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Add to Basket: Top 6 Photo Editing Apps

Lauren Ashdown shares and compares her favourite photo editing apps.

© Rossy via Pinterest

In today’s world, snapping a picture of our outfits, holidays and meals is an essential part of our daily routine, but sometimes, the humble iPhone camera just isn't up to the job. This is where photo editing apps come in handy. They'll make your memories look even better than you remembered and your Insta feed look pretty too.

Whether it’s to subtly tweak the contrast and brightness, add a filter, or remove any unwanted intruders from the background, there’s an app to suit everyone’s needs. Take a look at the six apps that are changing the game...


VSCO is probably one of the best-loved editing apps around. With a sleek and user-friendly interface, VSCO not only stores a library of your images but it also has a social discovery feature where you can share and see other users’ photography and edits. The editing process itself focuses on a vast collection of preset filters, ranging in tone, contrast and highlights and mimicking specific kinds of film, such as Kodak Portra 160, Fujifilm Xperia 400, and Ilford HP5, the preset filters can be gradually added to your image for either a subtle or striking edit. Aside from filters, the editing tools are quite impressive, with options to edit the exposure, saturation, sharpness and the crop, among others. VSCO comes with a good selection of free filters, and additional packs are available as in-app purchases, but a good alternative is subscribing to their yearly membership for around £18.50 per year. This allows subscribers to access all of the VSCO filters plus some exclusives, including a handful that are true film emulation filters. This is the perfect app for minimal edits and film-like effects, but it’s also great when used in conjunction with other apps as a final filter.

Download here via Itunes App Store

2. Darkroom

Darkroom offers a selection of preset filters and an extensive array of editing capabilities. You can get into the fine details of your photos; from curve changes to exposure and colour balance, Darkroom impressively fits these professional tools into one easy-to-use place. Similarly to VSCO, there is a good selection of filters (not as many) to choose from, but what gives Darkroom an edge is the ability to create your own filter - this is a great addition to ensure that your feed looks cohesive. And, while most photo editors simply apply the filter over the top of an image, Darkroom considers its filters more like presets for the app’s image adjustments, meaning you have more control over the effect. To unlock the full range of filters and tools, you just have to make a one-off purchase of £9.99. So, comparing the two, Darkroom is a more affordable option with a powerful and streamlined process, but VSCO does have a more extensive selection of filters, with more realistic, film effects.

Download here via Itunes App Store

3. FaceApp

If it’s not for the novelty of seeing yourself looking ‘old’ or maybe more interestingly morphing your face with Angelina Jolie or Donald Trump, then there are genuinely useful tools within FaceApp for everyday use. With basic brightness and contrast features, the app also includes a useful retouch tool for any unwanted blemishes, along with some nice filters. But the real perk of this app is experimenting with hair colour, hairstyles, makeup and beards; the edits might not make it to profile picture status, but they’re bound to make you laugh. With that all being in the ‘editor’ section, there is also a ‘fun’ section where you can really transform yourself into styles such as ‘Hollywood’, ‘Gender Swap’ and a personal favourite, ‘Smiles’ (think The Grinch). As with most photo editing apps, FaceApp offers some free features, but to access a whole host of styles and filters you need to ‘go pro’ for a monthly fee of £4.99 or a yearly fee of £29.99. Overall, it’s a good app to try with friends for some guaranteed lols and maybe even an Instagram story, but it probably won’t make the cut to your general everyday uploads.

Download here via Itunes App Store

4. Facetune2

Facetune2 is great for refining and tweaking images. The premium version of the app is quite pricey at £32.99 per year or a one-time purchase of £64.99, however, the app does have a particularly large and varied range of features. These include live, in-camera skin smoothing and teeth whitening effects, after-enhancements such as ‘glow’, ‘conceal’, tone fixing, reshaping, plus a good selection of filters, photo adjustments, and many more. However, it must be said, less is more with this app; luckily you can adjust the levels of the tools to achieve subtle enhancements. Whilst Facetune2 offers a lot, the overall look and finish of the tools and filters are not as effective as some alternative apps. It’s definitely worth a try but go easy on the actual face-tuning for maximum results.

Download here via Itunes App Store

5. Afterlight

Afterlight combines the fun of experimenting with colour and light with the seriousness of a vast and professional range of photo editing tools. The app itself is really easy to use; your entire camera roll will pop up and you can scroll, select and browse through the in-depth adjustments, touch tools, good selection of filters and more uniquely, light leak and colour tools. This app is less about 'enhancing' your beauty and more about enhancing the levels and colours in your image. The overall effects are very pleasant, with a sleek and professional finish - much like the app itself. Of course, to discover the entire range of tools and filters, you will have to pay £2.99 per month or £17.99 per year, but luckily they offer a 7-day free trial which is a great way to explore the app and features before you commit (just remember to cancel if you aren't that impressed!). Overall, a solid contender against VSCO and Darkroom, but with slightly different capabilities.

Download here via Itunes App Store

6. TouchRetouch

Pesky people ruining your photos' well scouted out backdrops? Worry no more. With the TouchRetouch app, it's never been easier to edit out unwanted objects, signs, people or blemishes from the background or foreground of your image. Not only does it eliminate the need to become a Photoshop Pro in an instant, it also helps to make your photos look perfectly composed, real quick. Download the app for a bargain £1.99 and you won't be bothered by any sneaky in-app purchases. The app is simple and to the point, it only features object removal tools, quick repair (blemishes), line removal and clone stamp tools, meaning it's a good one to have on hand, but it works best as a step rather than a one-stop app. It might take a few attempts to perfect the object removal, but once you've figured it out, you'll be impressed with the results!

Download here via Itunes App Store

Words by Lauren Ashdown


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