Laptop with photo editing software on the floor. A camera, memory cards, and pictures are scattered around it.

The Best Free Photo Editing Apps

Are you looking for the best photo editing apps? Many people use these to touch up pictures before sharing them on social networks or to create collages. This article outlines some options, including the best free photo editing apps, and goes into detail about the notable features of each one.

Statista says the worldwide Photo & Video segment will reach 26,398 million downloads in 2022. Considering the many people working on high-quality pictures with artsy overlays, light effects, or artistic image effects for perfect post-worthy content, it makes sense that many new apps with a range of advanced tools are becoming easily available.

What Is a Photo Editing App?

Photo editing apps are software applications to edit pictures on a mobile device or computer. For professional photographers, this means creating perfect images and content for businesses. For amateur photographers, it means amazing content for social networking and preserving precious memories.

Why Do People Use Photo Editing Apps?

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Photo editing apps can improve quality and produce perfect photos. People use them to create all kinds of amazing images. Some editing apps can help you turn your RAW files into masterpieces. Some photo editing apps have basic adjustments and photo filters, while others have more advanced editing tools.

How the Best Photo Editing Apps Can Help You Edit Photos

Both professional photographers and amateurs love to edit photos. Especially since social media came along, there has been a huge range of powerful tools and additional effects available for use by all skill levels. Many functions are available. You can remove unwanted elements, do color correction, or create effects.

White Balance

White balance is a balance of warm and cool colors in an image. The color temperature of an image can make the image look incorrect. You can adjust this by changing the custom white balance on your camera or during editing.


When you sharpen an image, it adds contrast to the edges of objects in your frame. Increasing the clarity also enhances an image’s texture. Decreasing clarity can make your photos look dreamy.

Exposure and Contrast

Exposure and contrast affect the brightness or darkness of a picture. Highlights are adjusted to control the brighter parts of images, and the shadows are adjusted to control the darker elements of images.

The 10 Best Photo Editing Apps: Overview

App Availability Notable Features Cost
Adobe Lightroom Mobile Android, iOS Lightroom, Lightroom Mobile, Adobe Portfolio, Cloud photo storage of 1TB $0 – $19,99 per month
Adobe Photoshop Windows, macOS Photoshop Lightroom and Lightroom Classic, Creative Cloud Express for web and mobile, Adobe Fresco for drawing and painting, Cloud storage, over 20 Creative Cloud apps $20,99 – $52,99
Adobe Photoshop Camera iOS 13.4 or later, Android
9 and up
Dozens of custom filters, AI-powered picture editing, auto-tone photo effects, content-aware recommendations, portrait controls, over 100 lens effects, built for social networking Free
Adobe Photoshop Elements Microsoft Windows 10 version 2004 or later, macOS 10.15 or macOS 11 Automated editing, step-by-step guided edits, create & share, effortless organization $69,99 – $99.99
Adobe Photoshop Express Detecting and masking objects with multi-object selection, makeup transfer, filters and effects, retouch, collages, add borders and text, quick fixes and auto-fix, blur, remove noise, perspective correction, save as PNG Free
Affinity Photo iOS, macOS, Windows Real-time editing, massive image support over 100 Megapixels, pan and zoom at 60fps, edit and save Photoshop PSD files, PSD smart object support, RGB, CMYK, Greyscale, PANTONE and LAB colour spaces, full 16 and 32-bit per channel editing, support for a range of plug-ins $0 – $60
Google Photos iOS 14.0 or later,
iPadOS 14.0 or later
Free up space on your device with free storage, visual search, smart sharing, movies and gifts made for you, advanced editing, smart automatic albums, live albums, shared libraries, Google Lens, Chromecast, and Airplay support Free
PhotoScape X Windows, Mac A full suite of photo editing tools, batch Editor, collage, create GIF, convert RAW files to JPG Free
Pixelmator macOS 10.15 or later Edit and enhance photos, draw and illustrate, create stunning designs, sketch, and paint, design great-looking text, machine learning-powered editing, built exclusively for Mac $0 – $39,99
VSCO Android, iOS Advanced camera app, photo editing app, manual adjustment tools, photo enhancer, photo-sharing platform
photography community

The Best Photo Editing Apps to Make Your Life Easier

Photo editing app purchases come in different forms. Some are one-time purchases, and most are monthly subscriptions. Some are only mobile versions, some are only for computers, and some operate on all devices. Many options are available, whether you are looking for preset filters, blending modes, or a user-friendly interface.

Adobe Photoshop | $20,99 – $52,99

  • Best Feature of Paid Version: Many cutting-edge tools to use for your photo editing.
  • Biggest Downside of Paid Version: The user interface may be challenging for new users.

The latest Adobe Photoshop operates with AI-powered Sky Replacement and Neural Filter features, as well as features to help repair damaged images. Smart portrait mode with one-click image manipulation is a feature, and you can make AI-powered adjustments to portraits. In two of the three Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plans available, Adobe Lightroom is included.

Thanks to the popularity of this platform, there are also reputable Photoshop resources available that can help you find your way around the application.

Adobe Lightroom Mobile | $0 – $19,99 per month

  • Best Feature of Paid Version: Easy to use straightforward interface.
  • Biggest Downside of Paid Version: It is expensive.

Adobe Lightroom Mobile has a built-in camera feature that can take smartphone photos in RAW format. This photo app has filters you can add with just a tap. You can edit exposure, aperture, and other manual features. The premium version includes a healing brush, selective adjustments, and RAW file editing of DSLR photos.

