Since 2010, there has not been a more influential phone application than Instagram. The app spread so quickly through its simplicity from filters to sharing. Like most apps, Instagram owes some props to Twitter, which helped the app take off seemingly overnight.
In beginning users frequently experienced outages as only the two founders of the company were running the entire application. They constantly struggled to keep the app from crashing as thousands of users flooded their service.
Even after Instagram's changes and updates, they never cluttered the app with useless features and updates like most other apps. Instagram now counts more than 400 million users and now has sponsored content.
However, the app still doesn't provide a way to zoom on an image you capture through the app, but the app changed how we think about sharing images and brands. Instagram is the #1 app that has helped to raise the popularity of mobile photography with its many editing filters.
Hipstamatic was Apple's first app of the year after introducing photo filters and square images before Instagram entered the market.The Hipstamatic app gives photographers a simple, yet unique way to create stunning images.
Hipstamatic is made to mimic the effect of different types of vintage films, modern films, lenses, and flashes. By using different combinations, you can gain a wide range of different photography effects. It is the closest app that gives the effects of actual photography equipment and basic Photoshop effects all in one.
Hipstamatic allows you to use multiple exposure to shoot multiple images in one shot, manually control focus, ISO, shutter speed, aspect ratio, and white balance.
Hipstamatic comes with a basic collection of film, lens and flash options, and costs $2.99 on the App Store. You then have the option to purchase dozens of additional films, lenses and flashes as in-app purchases. In 2010, Hipstamatic started offering prints of your digital photos as the first service to print square photos and now ships to 200 countries.
Camera+ is the app that gave Apple a run for their money. In 2010, the app got banned from the App Store since it let users change the iPhone’s volume button into a physical camera shutter. Apple later copied that exact feature in iOS 5. Camera+ was also one of the first camera apps to have grid lines, something else Apple copied later on.
Camera+ now has over 14 million users and has always provided better features than Apple's standard camera app.
The app's camera is wonderful for easily separating the focus and exposure points, and provides full manual control of exposure settings.
Camera+ features a built-in “macro” mode which uses digital zoom to create amacro effect and has a huge range of tools for editing and enhancing your images. There are automatic preset adjustments, as well as an excellent range of manual slider adjustments for exposure, color and sharpness as well options for rotating, straightening and applying a vignette.
Another great feature of Camera+ is the extensive and varied set of filters that it offers for editing. The app also has a handy way of previewing how each filter effect will appear on your image before you apply it. You can easily layer up multiple filters and adjust their intensity.
While very easy to use, this is an app that you can spend a long time with and still not use every option. Camera+ sells for $2.99 on the App Store.
VSCO works as a camera app, but it’s the rich collection of filters and editing tools has gained momentum in their popularity.
VSCO stands for the Visual Supply Company, and they built their reputation by creating unique film emulation presets that can be used with Adobe Lightroom. For mobile photographers, they have packed that editing power into this app.
Unlike other apps where the filters can be a little harsh, VSCO’s filters are generally designed to emulate classic and modern analog films. Many of the filters feature a soft, slightly faded look that has quickly become very popular amongst mobile photographers.
The strength of every filter can be adjusted to suit your taste, and the app also features a number of highly-effective editing tools for adjusting exposure, color and more.
VSCO is free to download and comes with a basic collection of filters to get you started. You can then download additional bundles of filters from $0.99 and $5.99 per bundle.
Launched as VSCO Cam in 2012, VSCO quickly set itself apart with its carefully crafted “presets” and editing controls that were meant to make iPhone photos look like they were shot on film. This became highly praised by professional photographers and amateurs for its ability to add a richness and depth to photos. With more than 70 million #VSCO tags on Instagram, it remains one of the most influential photo apps to ever grace the iPhone.
5. Pic Stitch
As our smartphones gained a higher image resolution and apps became more advanced in sharing them, we needed better apps to show them off.
Pic Stitch is the best photo collage app on the market. With a couple of dozen layout options and custom borders, filters and other effects, Pic Stitch has long been one of the most popular collage makers. It was ranked 7 in Mashable's best photo apps of all time.
The app is a little less relevant now that Instagram and many others have added the ability to build collages, but Pic Stitch paved the way and still has more advanced collage features than most camera capturing and editing apps.
Pic Stitch offers 245 different layouts, 15 photo aspect ratios, QuickPrint sent to your local Walgreens, custom photo boarders, fx filters, high resolution export, sharing on social media platforms, and exporting to Instagram and Dropbox.
6. Google Photos
There have been plenty of photo apps for iPhone, but Google Photos outclasses them all by offering unlimited storage for every picture and video you capture.
There are restrictions on size of 16MP and 1080p, and the app is perfectly suited for cloud photo storage since it isn't weighed down by kitchen-sink cloud services like Dropbox, Box, and OneDrive. Despite their individual image size restriction, the offer free unlimited storage
The impressive tech of the application includes organizing your pics by face, event and even object.
Google embarrasses the iPhone’s Photos app with better scrolling and selection tools.You can now get automatically created movies, collages, animations, panoramas, and transform photos with a tap. Use simple, yet powerful, photo and video editing tools to apply filters, and adjust lighting.
Google Photos offers smarter shared albums, instant sharing, and casting of photos and videos on you TV with Chromecast.
Darkroom is the perfect best of both worlds photo editing tool. Darkroom is remarkably simple while also giving you more “pro” level tools than a lot of photo editing apps.
You can edit photos without going through the pain of importing them, and also use the app to create your own filters. This can link to your own Instagram account.
Darkroom makes it easier and faster than ever to capture the perfect look for your photos. Skip the import process and start editing in our refreshingly simple interface. Make, edit, and share filters with the Pro Kit using powerful yet easy to use tools.
