Today’s cell phone cameras put the power of professional photography into everyone’s pocket. Our ability to capture the moments of our lives, from stunning vacation scenery to the sweetness of a newborn’s toes, is groundbreaking. Do you have the apps you need to make your photos and selfies truly shine? Here are some apps that put the power of the pros at your fingertips to color-correct, edit, and customize your photos.
This $2.99 iPhone app adds a robust suite of features to your phone. Camera+ broadens the range of exposure controls available to you and adds tools such as continuous flash, frontal flash, touch-focus adjustment, 6× digital zoom, a timer, and preset filters. It’s intuitive and easy to use. The Clarity Filter is the primary reason why millions of users are willing to pay for this app. It automatically sharpens, brightens, and color-corrects your images to compensate for poor lighting and create perfect photos every time.
This app offers options that are like Instagram filters on steroids. Afterlight is available for both Android and iPhone and costs just 99 cents, with add-on features that are also priced just under a buck. Dozens of filters, textures, frames, and other options give you unlimited control over your photos so that you can create exactly the right look and mood for each scene. Afterlight is a great tool for bloggers and social media pros who want to designate a signature look for their images; just choose a custom combination of filter, texture, and frame to craft your trademark style.
For years, Lightroom has been the industry standard for professional photographers for cataloging, editing, and color-correcting images, and now it’s available for your mobile device. The free app works best with newer models such as the iPhone 7 Plus, and certain features work only with its iOS 10 and 12MP camera. Rather than using preset filters, Lightroom offers sliders that give you infinite control over your images’ exposure, contrast, tint, vibrance, and more. If you’re a regular Adobe user with a Creative Cloud membership, you’ll appreciate being able to import, edit, and sync your Raw files on the fly.
If you want a simple way to retouch images, this $1.99 app for iPhone and Android does the trick beautifully. Want to remove the power lines from a gorgeous scenery shot, or edit an annoying outlet or bit of trash out of your selfie? This is the app for you. Never again will your photos be ruined by distracting objects. TouchRetouch has functions for line removal, object removal, quick repair, and more. You’ll use this app every day and wonder how you ever lived without it.
Do you take lots of photos of people? Whether you want to be kind to the friends you’ll tag or just glow in your own selfies, you’ll want Kim Kardashian’s favorite app on your phone. Facetune makes it easy to whiten teeth, remove blemishes, smooth out stray hairs, and repair bloodshot eyes in seconds. With one swipe you can create perfectly glowing skin on any model. The aptly named Facetune app (think autotune for your face) is available for iPhone and Android and is priced at $5.99
Manual — RAW Custom Exposure Camera
Are you an old-school film photographer or a pro who wants fine control? Manual can manage the shutter, white balance, ISO, focus, and exposure composition so that you have complete control of your photo from the initial capture. You can set the app on automatic and let it make adjustments for you as you shoot, or you can take charge of every aspect of your photography. New features in the Manual app allow you to toggle easily between 28mm and 56mm lenses and access the app directly from your lock screen. Manual is available for Android and iPhone and is priced at $3.99
If you’ve been using your smartphone camera without one of these helper apps, you’ll be amazed at the difference. Creating professional-quality images with your iPhone or Android is just a download away.