Best Free Smart Phone Photo Apps
Have you ever looked at your friend’s social media & thought, wow, their photos look amazing? Perhaps they are the next David Bailey, or perhaps they’ve got a little help from a photo app.
There are literally hundreds of smart phone photo apps on the market, some free, some not. Some brilliant, and some less so.
Here at Vintage Photo Lab we pride ourselves on knowing a thing or two about photography. It seemed only right and proper that we try and test some of the best free smart phone photo apps out there; here’s our top four.
Snapseed is produced by Google and is part of the larger family of free apps in the Google family. It’s designed to be simple to use; with a basic understanding of smartphone operations, the user should be able to easily navigate the app.
There are some really good features, the vintage filters add a nice retro feel, added to the frames and borders you can easily create your own masterpiece. There is a good face recognition and enhancement feature, which will soften the skin and smooth blemishes, ideal for selfies. You can add text in different fonts, sizes in fun graphic layouts.
My favourite feature is the perspective adjustment. As someone who loves to take photos of buildings I get frustrated by the inability of my phone to handle perspective, but with a simple tap and swipe I can make my images a little straighter.
I really like this app. It’s straight forward to use and has a lot more features than you’ll find on your built-in camera or even Instagram, plus there are video tutorials ‘Insights’ to help if you get stuck.
Photofix is produced by Adobe, the absolute geniuses who made Photoshop. I was really excited to see what Abobe had produced and pleasantly surprised to find the app was free.
The first big difference compared to Snapseed is that you’ll need to sign up for an Adobe account – this is also free and enables you to store your edited work in your own Adobe Cloud account, which can be accessed from any device – which is a great feature.
This is a well-developed app made by people with years of experience in this field. The healing tool is excellent, ideal for removing big and small content from your photos; such as a post from behind someone’s head. The de-focus feature is very smart and lets you enhance portraits by blurring out the background and creating a greater depth of field.
This is more of a professional app and less intuitive than others, the user would really benefit from having previous experience of full blown Adobe products.
Prisma is simple and it’s fun. Unlike the first two apps we’ve looked at, Prisma is a little simpler. It focuses on doing just a few things, but boy does it do them well!
Prisma enables you to add Art filters not only to your photos, but to your videos as well. You can add water colour effects, make your photo like a sketched drawing, and even create a Mondrian masterpiece. Where this app excels is not that you can add filters to your photos – lots of apps can – with Prisma you can add the filters to your videos. My kids loved this, really simple and fun to do.
You can also sign up to a Prisma account, free again, where you can share your work with other Prisma users, on a platform not too dissimilar to Instagram.
Like Prisma, Lens Distortions focuses on doing just a couple of things, and doing them really well.
Lens Distortions lets you add more natural effects to your photos, whether it’s sun highlights, clouds of mist or flare from a camera lens. The makers state all the filters are genuine, photographed for real, digitally captured and formed to provide the filter. This I can believe, the effects when thoughtfully applied can make your photos look stunning. It does have a more professional feel and excels in landscape & portrait enhancement as opposed to a quick selfie fix.
The free version comes with a smaller range of filters which can be upgraded from £2.99 to £4.99, but I’m not sure it’s essential. The free filters are simple to use and good enough and there’s plenty of scope to make excellent photos.
The Best of The Rest
Here’s just a quick look at four other apps that will only cost a pound or two that we think are great.
Instant – The Polaroid Instant Camera
Shake it! Shake it like a Polaroid picture; a very cool retro app which turns your photos into the iconic Polaroid photo. Comes with a good range of filters and retro effects – £1.99
Good photo editing package. Quick and easy to use with a large range of filters frames and textures. A little more professional than Snapseed, easier than Photofix. – £0.99
A cool app which allows the user to select, adjust and blur different areas of the photo. This can create a more professional style photo with enhanced depth of field. – £0.99
A smart app designed to remove unwanted objects from your photos. One touch and easy to use interface, backed up by step by step tutorials. – £1.99
There is a myriad of photo apps out there, some all singing-all dancing, some more singular and focused. This is just a few of the top apps available right now. So when thinking about what the best free smart phone photo app is for you; consider how much time you want to spend editing, but also how you generally share your photos; there’s a lot of fun to be had!
At Vintage Photo Lab we love a bit of retro photography and are proud to say we are specialists in scanning and preserving your old photos. If you’d like a free trial of our services or would like to chat about how we can help, do get in touch we’d love to hear from you.