5 Must Have Apps for Mobile Photography

In today’s digital world, we have a new best friend, our smartphone! From traditional uses like making phone calls, on to more current trends like using Snapchat, we use our phones to stay in touch and share our daily lives. What you may not know is that your mobile phone also has a nice little camera.  


With the camera's ability and the world of apps, we are able to capture a moment, do a quick edit and share that moment with the world. When we embrace the power of this tool, we can create dynamic images in a flash. 


There is more to just capturing images, most images need a little editing before you share it on social platforms like Instagram. Even minor changes can help your images pop! 




VSCO - (FREE, with additional paid add-ons) 

App Store 



If you are new to mobile editing, check out an app like VSCO. VSCO is one of the most popular apps for IOS and Android. It covers the essential tools you need to edit your images, as well lots of filters to try out.  


Quick Tips

• Always look at tools like Brightness, Contrast & Saturation, but use them with care

• Use sliders to decrease or increase the amount of an effect

• Try Horizontal or Vertical Perspective Correction

• Sync your VSCO library across multiple devices (iPhone to iPad/Tablet)

• Check out the VSCO Shop for additional filters, some are even available for free

• Edited images are stored in the app, when you are done editing, tap the “…” to save to camera roll

• VSCO is a pretty nice Camera Replacement option

Before + After, VSCO

VSCO C3 Preset + Contrast + Fade) 

 Bristol, England

Image by Kate Hailey




Snapseed - (FREE)

App Store 



VSCO is a great place to start but Snapseed will help you up your mobile photo editing game. Snapseed covers all the essential tools that VSCO does but includes a variety of advanced features. 


Quick Tips

• Every Tool and Filter menu option has a sub-menu, these will let you affect the overall effect of the tool or filter selected

• Snapseed is all about the use of the touch screen:

- Slide up and down on the screen to access sub-menu
- Swipe left and right to increase or decrease an effect

• On iOS, Snapseed can save the file in 3 ways: 

- Save: Saves changes you can undo

- Save a Copy: Save a copy you can undo

- Export: Creates a copy with permanent changes

• On Android, Snapseed with save a copy of your original image with the Snapseed edits


As we mentioned previously Snapseed offers some really advanced editing tools, a few to be sure to check out are Selective, Transform and Healing.  


• Selective allows you the option to affect specific areas within an image, by adjusting brightness, contrast and even saturation.

• Transform will help you adjust images to compensate for buildings that may be tilted in one direction or the other, within Transform you have a Horizontal and Vertical option, give it a try and watch magic happen. 

 • Healing let’s you remove little annoyances. You can do minor retouching or remove small elements within an image. The trick is to zoom in as far as you can, and use small areas to heal.  

Before + After, Snapseed

Tune Image (Brightness, Constrast, Ambiance, Warmth), Transform & Selective Tools.

Portchester Castle, England

Image by Kate Hailey


Adobe Lightroom - (FREE)

App Store 

Google Play 


If you have done any research on photo editing software, you most likely found Adobe’s suite of editing products, like Adobe Lightroom. Lightroom mobile is a version of their software that you can download and use on iOS or Android devices.  


Quick Tips

• Lightroom Mobile does require an account, but it’s free to sign up

• Check out the Presets, these are filters that are great starting points

• Go beyond the Basic options and try Tone Curve, Split Toning and Colour/B&W for more control of your edit

• Lightroom Mobile stores images within the app, if you want to save your edits, you’ll tap on the image to save to your photos app or camera roll

• If you’re already using Adobe’s Lightroom CC, you can use Lightroom Mobile to edit images from your iPad or computer

Before + After, Adobe Lightroom

Edits in: Exposure, Contrast and White Balance

Koh Samui, Thailand 

Image by Kate Hailey




Prisma (FREE) 

App Store 



The first three apps can be used creatively, but an app like Prisma can transform images into art. Prisma is fairly new on the mobile scene, it’s filters range from watercolour effects to street art and many in between.  


Quick Tips

• Prisma currently saves images in the square format, 1080 x 1080 pixels

• Turn off Watermarks in the Settings menu

• If you use Prisma for image capture, be sure to “Save Original Photo” so you have the original, plus your Prisma edit

Before + After, Prisma

Prisma Filter: The Scream

Hallgrímskirkja Church, Reykjavik, Iceland

Image by Kate Hailey




Instagram (FREE)

App Store 



When Instagram was launched in 2010, it had a handful of filters and no adjustment tools. Today it offers a nice selection of editing essentials, as well as a fab selection of filters.  


Instagram is also one of the largest social media networks in the world. With over 400 million registered users, it’s definitely something to check out. The joy of Instagram is being able to share your work with the world.  


Quick Tips  

• Double Tap a filter to access the slider, this lets you reduce the amount of the filter used. As well add a frame (on some filters)

• Tap Edit to access the editing tool set, once you are in the tools, use the sliders to increase or decrease the effect

• Craft a caption that tells the story of your image, but keep your captions short and sweet  

• Try #hashtags to help gain exposure, a few key tags go a long way

• Tag locations, this is a great way to gain audience on your feed, as well fun to see what images other people create in the same places


Instagram is a community of individuals around the world, check out what other people do, follow their work, engage in conversations and have fun! 

Before + After, Instagram

Instagram Clarendon Filter + Contrast & Warmth

The Cheese building (O-14), Dubai, UAE

Image by Kate Hailey


Ultimately, photography is about capturing a moment, telling a story or creating a work of art. Creating something that speaks to you. Through editing, we can place our stamp on those images, our style and view.  

Join An Introduction to Mobile Photography to enjoy hands-on experience using these apps, as well as learning how to best compose and capture images with the native camera app.

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