6 free photo apps for Android and iOS

6 free photo apps for Android and iOS

MOST of us are ‘snap-happy’ in one way or another, young or old. So which photo apps can get you that ideal picture you want? Which one won’t cost you a cent (or sen)?
 
Here's a roundup of useful and effective free photo apps for the iOS and Android platforms.

 
VSCO Cam

Platform: iOS and Android
 
Features
 
VSCO Cam is undoubtedly one of the most effective photo apps we’ve seen. Its camera is rather basic, and we actually do prefer using the phone’s camera over VSCO’s.
 
Still, VSCO’s camera is quite neat as it allows you to define exposure and focus points, as well as lock white balance. Or if you prefer, just let VSCO Cam do its work on ‘Auto.’
 

6 free photo apps for Android and iOS

The editing tools, however, is where the magic happens. Even if the photo looks on the dull side, VSCO’s editing tools can transform it into something really awesome, and it’s no wonder this app is so popular.
 
Editing is not limited to photos taken with the VSCO Cam either. Some of us use it purely for its editing tools, after adding photos from the phone to the VSCO library. Tapping on an image in the library will display icon options to edit, share to the VSCO community, export or delete the image.
 
The edit button is the one that looks like two adjustable bars. It will take you directly to a row of VSCO’s 10 free one-tap preset filters (which are identified by a letter and number).
 
Tapping any of the thumbnails changes the filters, while tapping twice will activate a 12-step sliding scale to adjust the intensity of the filter.
 
These filters are all fantastic, and we find that they are enough to create some awesome photos, depending if you want photos that are high-contrast, over-saturated or black-and-white.
 
But if you want more variety, then there is an option to purchase more from the shop, from S$1.28 (US$0.90) onwards.
 

6 free photo apps for Android and iOS 

Press on the little arrow below the preset filters and four options will appear: A paintbrush for presets (selected view), a wrench for advanced editing tools, an arrow for undoing edits, and a list of all edits done previously.
 
The wrench allows you to mess around with the photos even more, changing the selected preset filters even further.
 
Besides the usual exposure, cropping, contrast and white balance, photos can also be edited for clarity, highlights, shadows and skin tone.
 
Photos can also be made to look like they've been subject to the sun’s rays for a long time, or look more grainy, or you can even add a vignette to decrease the clarity along the sides.
 
What we like: Definitely the editing tools, for their ability to transform an ordinary photo to a fantastic one. It’s no wonder so many photographers, both amateurs and professionals, swear by this app.

 
Snapseed
 
Platform: iOS and Android
 
Features
 
This is also well liked by many photographers, and it’s not hard to see why. The camera function is quite basic, although the ability to assess a taken photo before accepting it is a plus.
 

6 free photo apps for Android and iOS

Once accepted, there is a histogram at the bottom left that changes as edits are being made. Tap on the pencil icon on the right, and a list of editing tools and filters comes up.
 

6 free photo apps for Android and iOS

Using the editing tools takes a little getting used to. Once an editing option is tapped – say, the tune image option – there doesn’t seem to be any obvious tools to make the adjustments, which are activated by touching the screen.
 
Adjustments are done either by swiping up and down to further choose different options like brightness and contrast, or swiping left and right to change the intensity.
 

6 free photo apps for Android and iOS

The filters give even more editing options, and effects like lens blur, drama, grainy film, glamour glow, grunge, vintage and noir. Some effects have several preset options, where filter strength, saturation, glow and graininess can be further adjusted, so that the final result is really personalised.
 
What we like: We are impressed by Snapseed’s range of editable options. The histogram is helpful too, making sure that the edits made are not over excessive.

 
Camera360

Platform: iOS and Android
 
Features
 
As a camera, the Camera360 app is quite fun. Within the camera mode itself, one can already change effects and use various filters before taking photos.
 
One can either toggle randomly through the various effects and filters, or opt to choose based on categories such as Easy Cam, Auto, Magic Skin and LOMO. Choosing categories like the latter two will open up further preset options to adjust the effects.
 