Pixelmator | $0 – $39,99

  • Best Feature of Paid Version: Better than Picsart, and easier to use.
  • Biggest Downside of Paid Version: It does not have many fonts, and doesn’t work with gifs.

Pixelmator has all the basic features you would expect and some additional advanced features. Pixelmator blends tools for photography and graphic design tools into one mobile app. Packed with loads of features, including layer-based photo editing tools, you can enhance images, insert graphics and text, and create artistic masterpieces with templates, collages, and other effects.

Affinity Photo | $0 – $60

  • Best Feature of Paid Version:  Wide range of image editing control and clean user interface.
  • Biggest Downside of Paid Version:  Extra features like contact sheets are not available, and no integration with social media platform publishing.

Affinity Photo takes after Photoshop in some ways. It has layers, masks, smart objects, color management, CMYK and RGB editing, and decent RAW image editing. Affinity Photo is primarily a photo editing program, so it lacks some extra features found in Photoshop, like 3D editing. The software includes focus stacking, panorama stitching, HDR merging, and digital painting.

Adobe Photoshop Elements | $69,99 – $99.99

  • Best Feature of Paid Version: Many powerful image-manipulation tools, face-tagging, and geotagging capabilities.
  • Biggest Downside of Paid Version: No chromatic aberration correction tool and no lens geometry profiles.

Adobe Photoshop Elements has a simplified user interface and the baked-in AI-powered Adobe Sensei functionality enables you to select subjects in pictures automatically. It makes background removal easier and allows you to convert black and white images to color. A smooth skin option for portrait photos and other excellent features are included.

The Best Free Photo Editing Apps

Some photo editing apps can be expensive. Luckily there are some great free ones too. Whether you need adjustment sliders or want to get rid of unwanted objects, animated overlays, or facial features, there are many free photo and film editing apps that will get you the perfect photos.

Google Photos

  • Best Feature: Attractive, ad-free user interface and excellent facial recognition capability.
  • Biggest Downside: No more free unlimited photo storage.

Google Photos has minimal editing tools. For example, user-controlled sliders are to adjust color, light, and contrast, and it organizes your photos and videos. Google Photos offers easy sharing, automatically backs up your entire image library to the cloud, and syncs your devices with the installed app. Google Photos has paid versions that provide more cloud storage.

PhotoScape X

  • Best Feature: Extensive photo editing tools and combined image editor and viewer.
  • Biggest Downside: No face recognition and no tethering.

PhotoScape X is a photo editing program developed by Mooii Tech for PC devices. PhotoScape X is a photography software program that is a lightweight solution for image manipulation. The extensive editing tools, image effects, and filters are excellent, and there is a paid version for pros with more advanced features.

Adobe Photoshop Camera

  • Best Feature: Powerful AI gets the most out of your shot.
  • Biggest Downside: It always starts up in selfie mode, and it can’t be changed.

Adobe Photoshop Camera has impressive AI-powered picture editing capabilities that apply effects and corrections before or after taking photos. It uses Adobe Sensei and identifies the kind of photo, portrait, or landscape to create masks for aspects like the face or the sky. Adobe Photoshop Camera uses lenses that apply special effects or adjust color, lighting, and clarity.

Adobe Photoshop Express

  • Best Feature: Clear interface, photo editing, embellishment, and social meme tools.
  • Biggest Downside: Creative Cloud subscription is required for many features.

Adobe Photoshop Express includes the ability to straighten, flip, and edit in RAW format or TIFF format. Photoshop Express has a wide range of filters and one-click sharing, resizing, and watermarking. Photoshop Express is suitable for Adobe beginners, but various paid versions provide more features.


  • Best Feature: Attractive user interface and editing tools for exposure and color.
  • Biggest Downside: Most filters require a paid account and no dark-mode support.

VSCO Photo & Video Editor is one of the best photo editing apps available and is a three-in-one camera, social sharing, and iPhone photo photo-sharing app. You can connect with a community of photographers of different levels. With a clean interface and easy-to-use icons, VSCO also works well on android, and the premium version includes over 130 filters for a fee.

Which of the Best Photo Editing Apps Should I Choose?

A mobile phone in photo editing mode with memory cards, photos, and glasses in the background.
You can use photo editing apps on any device. 

Choosing the best photo editing app for you depends on what you want to do with it and what devices you have at your disposal. You should consider your priorities for user experience, creative tools, popular features, and whether you need an app for professional or casual photographers.

If you are considering becoming a photographer, you have many educational opportunities to explore, and using different apps will help you build photo editing skills. While free apps are convenient, app purchases for more advanced software may be a good investment for a career in photography.

Best Photo Editing Apps FAQ

Can a bootcamp help me learn Photoshop?

Yes, Photoshop bootcamps offer valuable resources and flexible payment options to help you gather the necessary skills.

Which is the best photo editing app for Instagram?

The best photo editing app for Instagram is VSCO. Adobe Lightroom Photo Editor is the second best.

Which photo editing app do influencers use?

Influencers use Adobe Lightroom Photo Editor, VSCO, and Afterlight, to name a few, for the perfect photos.

Are photo editing apps safe?

You will need to research the editing apps you are interested in to determine their safety in terms of your devices. Most of them are safe. The Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) speaks about their potential harm to teens. This is because the use of special effects and appearance-editing tools may be harmful to their body image.

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