The 5 Best Photo Editing Apps for iPhone – Free and Paid – in 2021
Gone are the days when you needed a pricey camera setup and a high-powered computer with expensive software to take and edit a stunning photo. Now, Apple devices come packed with a high-powered lens – or three, if you're using the iPhone 12 Pro, which features three 12-megapixel camera lenses.
However, no matter how crystal-clear your photos are, it's unlikely that you're going to share them without a few minor tweaks. Luckily, Apple phones and tablets have more than enough power to handle a mobile photo editing app that will allow you to apply filters, adjust the color, and add trendy Instagram photo effects.
A quick search in the App Store will reveal thousands of paid and free photo editing apps, each offering different features and premium add-ons. But with so many good photo editing apps to choose from, you may not know where to start – or how to find the best photo editing app for your needs.
If you're wondering, "How do I find the best photo editing apps for iPhone?" you're in the right place. We created this guide to help compare the best free and paid photo editing apps for iPhone users so you can quickly edit, export, and upload your photos without worrying about complicated interfaces or lengthy how-to videos.
While all five photo editing apps in this guide have plenty of great features, one stands out from the rest: PhotoDirector. Unlike other photo editing apps, both iPhone users can download the PhotoDirector app for free to enjoy the beginner-friendly editing interface and powerful tools.
Click here to download PhotoDirector and get back to making creative content that stuns your friends, family, and followers. If you're an Android or Chromebook user, PhotoDirector is also available in the Google Play Store. You can also check out our list of top paid and free photo apps for Android.
Top 5 Photo Editing Apps for 2021
There's a reason why professionals and enthusiasts alike choose PhotoDirector over well-known apps like Photoshop Camera, Pixlr, and Snapseed. The all-in-one editor combines expert-grade tools with basic, user-friendly functions in a comprehensive, intuitive interface. It has built-in photo stock libraries so you can pull in visual assets for your projects without leaving the app. Rather than jumping between apps to achieve the desired look, PhotoDirector makes it easy to edit your photos with a few taps of the finger and get back to doing what you love.
Like the other top photo editing apps, PhotoDirector comes with all the editing and adjustment tools that many content creators use daily. You can transform a cell phone snap into a share-worthy photograph in a few seconds with:
- color correction
- lighting adjustment
- custom crops
- photo retouching
- red-eye removal
- ShutterStock royalty-free stock library
- and many more features
You can try adding light rays, make slight changes to your face in portraits, or even turn your pictures into paintings.
The app includes thousands of filters, frames, stickers, and effects that you can use for one-touch editing. Rather than reusing one of Instagram's basic filters, you can choose a PhotoDirector exclusive filter for a fresh, unique, and beautifully enhanced look. Use the text and pen tool to customize your images, or create quick collages, together with the Pic Collage Maker to combine two or more photos into a single work of art.
PhotoDirector provides beginner and experienced editors with more than basic functionality. The app's advanced editing features take your photos from ordinary to extraordinary with a few taps with your finger.
You may have thought that photo animation would require years of experience and expensive desktop editing software. That's not the case when you use PhotoDirector. Easily animate photos or add moving text and stickers for an eye-catching creation. The app's sparkle effect lends a magical touch to every photo, while its masterful object removal tool allows you to cut people or objects out of photos for a crisp, clean finish. Stylize your photos for a cohesive aesthetic, or enhance their quality using the HDR tools.
Thanks to PhotoDirector's portrait tools, your followers will never know that you used your phone to take your latest photo. By adjusting the focus of your photo and using background blur and fade, you can mimic the look of a professionally shot image without draining your bank account. You can even enhance and add light rays to your photos, capturing the elusive, desirable glow of an early morning at home or outdoors.
Your outdoor photos will look better than ever, too, when you use the PhotoDirector sky replacement tool. While you can adjust the color and lighting of your image, the app comes with several presets that you can use to replace the original sky in your photo. Choose to replace a dull gray sky with the deep pinks and purple of a sunset or cloudless blue skies on a sunny day, select the sky of your choice. The app will transform your photo before your eyes then provide you with the options to adjust the horizon, feathering, fade, and ambiance of the sky to suit your photo.
Although you can find countless photo editing apps for your iPhone, when you want the very best, choose PhotoDirector. The PhotoDirector app offers hundreds of editing options, basic and advanced editing and adjusting tools, and AI options like sky replacement, InstaFill, Bokeh effects, and more.
With PhotoDirector, you can capture your vision and create an enviable Instagram feed without the need for expensive editing software or multiple photo editing apps.
2. Adobe Photoshop Camera
Photoshop Camera uses an AI function, called Adobe Sensei, to apply masks, special effects, and some photo corrections to photos before or after you capture the image. The app's filters – known as "lenses" – offer a wide variety of colors, lighting options, and special effects to transform your photo in a single click. Some lenses also include animated elements, such as shooting stars or movable smart objects.
Adobe continues to add new lenses to the app, each with several variations that can result in highly stylized photos. That said, while the app allows amateur photographers to get creative with point-and-shoot photographs, the lack of essential editing tools or advanced functions like animation, sky replacement, and Bokeh effect make it more suited to casual users than serious content creators.
If you want real capability alongside creativity, you may prefer PhotoDirector's comprehensive set of intuitive editing functions.
