent, popular and interesting images on Flickr, search by keywords or tags, search by location on a map, and download or set images as wallpaper.

Android version: 1.5 and up

Flickr Explorer

PiQture Free

PiQture URLPiQture Free is another image viewing application with support for local images and integration with online photo sharing services like Flickr, Picasa, Photobucket and Facebook. Apart from browsing and adding to your online photo albums on these sites, the app allows for keyword-based search and includes some basic image editing features for manipulating photos.

Android version: 2.0 and up

Piqture Pro

Image Loader

Image Loader URLHow often do you come across an image link in your Twitter stream which is from an image hosting site that’s not officially supported by the Twitter app? Viewing these images means opening the link in the browser and waiting for the entire page to load, often with more ads than real content. Image Loader eases that pain by opening images from a long list of image hosting services directly, without the need to open the web page. Click the image link and select ‘Image Loader’ to open up just the image.

Android version: 1.5 and up

Image Loader

Edit

Now that we have all the images we need, let’s make them better. Whether it’s for simple cropping or rotating, color variations, or to add annotations and drawings on top of them, image editing apps are a dime a dozen in the Android market. Here’s some of the more interesting ones.

Adobe Photoshop Express

Adobe Photoshop Express URLIn the desktop image editing world, Adobe Photoshop is the pretty much king of the hill. Sure, the mobile version of the behemoth doesn’t do everything its big brother does on the desktop, but it has enough features to help you fix a photo and quickly share it with others. Apart from the usual brightness- and contrast-related controls, the app has a handy ‘straighten’ option that will automatically rotate images so they don’t look tilted. You can also add some fun effects and upload them to your online Photoshop.com account.

Android version: 1.5 and up

Adobe Photoshop Express

Facebox

Facebox URLTry your hand at caricatures with this photo manipulation app. If you’re familiar with Photoshop, this one works very much like the ‘Liquify’ filter, allowing you to pinch and expand features on a face to warp it. Although it is primarily focused on faces, you can edit pretty much any image with it. The app also supports taking pictures from your phone’s camera, and throws a bit of face detection into the mix. Once you’ve twisted an image to your heart’s content, you can save it for later, or share it with friends for some laughs.

Android version: 1.6 and up

Facebox

PicSay

PicSay URLTurn your photos into more by distorting them and adding stickers with this app. Need to put words to a funny face in a photo? Want to use one as an invitation for a party? That’s the kind of thing this app specializes in. You can do some basic image editing, and then add titles, speech bubbles, graphics and some snazzy effects, all on your phone. Although the free version is pretty complete in terms of features, a paid version – PicSay Pro – is also available for $4.10, and comes with more features and stickers, most interestingly a faux HDR effect and a tilt-shift effect.

Android version: 1.5 and up

PicSay

PhotoFunia

PhotoFunia URLIf you have seen the PhotoFunia website, you know exactly what this app does. You get a bunch of scenarios with your photo superimposed in strategic locations within the image. So what you have in the end is your photo appearing on the cover of a magazine, or on a billboard in Times Square, or even a sketch on a painter’s canvas. This is somewhat similar to the scenario mode in Camera360, but with many more scenarios to choose from. You can either shoot a new photo with your camera or select an existing one. Note that this app requires you to be connected to the internet to even start.

Android version: 1.6 and up

PhotoFunia

PhotoWonder

Photo Wonder URLIf you need to make minor edits to your photos and create collages to share with friends, PhotoWonder is worth a look. It lets you add color effects to your photos, add stickers and frames, and create beautiful collage images with two or more photos. A couple of portrait enhancement effects (to improve eyes and skin) are also included, but the result may vary depending on the input.

Android version: 1.5 and up

Photo Wonder

Draw and Share

Draw and Share URLDraw and Share is more of a drawing app than an image editing one, with the ability to include photographs in your drawings thrown in. What you get are a set of brush sizes and styles, and some basic clipart images. It’s not for professional paintings, but can be quite handy for some quick fun with colors.

Android version: 1.5 and up

Draw and Share

Sketch Me

Sketch Me URLThe premise of this app is very simple – convert photographs to sketches. You can use existing images from your phone, or capture one through the camera and quickly see how the effect works. If you like what you see, you can share the image using Android’s stock sharing menu.

Android version: 1.5 and up

Sketch Me

AnDrawing

AnDrawing urlAnDrawing is another in the long line-up of apps that allow you to edit and enhance your images, add stickers and clipart, add text and share them with friends on Facebook. It tries to set itself apart with some interesting and unique drawing effects and the ability to geotag your artwork.

Android version: 1.5 and up

AnDrawing

Photoid

Photoid URLPhotoid lets you apply various effects to your photos with real time previews, lets you add frames, stickers and text, and create interesting collages with multiple images. The collection of clipart and collage templates is pretty big and they keep releasing seasonal add-on packages on a regular basis to keep the freshness and re-usability factor up.

Android version: 1.5 and up

Photoid

Pic Paint

Pic Paint URLPic Paint, like most others in this list, lets you edit your photos, add clipart and text and share them with your friends. What sets it apart is the varied library of assets it comes with, and the ability to have curved text.

Android version: 2.1 and up

PicPaint

Liquid Face Lite

Liquid Face Lite URLLiquid Face Lite is another app that could make you into a caricature artist overnight. You basically take a portrait photo and pinch and swipe your way to tweak it into something funny. Then, pick from a variety of props and add speech bubbles before sharing them with your friends.

