Filter Through the Noise: Our Favorite Photo-Editing Apps

Remember when you had to take your film to drugstore kiosk just to see your photos? Or remember spending hours in a darkroom practicing something like alchemy to add interesting effects to pictures? Neither do we. Taking, editing, and sharing photos today is almost too easy. We simply point, shoot, crop, edit, and share them in minutes.


A staggering array of photo-editing apps have emerged, some with enormous communities, and each with its own bag of special filters and tricks to make your pics really pop. With so many apps available, it can be a challenge to find the one that’s just right for you.


Fear not, we’re here to help. Here are some of our favorite, most useful and fun photo-editing apps.




Adobe Lightroom Mobile


Our take: For the pro on the go.

Adobe brings its famous imaging-editing chops to a mobile platform, and the result is an impressive app with a lot of unique features. Users with phones that can capture RAW files will be happy to know that Lightroom can edit those files. Adobe’s history feature ensures that every version of your edits is preserved, along with the original. Though the app works well enough for beginners, with its tons of manual and preset effects, it’s made for pros.


Best for:

Design and photo pros who have phones that can capture RAW images and an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription.


Aviary Photo Editor


Our take: We want it all, and we want it NOW.

With over 1.3 million downloads, Aviary is one of the best-known photo-editing apps, and for good reason. It’s easy to use, and comes loaded with features and filters (including one that makes your pictures 3D), a one-button color fix, teeth whitening, red eye removal, and all manner of frames and stickers. A common theme in reviews about Aviary is its ability to make bad photos look like masterpieces.


Best for:

Everyday users who desire more options and combinations than they could ever hope to use.




Our take: Great for a quick spin.

Spinly distinguishes itself by being the most slimmed-down app of the group. By distilling the features down to what users will likely use most often, Spinly is one of the easiest (and fastest) editing apps. The cropping feature allows you to select borders that are optimized for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Tumblr.


Best for:

Beginners and active sharers who want more interesting filters than the limited options provided on social media sites.


Photo editing tech is developing so rapidly, this list could change in a blink of an eye. Do you know of any new and ultra-cool new photo-ware? What are your current favorites?


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