6 free photo apps for Android and iOS

Now what is interesting about the Camera360 is this: Swiping up from the bottom right-hand corner will reveal four curved adjustable bars for adjusting white balance, macro, ISO and shutter speed.
 
The interface is refreshing, and honestly, it is quite fun to be scrolling across the page from left to right and back again.
 

6 free photo apps for Android and iOS

Camera360 also has a Selfie Pro function. It has more than 10 presets, with Auto Contouring. After taking the selfie, the app allows for the image to be further edited to smoothen or whiten skin tone, remove acne or even sharpen the nose.
 

6 free photo apps for Android and iOS

What we like: The curved adjustable bars. Definitely. We also like the selfie capability in one single app.

 
BeautyCam
 
Platform: iOS and Android
 
Features
 
With the selfie and wefie rage these days, this app can practically make one a selfie expert and be the focus of the party, for both still images and videos. It automatically edits selfies and wefies, smoothing skin tones and adding effects and filters.
 
There is also an option to edit photos already taken, and the editing capabilities are quite impressive.
 
There is a range of editing tools to smoothen skin, adjust skin tones, retouch undesirable details, slim facial features, enlarge or brighten eyes, remove dark circles or even whiten teeth.
 
We also like the fact that we can compare edited photos with unedited ones. Indeed, one can look drastically different with the wonders of technology. There’s no reason for anyone to feel shy about the way he or she looks.
 

6 free photo apps for Android and iOS

Once the selfie function is tapped, the front camera is automatically activated, but there is an option to switch cameras. However, with its selfie capabilities, I doubt anyone would switch cameras.
 
There are four different options for beautifying photos: Filters, Beauty, Makeup and Dreamy. The Filters option sets predetermined filters, allowing their intensity to be adjusted after taking photos, or simply change the filter.
 

6 free photo apps for Android and iOS 

The Beauty option lets one edit photos after taking them. Editing includes smoothing the skin and adjusting the skin’s fairness or rosiness. Pretty neat, we think.
 
The Makeup option is where the magic happens. Females who don’t wear makeup can magically add makeup to their complexion, and then adjust the intensity. If the app can’t detect the facial features, then the positions of the eyes and mouth can be manually set so that the makeup can be added appropriately.
 
Even ‘beauty moles’ can be added. Yup, now you know why your friend suddenly looks so different.
 

6 free photo apps for Android and iOS

The Dreamy option adds visual effects, like stars, sakura petals and even snow. Similar effects like planets can also be added to videos, with the Video Selfie function. Music too, can be added.
 
What we like: Many photo apps make edits that affects the whole photo in general. However, the BeautyCam app impresses us with its ability to isolate facial features.

 
Camera 51
 
Platform: iOS and Android
 
Features
 
With this app, anyone new to mobile photography or consider themselves terrible at image composition, the Camera51 app can ensure that every shot is the best shot.
 
First off, it begins with an animated demo, which shows how the app analyses the scene to be taken, and then indicates where to point to get the best shot.
 

6 free photo apps for Android and iOS

So we gave it a try, and true enough, it’s really easy-peasy. Just line the smartphone icon with the rectangle shown onscreen, and then take the photo.
 
Though we took the photo below in portrait, it appears that this app is more suited for a landscape orientation. Editing functions are limited.
 
What’s interesting though are alerts that can be turned on or off, like the Peripheral Object Alert, which detects prominent interfering objects around the frame boundaries with a bright red flash; and the Multi Object Selection option that allows a selection of up to three different interest points, to help the app to work out the best point to get a shot.
 

6 free photo apps for Android and iOS 

What we like: We like that the app is so intuitive, thanks to its image recognition technology, and its ability to sense whether the image is obeying the rule of thirds, even before it is taken.

 
PhotoWonder
 
Platform: iOS and Android
 
Features
 
This app doesn’t have many filters to begin with, but they do look really good. So it is worth using the app just for these effects.
 
It has got a great collage feature though, with many layouts to choose from. Coupled with a speedy processing speed, the PhotoWonder app is extremely easy to use.
 

6 free photo apps for Android and iOS

What we like: The grid. It helps to ensure that all images follow the rule of thirds.
 
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