Android version: 1.5 and up

Liquid Face Lite

Share

The last step with most images – especially in today’s ‘social’ era – is to share them with our friends and families. By default, you can upload images to your Picasa Web albums or send them as attachments in e-mails, but the process is not always seamless. Here’s a look at some apps that take the hassle out of sharing images, no matter what platform you prefer.

picplz

picplz URLpicplz bills itself as an easy way to make your photos look amazing and share them with others. And it does a pretty good job at both. The effects – although not as extensive as a number of other apps – work just right for the most part. Where picplz really shines, though, is in its ability to connect with a variety of services –- Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, Foursquare and Posterous at last count -– and seamlessly publish your images to them all.

Android version: 2.1 and up

picplz

Camera File

Camera File URLImaging you were writing to someone on your phone, and needed to attach a photograph of something right there. You need to get out of the mail app, capture the image, save it, go back to the mail and manually attach the file. Camera File tries to solve the problem by adding a link in the ‘Type of attachment’ dialog to directly take a snap and automatically attach it with the mail, all from within the mail client.

Android version: 1.6 and up

Camera File

SpeedyUploader Lite

Speedy Uploader Lite URLSpeedy Uploader Lite is a super quick way to add a bunch of photos and videos to Facebook in a single shot. The app supports batch uploading to Facebook with integrated captions and tagging. You can create albums, change sharing settings, and view and reply to comments, all from inside the app.

Android version: 1.6 and up

SpeedyUploader Lite

Photobucket Mobile

Photobucket URLPhotobucket has long been one of the biggest photo sharing sites on the web, and continues to be the service of choice for many thanks to its simplicity. If you use Photobucket to store and share images, the official Android app is a must-have. You can browse your collection online, download photos, and upload to the site – either manually or automatically.

Android version: 1.5 and up

Photobucket

Tumblr

Tumblr URLOver the last few years, Tumblr has grown as one of the biggest microblogging sites on the web and a lot of people use it as a photoblog, among other things. The official Tumblr app makes it super easy to post to your blog directly from your phone. For photos, it integrates with the phone’s camera, letting you snap an image right from within the app and post it directly to the blog.

Android version: 2.1 and up

tumblr

In Conclusion

Given the pace at which the Android marketplace is growing, there are already a dozen new photography-related apps out by the time you read this. It is also possible that some of the apps in this roundup got updated in the meantime and offer more (or less) than what they previously did. That’s just the nature of how things work these days.

Found something that fits the list but was not covered? Had a good or bad experience with some of these apps? Let’s hear your opinions and feedback in the comments below.


  • http://www.pobox.com/~meta/ mathew

    I can’t believe you didn’t include Vignette. Awesome camera app, gets me better images than the standard one.

    • Ashish Bogawat

      Vignette is no doubt an excellent app, but the free demo version only allows images to be saved at 0.3 megapixels, which is extremely limiting. The focus of this roundup was on free apps that provide adequate functionality for regular use.

    • Enrique

      Agreed.

  • http://www.renanfinal.com Renan

    I can’t believe you didn’t include Vignette. Awesome camera app, gets me better images than the standard one. 2*

  • Victor

    Wow..such a cool guide. I’m really liking this the Android appstorm site!!! I enjoy that it provides only 2 or 3 posts a day, but VERY useful!!!

  • http://TamahomeJenkins.com Steven Durham

    I can’t believe you didn’t include Vignette. Awesome camera app, gets me better images than the standard one. *3

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  • http://www.i-clic.co.uk Patrick Brighton Photographer

    As a professional photographer, weddings mostly, I find I am getting more and more questions from amateurs, when I’m working, asking which app they should be getting for their phone. I get the feeling this is the turning point in the camera phone vs camera debate, in future what with the improvement in picture quality from phones and the burgeoning market of App most amateurs are not going to be looking past their phone to take their snaps. Nice review, thanks. P

  • http://androidgameworld.com Android Game World

    I thing BeFunky is also a great photo editing and sharing app. I used to compare these apps to Instagram which is not available for Android yet. I think BeFunky is as easy to use and even better in terms of functionality. Try it for yourself

    https://market.android.com/details?id=air.com.befunky.BeFunkyPhotoEditor

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  • Yordanys Diaz

    This post was very useful I needed to find something simple to do a one time project and this helped. Thanks

  • http://www.mobilogramma.com/ Dmity Jazzoff

    I use the Magic Hour Camera ( https://market.android.com/details?id=com.kiwiple.mhm.free ). Everything here is photographed with this program – mobilogramma.com. I apologize for my English. I take a translator.

    P.S. The maximum frame size in the free version 800x600px. For a blog and twitter this is enough.

  • Jeff Osborne

    Magix Camera MX is an excellent camera and editor rolled into one. It also comes with a widget that will open the camera app and take a picture with one touch.

    My current favorite is a fantastic camera called UCAM. Includes effects, panorama, video, animated gif, and qr code reader all in one beautiful and simple interface. Also has a tablet app version as well.

    Both are must tries when looking for a stock camera replacement, especially since are free and full of extras!

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  • Felix

    Is there an app to insert caption/comment into picture (as in PhotoMechanic on desktop), I mean text along with the picture as a description, not text on the picture?

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