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5 Top Free Photo Apps for Your Smartphone Review

Credit: Limon Das

 

Hamid Amirani - 9.10.20

 

In this week’s post, we’re looking at 5 of the best free photo phone apps out there for Android, iOS or both.

 

 

CANVA

 

Android and iOS

 

 

 

Canva is recommended for businesses or anyone who wants to create promotional and marketing material, such as posters, invitations and logos. Launchberg says, “It takes no time at all to build a design from scratch, and you don't have to be a pro to learn how to use this free photo editing software. It has tons of features that will help you create the ultimate design or touch up your pre-existing photos.”

 

When you open Canva, there are, as the app informs you, more than 60,000 templates to create your project. Or you can build your design.

 

 

 

Say you want to create an invitation to an engagement party.

 

 

You can opt to upload your own photo. For this example, I uploaded a photo I took at a park.

 

 

 

I then decided to add text.

 

The basics are in place.

 

 

 

I added color and the Glitch effect to the main text.

 

 

 

I then changed the font of the smaller text to Glacial Indifference and added color.

 

 

 

To add a bit of fun to the invitation, I browsed the Hand-drawn Love category in Elements and chose three images to fit the engagement theme.

 

 

I added a vibrant background.

 

 

 

Finally, I adjusted the positioning and size of the text and cropped the image to remove the two people.

 

 

 

This is obviously a rudimentary example, done quickly to illustrate some of the app’s features. Once you start exploring, you’ll find you’re truly spoiled for choice in terms of templates and features to let your creativity fly.

 

 

ENLIGHT PHOTOFOX

 

iOS

 

 

 

Enlight Photofox is an award-winning app, only available on iOS. The designers received an Apple Design Award in 2017 for their creation, which Apple described as “a photo editing app with a collection of tools rivaling professional-grade desktop mainstays. It harnesses the full power of the CPU and GPU on iPhone for high performance and low latency.”

 

Its features include “the ability to control tone, color and details” and “a range of painterly effects, including the ability to convert your picture into street art or a realistic looking sketch.”

 

 

Consumer website Oberlo says of Enlight, “One of its most popular features is the ability to blend photos together to create dramatic effects.”

 

However, one downside is that you’re limited to two layers at once in this free version.

 

 

 

Enlight has a YouTube channel with a plethora of tutorials to help you get the most out of the app.

 

Tutorials such as this video that introduces the app’s presets, tools tab and masking.

 

 

 

ADOBE PHOTOSHOP FIX

 

Android and iOS

 

 

 

Creative Bloq describes Adobe Photoshop Fix as “probably the best Adobe app for those just looking to make their smartphone photos better without requiring deep knowledge of editing tools.”

 

I decided to play around with its features using a photo I took of a water feature at a park.

 

 

  

As you see, the app’s tools include the standard options such as crop, adjust, smooth, color and vignette. But as Oberlo says, “it’s the Liquify section that’s truly impressive.”

 

However, I first made a few minor alterations using the lightening and darkening tools on small selected areas of the picture.

 

  

 

I then moved on to the Liquify functions, using Swell and Twirl to radically alter the visual dynamics.

 

 

 

I lastly adjusted the saturation of the image.

 

 

 

The finished photo.

 

 

 

GOOGLE PHOTOSCAN

 

Android and iOS

 

 

The future is truly here! Imagine digitizing your old printed pics without having to use a full scanner. That’s just what Google PhotoScan lets you do.

 

Creative Bloq says, “If putting [your prints] all through a scanner's too much for you, Google's PhotoScan enables you to scan photos with your phone in seconds, without unsightly glare and shadows.”

 

The app also offers automatic enhancement and cropping.

 

 

This video from CNET is a great two-minute tutorial that demonstrates how the app actually takes four photos when you’re digitizing a single pic and then stitches the data together to produce the final image.

As the video narrator points out, PhotoScan doesn’t have the capabilities of a flatbed scanner, but is ideal for anyone who wants a fast and free way to bring treasured prints into the digital age.

 

 

SNAPSEED

 

Android and iOS

 

 

I had a blast using Snapseed! With “an impressive array of filters, brushes, and nondestructive editing tools that will delight any serious photo editing buff,” the app is hailed as the best photo editing app for professional photographers, but I’d say it’s great whatever your skill level.

 

Oberlo joins in with the enthusiasm, highlighting Snapseed’s precision masking that enables editing the depth of field, and the “Selective Adjust” tool that allows you to alter a specific area in your image.

 

I chose a photo I took of a chocolate fountain at a Christmas fair last year. I started by selecting Morning from the app’s Styles.

 

 

 

Next, I browsed the range of tools.

 

 

 

I went for Grainy Film and opted for the X05 filter. I adjusted the level of grain and the style strength, which you do by just swiping your finger left to right on your phone’s screen.

 

 

 

The Perspective tool lets you tilt, rotate and scale your shot. I went for tilt, and its Smart Tilt automatically fills in the gap resulting from the shift.

 

 

 

For my final series of enhancements and adjustments, I selected the Noir tool, opting for the S03 filter to get an old timey look that I love, and changed the grain and style strength levels.

 

 

 

The finished image is a world away from my original photo and has precisely the old, vintage look from a bygone era that I wanted.

 

 

 

As with my Canva example, this again is a relatively straightforward demonstration of the app’s capabilities, but it shows that even a quickfire use of the features can produce striking results.

 

Download one or more of these apps today and start having fun!

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