I’ve gotten asked countless times about the editing tools and apps I use for my photos. There are hundreds out there and most of them are not free so it gets annoying to try them out without spending quite a bit of time and money in the process (sometimes you download an app and spend an hour learning it only to discover that you have to pay for the feature you downloaded it for in the first place) .
I love reading posts that summarize which are the best photo apps out there because then I can narrow my list down of apps to download and try. It’s taken me about a year but I’ve compiled a list of my favorite editing apps that you can use whether you have a travel account, personal account or a lifestyle account.
1. CAMERA CONNECT – FREE
If you have a Canon camera with wifi, do yourself a favor and download this now. This is a must-have app for remote shooting and downloading photos on the go. It makes taking photos of yourself super easy – you can actually live view (super handy when you are on self-timer and you don’t know how you look) and adjust your camera settings all through your phone. And if you’re traveling, you can connect to the app (must have wifi enabled) and download the photos to your phone within minutes.
2. RETOUCH – $1.99
I’ll be honest, I rolled my eyes a little at the thought of downloading yet another app especially when the Lightroom clone tool does a decent job of eliminating unwanted wires or objects (left vs right) . But thankfully, I ignored my initial apprehension and downloaded it a few days later. This tool is extremely useful in getting rid of electrical wires efficiently. One swipe and it’s gone. I also love using the mirror tool to eliminate unwanted objects.
3. SNAPSEED – FREE
I think Snapseed is one of the better known apps out there. It’s been around for a while but what I love about it isn’t just the typical editing tools but also the face enhancing and posing tools, both newer updates. I am by no means a selfie taker and you’ll have to excuse the cheesy selfies below but I did want to show the tool in action. For those of you who love taking selfies and are untalented like me, Snapseed’s posing tool makes it easy to correct your face. You can definitely go overboard with it (ummm…you can actually change your smile. how crazy is that?!) but used in small quantities, it can be pretty handy.
And if you’ve ever wondered how people get the “painting” look in their travel photos, Snapseed’s ambience tool combined with the structure tool makes that style possible. Also, I love how you can preview edits that you’ve made and selectively delete layers without having to undo all your work.
4. FACETUNE – $3.99
Another oldie but goodie. You can use Facetune for pretty much anything from smoothing out your skin to reshaping your body to toning the color in a photo. I use it often for patching and toning. Sometimes when you remove an object for a photo, the clone/patch tool doesn’t do a great job matching the color. It’s helpful to use the tone tool afterwards to make the removal seamless and less noticeable.
5. LENS DISTORTIONS – FREE
People love adding sun flares to photos and while A Color Story has a few great light leaks that can look like flares, Lens Distortions offers a few actual suns (with rays) that you can add to a photo. That type of editing isn’t really my style (I prefer capturing real ones) but for those of you who love artsy editing, then Lens Distortions is the best. If you want to accentuate an existing sun spot, Lens Distortions also offers light hits that you can add to a photo to emphasize the area where the sun was actually hitting and conversely, you can add fog to a photo for the opposite effect.
6. SKYLAB – $2.99
Have you ever wondered how people are able to capture perfectly flying or perching birds in an idyllic location? More often than not, they’re fake and they’ve added them with an app like Skylab. Since my photography and editing style is more “natural”, I haven’t taken advantage of these aspects of the app but I will say that if that’s your style, Skylab makes it easy. You can add birds perched atop electrical wires, clouds, dead trees, flowering trees, moons and suns. It’s all a bit crazy really. But what I love about Skylab is the ability to bring a dash of color into white skies. When my sky gets overexposed through editing or it’s a blah cloudy day, I can use Skylab to add a touch of blue. I use it very minimally and fade/brighten the sky drastically to minimize the effect but again, if you love to edit your photos, you can make it much darker and more dramatic. But take care your photo doesn’t come out looking too fake!