Spe­cial Fea­ture: Photo Edit­ing with iPhone Pho­tog­ra­phy School

iPhone Life Magazine - - iPhone LIfe - The orig­i­nal ver­sion of this ar­ti­cle was pub­lished on iPhonePho­tog­ra­phyS­chool.com, a web­site ded­i­cated to help­ing peo­ple take in­cred­i­ble iPhone pho­tos. For more iPhone pho­tog­ra­phy tu­to­ri­als, visit iPhonePho­tog­ra­phyS­chool.com.

How do you find the best photo-edit­ing apps for your iPhone pho­tog­ra­phy? With so many apps avail­able, it's dif­fi­cult to know which photo-ed­i­tor app to choose for a par­tic­u­lar edit­ing task. In this ar­ti­cle you'll dis­cover the 10 best photo-edit­ing apps that top iPhone pho­tog­ra­phers rec­om­mend, from one­touch fil­ter apps to ad­vanced cre­ative edit­ing.

Snapseed (Free)

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.

This app ex­cels in all ba­sic photo-pro­cess­ing tech­niques, in­clud­ing ex­po­sure, color, sharp­en­ing, crop­ping, and straight­en­ing. It also of­fers ad­vanced edit­ing fea­tures such as se­lec­tive ad­just­ments and a heal­ing tool for re­mov­ing un­wanted ob­jects.

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 the first photo-ed­i­tor app you down­load and learn.



VSCO (pro­nounced visco) is an­other pop­u­lar photo-edit­ing app. While this app also func­tions as a cam­era app and photo-sharing plat­form, it's the rich col­lec­tion of fil­ters and user-friendly edit­ing tools that re­ally make it stand out.

Un­like other apps where the fil­ters can be gar­ish and over­pow­er­ing, VSCO's pre­sets are de­signed to em­u­late clas­sic and mod­ern ana­log films. Many of the fil­ters fea­ture a soft, slightly faded look that's quickly be­come pop­u­lar on In­sta­gram. 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 for fine-tun­ing your image.

Fil­ter­storm Neue ($3.99)

Fil­ter­storm Neue of­fers much of the edit­ing con­trol of more pow­er­ful desk­top ap­pli­ca­tions such as Light­room and Pho­to­shop, but in a mo­bile-friendly for­mat. In ad­di­tion to all of the typ­i­cal photo-edit­ing tools for ad­just­ing color, ex­po­sure, etc., Fil­ter­storm Neue in­cludes one of the best mo­bile im­ple­men­ta­tions of a pow­er­ful Curves con­trol for fine-tun­ing bright­ness and con­trast.

An­other fea­ture that re­ally sets Fil­ter­storm Neue apart 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 image edit­ing with your iPhone, Fil­ter­storm Neue is one the best photo-edit­ing apps out there.

AfterFo­cus ($0.99)

AfterFo­cus is a spe­cialty app de­signed to im­i­tate the shal­low depth of field ef­fect that can typ­i­cally only be achieved with a DSLR or an iPhone 7 Plus. A 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 use your fin­ger to mark the fore­ground and back­ground ar­eas, then the app au­to­mat­i­cally blurs the back­ground. You can even add a nat­u­ral-look­ing bokeh ef­fect where the back­ground high­lights are ren­dered as soft cir­cles or hexagons. This app is es­pe­cially use­ful for draw­ing the viewer's at­ten­tion to your main sub­ject if the back­ground is busy and dis­tract­ing. It also has a mo­tion blur op­tion to cre­ate the ap­pear­ance of move­ment.

Mex­tures ($0.99)

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 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 fea­ture. It can take a bit of time to learn how to take full ad­van­tage of Mex­ture's 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 one of the best photo edit­ing.

Lens Dis­tor­tions (Free)

There are many apps 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/over­lays are cre­ated from ac­tual pho­tos of those same el­e­ments, in­clud­ing ac­tual sun­light (Light Hits col­lec­tion), haze (Fog col­lec­tion), frag­ments of glass (Legacy col­lec­tion), as well as a unique Shim­mer col­lec­tion. Adding these el­e­ments 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. Frame your shots with beau­ti­ful shards of glass, draw your viewer's eye with or­ganic light hits, or cre­ate at­mo­spheric depth with glis­ten­ing par­ti­cles of light or fog.

En­light ($3.99)

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.The Mask tool al­lows you to ap­ply ef­fects to se­lected parts of your image, leav­ing the rest of the photo un­al­tered. 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 photo-ed­i­tor app. Whether you want to per­form a sim­ple edit or cre­ate an artis­tic mas­ter­piece, you can do it all within En­light. Check out our in-depth En­light tu­to­rial on page 48.

Su­per­im­pose ($1.99)

If you want to get more cre­ative and start com­posit­ing mul­ti­ple im­ages into a sin­gle photo, one of the best apps to use 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 mas­tered 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 and dou­ble-ex­po­sure pho­tos. With this app, you're only lim­ited by your imag­i­na­tion!

Whether you're brand new to iPhone pho­tog­ra­phy or sim­ply look­ing for a new photo-ed­i­tor app to add to your col­lec­tion, hope­fully this list has given you some in­spi­ra­tion for new apps to try out.

TouchRe­touch ($1.99)

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. The app then au­to­mat­i­cally re­moves the se­lec­tion, re­plac­ing that area 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.

SKRWT ($1.99)

One draw­back of hav­ing a fixed wide-an­gle lens on the iPhone is that it of­ten re­sults in some­what dis­torted shots where the image looks bent or stretched. This is a com­mon is­sue with all man­ner of wide-an­gle lenses. It's most no­tice­able with ar­chi­tec­tural pho­tos of tall build­ings where the lines ap­pear to con­verge to­ward the top. With SKRWT, you can quickly and eas­ily cor­rect these dis­tor­tions and straighten con­verg­ing lines. 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 best op­tions.

This ar­ti­cle was orig­i­nally pub­lished on iphonepho­tog­ra­phys­chool.com

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