The iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X have the best mobile cameras currently on the market. Cameras which allow you to get a 3-dimensional idea of the space that you're capturing, as well as velvety depth-of-field giving both portraits and landscape photographs that sought-after blurry background, "What then, could an app do for these insanely intelligent phones?", you might ask. That's like asking a professional photographer with his DSLR and equipment why the picture still needs retouching.
While it’s true that your iPhone 8 plus and iPhone X’s camera can make taking the best picture easier, it won't always get your desired effect — that's where an app comes in.
On a list of the best iPhone editing apps, this app is the best of the best, and ironically, the product comes from none other than Google. Figures. The reason why this photo editing app is right at the top of the list is due to its price-tag. It's a free app! Any photo editor worth their weight in gold knows that unless an app allows you to adjust an image's curves, color balance, saturation, and sharpness etc., then it's not worth the price tag. Snapseed does the above, plus it's free!
The app allows you to also create "presets" and save them for future reference, especially if you want to present a cohesive (or themed) Instagram feed.
Cost: $0.00 zero subscription and no in-app-purchases, App Store
Related: Top 5 Video Editing Apps for iPhone
Affinity Photo was developed by Serif Labs as a companion to the desktop version of Affinity Photo. As much as other developers like to strive for this title, most photography publications are in agreement that this app is the one true "Photoshop Killer" if such a killer were to exist. If you don't want to shell out money for an Adobe suite subscription, Affinity Photo might be a viable alternative. For starters, this app is more powerful than any other photo editing app in the App Store.
Cost: $20.00, zero subscription and no in-app-purchases, App Store
It's not surprising that in 2018 VSCO will still be at the top of the photo-editing charts. This is an all-around great app! If you feel limited by Instagram filters, but don't know where to start with making full-scale photo edits, your photos are about to get a much-needed refresh. VSCO (pronounced like "disco") allows you to filter your images and then create tweaks to contrast, brightness, sharpness as well as color balance. Once complete, you can save your images in your VSCO gallery for future use, or share directly in various ways.
Cost: $0.00, in-app purchases, App Store
Pixelmator, just like Affinity Photo is a mobile version of an extremely popular macOS app. And just like it desktop sibling, Pixelmator has a similar user interface, except the workflow is now more accommodating of touch and doesn't require a cursor. This app isn't as powerful as Affinity, however, what it lacks in power it makes up for in tenacity and simplicity, boasting tools that most editors couldn't do without — it also allows your inner creative to come out through its painting application.
Cost: $1.99, no in-app-purchases, App Store
Rounding up the Top 5 Best iPhone Photo Editing Apps is RAW Power, and when you consider that it was founded by a former Senior Director of Engineering at Aperture and iPhoto, it makes sense. This app is a new kid on the block, but as it has been specifically designed with professional iPhone Photographers in mind. It stands to reason that an app which gives the editor more power to create high-quality imagery while shooting in RAW would be at the top of this list. Raw Power is able to accommodate many RAW camera formats, so for that reason, if you're shooting images on an iPad, you can still create amazing results.
Cost: $14.99, no in-app purchases, App Store
Do you fancy yourself as the next Skrillex or Deadmau5? Want to create a cover image for your latest SoundCloud upload? This app is exactly what you need! Hyperspektiv is a complete departure from what you think about when the words, "photo editor" comes to mind, but since the App Store doesn't have a "photo distorter" category, this is where Hyperspektiv belongs. Using this app's various filters, you can literally edit your images to completely unrecognizable extremes. The app lets you create "trippy" images and videos with a simple swipe of your fingers.
Cost: $1.99, no in-app purchases, App Store
Free app alert! Adobe Lightroom CC is a tried and tested member of the Adobe suite. Just like RAW Power, and many of the other apps mentioned on this list, Abobe Lightroom CC allows you to shoot RAW photos in HDR mode, while automatically organizing them in a gallery (in the cloud) so that they don't consume all your phone's space. If you're not much of a photoshop user, but still want to tweak your photographs, Lightroom is a great app to start with.
Cost: $0.00, $4.99 for a Premium version, App Store
Enlight is one of the smartest photo-editing tools around. It's like a free version of Hyperspektiv, with an edge! Take a regular image of you in the middle of the road and superimpose other images on top of it. Want to have double exposures? No big deal. Fancy yourself a bit of a surrealist? Use the layers in Enlight Photofox and create surreal iPhone art. At the end of the day, the final result will look absolutely nothing like the original photograph, and if that's your aim, then this app is a great way to start. If you want to go a little bit advanced, you can adjust blending modes, transparency, change perspective and overlay other images on top of your photograph.
Cost: $0.00, in-app purchases, App Store
This app is a one-stop shop for all the photo editing tools you need; it provides you with professional masking tools and pre-made filters that are a great alternative to Instagram. Filterstorm Neue is actually a rewritten version of the classic Filterstorm app, and this version is faster, much more user-friendly, and intuitive. You can edit images in Black & White, create blur effects, adjust brightness/contrast, clarity and curves etc. If you're an avid Photoshop user not wanting to spend money on an Adobe subscription, this would be a fantastic alternative!
Cost: $3.99, no in-app purchases, App Store
A lot has been said about Photoshop. Many iPhone photographers can't stand that they like it so much and many app developers want to dethrone it, and yet it still rises. While Photoshop Express is nothing like its macOS sibling, it still maintains the professional standard that we have come to expect. Photoshop Express helps you get the job done on the go, but it doesn't take you from desktop to mobile and vice-versa. Unless you already have an Adobe subscription, take it easy. Start here.
Cost: $0.00, no in-app purchases, App Store
Whether you prefer to work on your macOS computer or your phone, the aim of iPhone photo editing apps in 2018 is to alleviate time spent editing by taking advantage of how much iPhones have continuously improved.
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