The art of “iPhoneography” is no longer something to laugh at. Photos taken and edited with iPhones have appeared on the front page of newspapers like the New York Times. They’ve even won awards thanks to photographers like Benjamin Lowry, a photojournalist who actively supports mobile photography.
Finding the right apps to edit photos can be intimidating, though. Hundreds of photo effects and editing apps have emerged in the past years. Deciding which apps to use could take hours of research, especially if you’re new to iPhoneography.
To save you time, here are 30 of the most popular iPhone photography apps, organized by their strong points: shooting, all-in-one editing, extra editing, filters, panoramas, and cool effects.
ProCamera is a robust shooting and editing app with just about anything you could want, including HDR. It’s one of the best apps for shooting, with plenty of features and a great interface.
Camera+ is also a fantastic app, and it’s slightly cheaper than ProCamera. It has anti-shake functions, clarity features, gyroscopes, split exposures, and focus points, plus some fun filters. Its interface is also excellent.
Like Camera+, Camera Genius makes your iPhone into a ‘proper’ camera, as far as that’s possible: 6x digital zoom, video with real-time zoom, anti-shake, timer, etc. It even includes camera guides, a photography manual, and a DSLR mode for shooting.
Don’t want to pay for a camera app? No worries–there’s Camera Awesome. It’ll give you the basics to begin with, and you can pay for extras after trying them out first. The app focuses on speed, so you can shoot and share a photo on social media with just one tap.
Produced by Google, Snapseed is an in-depth, high-quality editing app that’s free. It has extensive, easy-to-use tools, plus a number of cool filters. What more could you want?
If Snapseed wasn’t the right fit for you, PicShop Lite is also free and worth a try. It’s simpler but still offers a lot of filters and editing tools. One interesting extra: you can put stickers like hats and mustaches onto your photos. It’s geared towards social media as well, so sharing is easy.
Adobe Photoshop Mix
Fan of Photoshop? If so, you should have this app. You can combine, layer and enhance images without transferring them off your iPhone. If you do want to tweak the image on your desktop, though, Adobe Photoshop Mix is fully integrated with Adobe CC, so that won’t be a problem.
If you want something simple but effective, Picoli might be your best choice. It’s easy to use and has standard filters and photo editing functions (crop, brightness, sharpness, contrast, etc.), as well as extra professional tools like tone curve correction.
Darkroom – Photo Editor
One big advantage of Darkroom is that you don’t need to import your photos before editing. It has all the essential editing functions–but mainly, it’s fast and convenient.
MaxCurve specializes in curves, but it has all the standard editing functions, too. Although, with 23 curves to edit with, you may not need much else.
The makers of Enlight claim that “it’s every photo app you’ve ever needed, wanted, or dreamed of – combined into one powerful, beautifully designed photo editor.” And they may be right.
Ever wish you could expand an image somehow? Or straighten it without losing size? AntiCrop can help you do just that. It’ll straighten and/or enlarge your photos without cropping anything out.
With Color Splash, it’s easy to convert your color images into black and white with a bit of color left over. First, you convert and fine-tune a photo into black and white (or sepia). Then, you use your finger as a brush to bring back some color. That’s all!
Did someone photobomb a perfect shot you took? TouchRetouch can help you fix that problem. It’s the only popular iPhone app that allows you to delete unwanted objects (and people), as if they were never there.
With AfterFocus, it’ll look like your iPhone photos were taken with a DSLR. You just select an area of the image to focus on, and the app will give the background a realistic, DSLR-style blur.
Really, Hipstamatic should be under ‘Basic Shooting’ as well. Some photographers use it as their go-to app for all shooting simply because of the wide range of lenses and retro-style film filters it offers. Ben Lowry even used it for serious photojournalism, like capturing scenes in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2011. If you only want to pay for one app, this one’s not a bad choice.
If you want to get your name out there, Instagram is definitely a platform you should be using. Unlike other social networks, Instagram is mainly meant for mobile phones. You can still use it with a desktop and a DSLR, but… The app is faster and produces great, shareable photos. It has an attractive, user-friendly interface with a nice range of filters. It’s a great way to combine photography and social media without taking up much time.
At first, Priime might not seem like an app for filters. That’s because its filters are a little different. Rather than focusing on certain effects, they imitate the styles of some world-class photographers, who helped create the filters.
There are two versions of CameraBag: one for video and one for photos. Both accomplish the same thing. They apply high-quality filters and keep colors looking smooth, even with a lot of editing. The app is made for professional photographers, but the interface is simple enough for anyone to use.
Instant: The Polaroid Instant Camera
Instant specializes in filters that mimic Polaroid instant cameras. It essentially turns your iPhone into a mock Polaroid camera, recreating that nostalgic Polaroid experience. When you snap a photo, an “undeveloped” dark film slides down, and the image slowly reveals itself, just like a Polaroid. You can also add a classic Polaroid border, write on it, and share your creation online.
The filters offered by Lens Distortions are subtle and elegant. They’re based on natural effects, like fog or light flares, so your images look clean and authentic.
Mextures has more than 150 textures to choose from, along with over 200 formulas for creating beautiful images. So, you can either sort through the impressive array of light leaks and film textures, or just click on a formula created by a top iPhone photographer.
Want to take wide-angle shots with your iPhone? Check out this app. With Pano, you can take up to 16 shots and stitch them together to create beautiful panoramas.
360 Panorama does exactly what its name implies: it creates a 360° panorama not unlike what you can see on Google maps. While you probably won’t need to use this app for every wide-angle shot, it’s great for epic situations, like a mountain top view you want to capture in 360.
DMD Panorama also does 180° and 360° panoramas using both the front and back cameras of the iPhone. It’s free, too, so you can compare it with 360 Panorama (and/or Pano) without any extra cost.
oSnap! specializes in time-lapse and stop motion photography. It has an elegant user interface and great editing features for time-lapse and stop motion projects. It’s especially handy for photographers who want to experiment with stop motion and time-lapses, but don’t know where to begin.
Photo booths have a long history, going back to 1889. Most photo booths are used for passport photos, but recently, they’ve also become popular at parties and wedding receptions. Instead of finding or renting a photo booth, though, you can just download Pocketbooth and create your own photo booth experience at home. Take as many photos as you want and compile them into photo booth strips to print or upload on social media.
With Typorama, you can combine your photos with text and end up with attractive images regardless of your design (in)experience. It’ll save you time while still creating cool posters and inspirational images for Instagram, etc.
This editing app focuses on turning photos and videos into tilt-shift works of art. If you’ve never worked with tilt-shift photography before and want some support, TiltShift Video can be a great help.
Diptic has one purpose: creating photo and video collages. It’s perfect for showing off the images you created with all the other apps without exhausting your viewers.