Like in Photoshop, manipulate curves, color, and tone. Unlike Instagram you can actually share different filters you create with the community. All filters link back to your Instagram account so you get followers as your filters spread!
8. ProCamera 8
ProCamera 8 offers all of the features of Apple's camera app plus a wide range of additional tools that offer users even more control.
These features include fully-manual exposure control, adjustable shooting grids, an innovative HDR mode and image stabilization.
ProCamera 8 even offers a substantial set of editing tools for processing your images afterwards. You can also import images from your camera roll to edit in ProCamera 8.
One of the best features of ProCamera 8 is that it allows the user to control the quality/size of the photos taken. While the native camera takes very good quality photos in JPEG format, ProCamera 8 allows for an even higher quality JPEG setting and TIFF format.
ProCamera 8 sells for $4.99 on the App Store. Updated for iOS 9 and Watch OS 2.0 with HDR, new filters, special selfie mode and more. ProCamera is a smaller download than ever!
Snapseed is a powerful image editing app that is completely free to download. The app offers a wide range of standard editing tools for adjusting color and exposure, along with some special effect filters and effects.
It includes a unique Selective Adjustment tool, which allows you to change the brightness, contrast and color saturation of only select portions of an image.
While there are dozens of apps available that offer many of the same tools as SnapSeed, what sets this app apart from the rest is how easy it is to use compared to pricey photo apps.
The app's Tune image feature allows you to use to auto adjust for instant fixes, to create depth and vibrancy that uniquely adapts to colors and fine tune brightness, saturation, and contrast. Snapseed even gives users the option of painting different effects throughout different parts of a single image.
10. Filterstorm Neue
Filterstorm Neue offers many of the features and editing control of more powerful desktop applications like Lightroom and Photoshop, but in a mobile-friendly format.
If you’re interested in learning more advanced editing techniques and taking your iPhone photography to another level, it’s definitely worth investing some time in learning how to use this app, though it is not the easiest to use.
Filterstorm Neue includes a powerful Curves control for fine tuning brightness and contrast. It takes a bit of time to learn how to use a Curves tool effectively like in Photoshop.
One feature that really sets Filterstorm Neue apart from the rest is that for many of its adjustment features it allows you to selectively apply those effects through a number of tools, including a powerful masking brush as well as radial and linear gradient filters. Filterstorm Neue sells for $3.99 on the App Store.
Filterstorm Neue provides all the photo editing tools you'll need, from powerful masking tools to simple pre-made filters. Photojournalists enjoy features like FTP and IPTC metadata with code replacements purists can use curves and masking to dodge and burn like in Photoshop.
Many apps now offer the ability to remove unwanted elements from a photo, but TouchRetouch is still one of the easiest and most effective apps for this purpose.
You simply use your finger to highlight the objects that you want to remove, then just tap Start and the app does the rest. Much like Photoshop's content-aware tool, it removes the unwanted objects and replacing them with pixels from the surrounding area.
Removing more complicated elements may take a few tries to get it perfect, and the way you swipe over the object results into which pixels your app replaces. But TouchRetouch makes it easy to start over if you aren’t happy with the results the first time.
You can also duplicate objects by cloning them to another area of the image. Like most photo apps, TouchRetouch, allows easy photo sharing throughout various mobile platforms. TouchRetouch sells for $1.99 on the App Store.
Mextures is a fantastic and easy to use app for applying textures to your photos with over 150 original textures. It also includes a solid collection of basic photo editing tools, but it’s better known for its ability to layer textures and other effects.
Mextures is the only app for applying film grain, textures, light leaks and beautiful gradients to your images in seconds. You can even save your specific editing “formulas” and share them with other users of Mextures.
When adding a texture, you can control the opacity as well as the rotation of the effect, thereby offering you an almost unlimited number of editing options.
While editing a photo and adding layered effects, you can also remove any particular layers before saving. This gives you a greater range of control over the editing process.
Mextures sells for $0.99 on the App Store. Watch our in-depth Mextures video tutorial to learn more about using this app.
13. Slow Shutter Cam
How many times have you tried to capture artful images with your iPhone camera but were left wishing you had more features to work with?
Slow Shutter Cam brings new life into your device's photo toolbox by letting you capture a variety of amazing slow shutter speed effects that you only thought you could get with a DSLR.
Equivalent to the shutter priority mode on a DSLR, the Motion Blur mode is perfect for creating ghost images, waterfall effects or suggesting movement in your photographs by adding a blur.
The Light Trail mode allows you to 'paint' with light, show car light trails and fireworks or capture any other moving light in a unique way. Unlike shooting with a DSLR and being tied to specific rigid settings to obtain good results, the Light Trail mode takes care of the essentials, letting your creativity soar!
In low light conditions, this capture mode allows the camera to accumulate every photon of light hitting the sensor. The longer the shutter speed, the more light it will accumulate. You can even fine-tune the result using the exposure compensation slider to achieve the exact effect you want.
EyeEm is another app based around an online photo-sharing community, and while not yet as large as the Instagram community, it’s growing rapidly and works a bit differently.
This is also the community where you can share your photos and participate in our weekly photo contest.
Just like Instagram, EyeEm also features a set of basic editing tools and filters that you can apply to photos taken with the app itself, or imported from your camera roll.
Unlike Instagram, EyeEm offers is called Open Edit. This allows you to see how other photographers used the EyeEm app to edit their images. It is a great way to learn about the editing workflows of other photographers and apply some of the same techniques to your own images.
Currently EyeEm includes 15 million photographers around the globe that makes it easy to learn different editing techniques throughout their 24 adjustable photo filters. Eye Em will even let you license your photos on thier EyeEm Market and other premium marketplaces like Getty Images. This app makes it easy to sell you images and get your work discovered and published worldwide by leading agencies, brands and media outlets.