In this digital age, people rely more on their smart phones to take pictures than a regular camera. Part of the smart phone’s appeal is being able to capture and share moments in pictures right away with a touch of a button. It’s probably why there are quite a number of photo sharing apps in the Market.
But what about editing? Surely not all photos taken with a smart phone comes out perfectly. In fact, far from it. A mid-range digital camera is more capable of taking excellent shots compared to a phone, no matter how impressive its hardware is.
A while back, my fellow writer Paul Wilks wrote about photo sharing apps for Android. This roundup, however, will focus more on photo editing. Here are my top 10 picks:
Photo Art has a specific feature that makes it stand out from all other photo editors. This app lets you choose a number of effects and filters and allows you to either apply it to the whole image or to a certain part of the photo, using your fingers to specify that area. For an advanced function, this app makes it very simple – and the results are just as good.
This mobile version of the widely known Photoshop offers basic functionality proportionate to a smart phone user. You can store your images on their site, Photoshop.com, if you sign up and create an account. The app has a bit of everything – from image cropping to sepia rendering – but don’t expect all the advanced functions of the desktop version.
Mytubo is a casual, fun app that lets you apply 14 toy camera effects to existing photos in the gallery or real time camera shots. You can then save the edited snap to your phone or to a mytubo account, and share it via Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, Email and SMS. The interface is fairly straightforward and the photo filters really do make your images eye-catching.
Vignette Demo is a free version of the app Vignette. The app has a huge number of effects – 84 to be exact – and 54 photo frames. The paid version has the same features, plus it supports the phone’s resolution while the free version doesn’t. One notable feature is being able to “set” a photo filter before taking the picture with its built-in camera. Given so many of options for editing your photo, the process of choosing an effect can be sometimes tedious with its interface, but the quality of the filters are worth the effort.
The most impressive thing about Fotolr Photo Studio is its beautiful UI and presentation. The app lets you create photo folders as well as edit them. It has a diverse set of functions, from the basic (cut, resize, rotate) to the advanced (color isolation). One interesting feature is being able to add elements such as lipstick, wigs and hair color to an image. Fun and definitely functional, Fotolr is an app full of surprises.
PicsArt probably has more functions and photo effects than any other free app in the Market. In addition to the varied filters, it also allows the user to draw on an existing image. One great feature is letting the user edit the photo effect itself (depending on the filter). For a single app, it can do a lot to your photos and is a good choice for a go-to app for photo editing.
Pixlr-o-matic is an attractive app with a darkroom effect designed to generate vintage-style photos. Choose from the filters (they’re named after people) and apply professional quality effects in one easy tap. There’s also another tab for adding layers of lighting effects such as street lights and glitters. If you’re particular with design quality and artistic effects, this app is the one to try.
PhotoFunia is a more playful app to integrate your photos – specifically portraits – into other elements such as magazine covers, billboards, or famous paintings. Basic tools are given for making the finished image as precise as possible. There are loads of templates to choose from, all stored in the cloud so it doesn’t take any space on your phone, so an internet connection is required to use the effects.
Little Photo is nifty app with a simple UI but a surprisingly large number of features – over 70 effects and tools. Simply take a photo or open an image from the gallery and tap on it to see the list of effects and tools on the right side of the screen. A unique feature is “Half Apply”, which lets you control the intensity of the photo filter you’ve selected.
BeFunky was a free online editing tool that has since become available on Android. The app offers over 20 effects – such as LomoArt, Vintage and Tilt Shift – in addition to basic editing tools like cropping and rotating. The interface makes editing fun and simple and gives a big chunk of the screen for you to preview each photo effect before applying it.
These apps are not perfect on their own, but with the number of similar apps in the Market, these are among the best you can get for free. Picking just one app from the list is difficult because photo editing is a matter of style and preference. For photo filter effects, Vignette Demo has the largest selection. For versatility and function, PicsArt wins the battle hands down. For gorgeous UI and presentation, Pixlr-o-matic and Fotolr are top choices. It’s a very subjective thing to design your own photos, so there’s no single best app to go with – for now.