When taking photos on the move, sometimes it pays to have photo editing apps. After all, you’re not going to tweet that picture without a bit of increased contrast, or brightness – right? It’s a well-known fact nowadays that the majority of photos we see on the web have being edited in some way in a graphics package such as Adobe Photoshop. But what if you can’t get to your computer and need reliable and feature filled editing applications on the move?

Being a keen photographer and designer, I thought it’d be fun to give you my low-down on the photo editing apps I personally think you should have on your phone. I’ll explain why I think you should have them, and what features and benefits I like most about each application. Here we go!

PhotoForge

Definitely one of the more fully-featured photo editing App Store offerings, PhotoForge (in my opinion) should have you pretty much covered for your mobile editing needs. Just like all the editors I’m about to feature, the app will allow you to open, edit and save a photo to your iPhone’s camera roll. What makes PhotoForge a great pick for this over it’s competition is it’s feature set. As well as allowing you to rotate and crop your photo, the app also offers a wide range of both adjustment and visual effects which are comparable to Adobe Photoshop on a mobile level.

Adjustments Effects

Curve - Allows for editing of the colour profile
Levels - Allows for editing of the photos levels
Noise Reduction - Reduces noise
Sharpen - Sharpens image
Blur - Add a blur to your image
Simulated HDR - Edit shadowing and highlighting
Hue/Saturation
Brightness/Contrast
Exposure - Allows for the editing of lighting
Vibrance - Increases the intensity of colour
Tilt Shift - Adjusts focus to simulate depth
Auto White Balance
Auto Enhance - Enhances image based on preset configuration

Visual Effects

As well as being able to adjust your image with the above effects, the app also offers Photoshop-esque ‘Filters’. These include: Dreamy, Vignette, Lomo, Sin City, Posterize, Watercolour, Oil painting, Sepia, Black and white, Night vision, Heat map, Pencil, Neon, Emboss, Negative, Sunset, BlueSky and Television. Each of which add disposable effects to further enhance your photo(s).

Why did it make this list?
With it’s full feature set and easily navigable user interface, PhotoForge takes iPhone OS and makes the most of it. While it probably won’t replace desktop-based editing software, it’s great to have for the odd detailed touch up. A personal favorite.

$0.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-05-03 :: Category: Photography

Photoshop.com Mobile

When this app first hit the App Store, a lot of people instinctively dropped the ‘.com’ and started calling this ‘Photoshop’. Of course, the ‘.com’ bit was very important, as this isn’t actually the fully-fledged Photoshop we all know and love. In fact, it was an extension to an existing online service.

Recently profiled by myself here at 148, one thing this app does bring to mobile photo editing above everything else, (especially on the iPhone) – is quality. It’s clear from the app that Adobe are still leading in this field.

Reiterating what I said in my review:

“Personally, I hope Adobe are planning to release a full paid version of this app, with more functionality aimed at power users. As it stands, although I like this version, I see it as a lite version. Maybe this is all we will see from Adobe (at least for now), but in my opinion this app isn’t anywhere near or comparable to the desktop version – yet.”

Why did it make this list?
It’s not the most fully featured photo editing app (far from it), but it does offer the basics. The crucial editing options and effects which first made Photoshop so popular. Again it has a very user intuitive UI, and really just lets you get on with editing your photos, without the need for a manual, beforehand.

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2009-10-09 :: Category: Photography

FocalLab

Taking editing back to basics, FocalLab has to be one the least-featured photo editing app I’ve come across. Boasting a mere 7 effects in total (3 of which aren’t filter effects), the developers say the app offers professional DOF (Depth of Field) lens effects. Well, they weren’t kidding. As the old saying goes – It’s not about quantity, but quality. I have to say the sheer quality of these few effects from this app are, quite stunning. See some examples for yourself here.

The 7 effects included in the app include: Dreamy Blur, Soft Focus, Zoom Blur, Motion Blur, Vignette, Black and White and Resize.

Why did it make this list?
For the amateur and professionals alike, FocalLab offers powerful in-pocket effects which will greatly enhance your photos with little effort.

$0.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-02-21 :: Category: Photography

Photogene

Sitting somewhere in between Photoshop.com Mobile and PhotoForge, Photogene is considered a favorite among many. For me, the app offers professional-aimed effects, in an easy to understand and again, user intuitive way. That’s important. You have to connect with your user, through your app. Fail to do that, and you may as well not have an app. Offering the usual, what I like most about Photogene is it’s tool bar layout. The app features two tool bars. The first is located on the left and these are your ‘tools’. The second is then located on the bottom of the screen, and dependent on which tool you’re using, this toolbar displays all tool options available to you, for that tool.

While good, in my opinion PhotoForge is just that little bit more fully-featured.

Why did it make this list?
With it’s in app animations, toolbar layout and editing ease, it’s clear to see why many people favour Photogene. Having added full image resolution exports in it’s latest release, the app is now even better, supporting exports of up to 2048 x 1536!

$1.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2008-08-07 :: Category: Photography

And there you have it. My list of the top four photo editing applications for iPhone, iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS. I hope you enjoyed reading through why I deem these apps to be the best of the bunch, that said these are just the best in my opinion. Have your personal favourite? Drop in for a comment below!

Posted in: Blog

Tagged with: , , , , , ,