Best FREE photo-editing apps

I love taking photos.  Selfies, clothes, buildings, sunsets, screenshots: my camera roll is full. But I also love leaving them there, unedited, probably unfocused and not used for anything other than reminiscent scrolling sessions when I’m completely bored.

I probably need to up my game in the whole photography field.   At the moment, I’m that person that it is too impatient to take lots of different pictures and angles to find that *perfect* one.  I have much more of a ‘yeah, that’ll do’ attitude.

Goal for this month: THIS WILL CHANGE.  So when I do start taking decent photos, I’ve been looking into what FREE apps are the best for the editing stage.

For this, I took a throwback photo from traipsing the mountains of Chiang Mai last summer.

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I’m sure this was taken on an iPhone 6, and lighting is a bit all over the place, so I’ve spent time using a number of apps to get the best photo that I could from each!


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The app that everyone who is insta-famous seems to be obsessed with.  And it looks okaaaay, but after trying out all of the (free) filters, and playing about with the further editing tools (exposure, contrast, brightness and all that jazz), this is what I got (note: only using the free version, you can buy lots of other filters).

Pros:  The lighting is a lot better, everything can be seen more clearly and overall the photo looks nice and bright.

Cons:  It’s all just a bit muted.  Despite trying to fix the colours and contrast, everything in the photo seems to blend.


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Oldie but goodie.  Insta is always upping its game with new filters and extra editing tools, and again I played about to get this.

Pros:  Because of the filters, there’s a really nice overall effect on this photo that I didn’t manage to get with any of the other apps.

Cons: Why are the colours still not getting any justice?!?! Very annoying. And I had to go try all of the filters to find the best one.

Adobe PS Express

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I have had this app for ages, and honestly, it is the best for clearly blotchy/shiny skin, red eyes and all similar flaws.  I can usually get a decent edit out of it too.

Pros:  COLOUR!!! I’ve finally got it.  Okay, I probably could have achieved this look on the other apps, because my face is still little more than a shadow here.  Remove me and this picture would be glorious.

Cons: The reason that I could go so far out with the vibrancy, is because nothing I was doing was bringing me out of the shadows anyway.  Not all ‘brightness’ functions are created equal, guys!


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This app is brand new for me.  I only downloaded it a week or so ago at the App stores recommendation.

Pros:  This app has some brilliant functions.  Looks like another good one for blemishes and fixing any general imperfections.  And it’s probably my second favourite edit of this photo anyway.

Cons: For editing this photo?  There didn’t seem to be as many editing options as most of the other apps.  And is it just me, or does it all look a bit, orangey?

iPhone’s own editing software

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Ding ding ding we have a winner!! This is using the tools that are already there, you know when you click ‘edit’ above a photo on your camera roll?  It was my absolute favourite.  There were functions that I had never even heard of in a photography context (brilliance?? black point??) but they all worked together to make a clear, bright photo.  I don’t have any cons for this, it was simple and convenient to use.

Overall Verdict

Of course, every photo is different.  This was really about what could improve bad lighting and work well with the colours of nature. You never know, one of the other apps I mentioned might be perfect for getting that top selfie, or picture in the city??

I will probably play around with all of the apps for each photo that I edit, but for when I don’t have as much time, it’ll be iPhone’s own all the way!!


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