TechKnow: Photo editing apps
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TechKnow: Photo editing apps

These apps can edit your photos and enhance your skills, but which is best?

If you enjoy taking photos on mobile devices but aren't satisfied with the results, there are myriad, often free photo editing apps that can quickly turn ordinary snaps into something special. Instagram, with its useful range of filters and editing tools, is the most popular, but its true focus is social media. Serious Instagrammers usually perfect their photos with a bona fide editing app before posting, but these bundles of tricks serve many purposes, from creating digital art to playing with silly stickers and effects.

Pixlr and EyeEm offer editing essentials including crop, sharpen, contrast and white-balance adjustment, as well as fancier enhancements such as vignette blurs and a suite of filters. Pixlr's options, including overlays and effects, are much more extensive. Both provide the choice of launching the camera within the app or editing photos already on your device. They also make sharing and saving edited masterpieces easy.

Pixlr.

Pixlr.

Pixlr is a true photo editor, with an intuitive interface and impressive, even addictive array of options. Add borders and text. Create collages. Remove red eyes and blemishes. Apply filters such as night vision, make photos look like paintings, or get really creative with colour highlights, overlays and double exposures. Undoing and redoing edits is easy, though only last to first. Most of the stickers and live camera overlays are unsophisticated. An ad appears at the edit's conclusion.

EyeEm sets itself apart from other photo editors by helping amateurs develop their abilities through the app's community of photographers. I didn't test this, but the ultimate aim is to turn users into professionals – at least on a micro-payment level – by selling photos on the EyeEm marketplace, including to major brands. This is an unremarkable photo editor, and the absence of an undo option is frustrating. It's a good forum for amateurs to improve, however: follow featured photographers; learn from tutorials and interviews; try edits suggested for your less impressive results; participate in regular photo "missions"; get a boost when fellow users "like" your photos (easier to achieve than expected) or comment (so there's potential for trolling, though I received no comments, neither good nor bad).

EyeEm.

EyeEm.

While both apps are free, Pixlr is intent on providing tools to enhance and transform photos, making it an excellent choice for most purposes, from touching up snaps to creating digital art. EyeEm is more focused on improving users' photographic skills and sales, so editing in Pixlr then sharing on EyeEm may be more fruitful.

Want to decorate your home with remarkable photographs? Numerous online fine-art stores have apps that provide augmented reality previews of what their offerings will look like on your walls, often scaled to suit. Options include art.com, Mobile Art Gallery and pixels.com. What about your own photos? Try WallApp (actually web-based, not an app) or think big with the Wall Mural app.

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