You finally found the perfect spot. After some internal art direction, you arrange your props, find the best angle and lighting, execute the perfect pose (or shooting stance), and press that shutter button. Then you take more “security” photos, until you finally snap The One. Ta-da! The One will then transform into The Many, cross-posted on all your social media accounts for maximum harvesting of Likes and Hearts.
Sure, you can post it as is, because being “authentic” online is everything, you know. Never mind if you’re engaged primarily in humblebragging, hunger-sharing, or hashtag-spamming—or all of them. That’s fine; you do you, sweetie.
But sometimes, The One needs some editing to make it even more of a hit with your followers. This is the cue for these seven apps to slide into your app list. They’re (mostly) free, easy to use, and—as was our requirement for this list—available for both iOS and Android, because being iOS-only or Android-only is so passé.
For the ‘gram
Don’t laugh. For most people, Instagram’s quite capable when it comes to sprucing up daily shots and screencaps. And if you’re especially lazy at photo editing like us, it just makes sense to use the same app to edit something you’ll post on the platform. It offers multiple filters for photos and selfies, stickers, GIFs, animations, and special effects, plus basic controls for photo adjustments. So take that shot, edit it, post it, and move on with your life... but also check your feed every hour or so for those double-taps.
That’s the pitch VSCO (pronounced Visco) gives us, and compared to the huge Sponsored-Post machine that Instagram has evolved into, it’s an enticing pitch. Mobile photogs with a certain, uh, aesthetic can make use of VSCO’s platform, which gives users more free and paid (and better-looking!) filters than IG, and better control over their photos. There’s also VSCO X, the company’s membership service that provides exclusive filters, editing tools, and even an education series. Not bad at all!
Not into Instagram and VSCO’s photo-editing features? Consider the Google-owned Snapseed, a not-so-well-kept secret among smartphone users who want an extensive feature set without doing extensive editing labor. It comes with a whopping 28 editing tools (including image tuning, lens blur, healing, and white balance), its own selection of presets/filters, and even in-app tutorials so you can give your photos that much-desired lewk.
Two under one
From the company that turned “Photoshop” into a verb comes two photo-editing apps that got into our radar: Adobe Photoshop Express, and Adobe Photoshop Fix. What’s the difference, you ask? Here’s a simple explanation courtesy of How-To Geek: the former is for basic smartphone editing (don’t expect the full Photoshop suite, obviously!), while the latter’s geared more toward portrait photos and selfies. Yeah, we’re not quite sure about how to feel regarding this separation, but thanks for giving us multiple options, Adobe.
Pixlr has been around for quite a while, as evidenced by the vowels missing from its name—a hallmark of companies formed in the ‘00s (see: Flickr, Tumblr). But it remains indispensible to smartphone snappers for several reasons. Like Adobe’s apps, you can edit both on your phone and your PC. It’s free, but if you wanna pay up to get rid of the ads, you can. Lastly, it has a large feature set that definitely up your photos’ impact—we’re big fans of the double exposure and eraser options.
Out of the cage
Photo Editor by Aviary is another tried-and-tested free photo-editing app... also owned by Adobe. So maybe we should’ve put that along with the Photoshop apps, no? Anyway. You want text overlays, filters, drawing and retouching tools, stickers, and even instant removal for blemishes and redeye? This app has all of that. We love that Aviary users can share their edit “recipes” with others, a la IFTTT. And if you wanna level up your editing game, you can buy more filter and effect packs through the app.