- The app adds new lenses regularly, with a variety of adjustable options
- Adobe Sensei tailors masks and filters based on the type of photo
- Easy, point-and-shoot style of editing works well for inexperienced users
Pixlr specializes in providing just enough variety for users. You won't ever feel overwhelmed by the available options. Still, you can use intuitive brushes for specific edits, like darkening an overly bright photo, as well as preset effect, overlay, and style filters to transform your photos into black-and-white, film, or sepia tones.
While Pixlr is free to download, the free version of the app has ads and limits your access to editing tools and creative content like stickers, borders, fonts, and overlays. You can upgrade to Pixlr Premium for $7.99 per month or choose the Creative Pack to access stock content for $179.88 per year.
That said, while casual users may enjoy the simplicity of the Pixlr app, anyone who wants access to comprehensive editing tools and advanced effects may find Pixlr lacking in more than one area. While Pixlr's Premium subscription offers access to more editing tools, the price is more than twice the cost of PhotoDirector's monthly subscription and doesn't provide users with the ability to create professional-quality edits on the go.
- The free version includes some basic editing tools, filters, and overlays
- The app comes with several collage templates for easy creation
- Its beginner-friendly interface works well for those with little or no experience with editing software
- The $7.99 monthly subscription removes ads and unlocks Premium content
PicsArt combines community with a user-friendly editing app for a fun, creative experience without a lot of hassle. While the free app features a somewhat excessive number of ads that pop up while editing, even those who are brand new to photo editing can access all of the basic tools while enjoying stickers, collage templates, and text functions.
Like Adobe Photoshop Camera, you can also use PicsArt with your camera, applying filters, effects, and overlays to photos before you take them. Quickly crop, resize, flip or rotate, and enhance photos using the PicsArts "Effect" menu, or use the Dispersion tool to create stunning, dramatic images with the click of a finger.
If your interest in photography extends to sharing daily moments with your family, then PicsArt's functional tools can help you make minor tweaks and adjustments to your snapshots. You can also enjoy:
- trendy filters
- bold, colorful text
- cloning options
- an eraser tool to remove objects from your photos
Unlike other free editing apps, PicsArt even offers a "Motion" effect, allowing you to animate your images.
However, the major disadvantage to the PicsArt app lies in its pricey premium subscription and lack of truly advanced editing tools such as sky replacement, light rays, and other features you can find in PhotoDirector's editing suite.
- Solid lineup of editing tools for casual photographers
- Wide variety of stickers, filters, and personalizable collages
- Simple, easy to use interface that allows beginners to edit without a learning curve
- Ability to remove ads with a $4.67/month premium subscription
If you're searching for a fun, simplistic photo editing app for casual use, Snapseed may not be the best app for you. Featuring a lineup of professional-quality editing tools, options to adjust color and exposure, and selective editing tools to perfect every image, Snapseed's powerful capabilities make it well suited for experienced content creators and photographers in search of a mobile editing interface.
While the editing platform is simple and streamlined, the array of editing tools – such as curves, imagine tuning, selective brushes, and detailed lighting and color scales – may feel overwhelming to beginners who only want to make a few small tweaks.
However, if you've got some experience in editing photos, you may enjoy the variety of options as well as the ability to layer edits and save "Looks" to apply to photos later. You can also use Snapseed's Portrait mode to smooth skin, brighten eyes, and create a pro-quality image with a single click. You can even capture more advanced editing techniques like Bokeh using Snapseed's lens blur tool.
Snapseed also comes with several automatic filters, which you can then customize using the app's 30-plus editing tools. Additionally, the app is totally free, with no premium features.
That said, while Snapseed comes with more editing tools and filters than the other apps mentioned in this guide, the learning curve may be intimidating to novice users. PhotoDirector, in contrast, provides users with countless presets and guided modules to animate, enhance, and adjust their photos in seconds.
- Over 30 professional-quality editing tools
- Presets and filters for one-tap editing
The Best Apps to Make On-the-Go Editing Easier than Ever
A few years ago, you most likely snapped a selfie using your cell phone, applied an Instagram filter, and shared it with the world. Now, amateur phone photographers may jump between editing apps and even apply additional touch-ups or tweaks from desktop photo editing software before sharing an image online.
Luckily, you can capture your vision and achieve stunning results using one of the top five best photo editing apps for iPhone users. While each of our top five picks has its advantages, only PhotoDirector combines ease of use with a low monthly subscription and comprehensive editing tools in a single photo editing app.
Even beginners can create shareable photos in minutes using PhotoDirector's lighting and color adjustments. You will be able to apply filters, combine images into a collage using the highly customizable templates, or brighten your photos with light rays and animated sparkle. PhotoDirector's AI editing tools include complete sky replacement as well, allowing you to adjust or remove the sky in your original image and seamlessly integrate a lovely morning or evening display. Animation is easy, as well, thanks to the app's guided modules, which allow you to add motion to your photo in minutes.
Whether you're an experienced content creator or a novice, you can edit Instagram photos like a pro using PhotoDirector. From animation to bold and vibrant text, this all-in-one editing app can transform your photos into portraits or unique works of art.
Edit, animate, and customize your photos to suit your social media profile's theme, inspire your followers, and impress your friends and family. Get started for free today by downloading the PhotoDirector app.