Navigating Photo Editing Apps and Software

If you’re a causal editor of photos there are several free resources available from the uncomplicated to the nearly-as-complex-as-photoshop-but-still-free options. And, in 2014, editing apps range in the thousands for casual users and professionals alike.
The list begins with the renowned Instagram and on any given day it probably ends with some panorama making app that you haven’t heard of and probably won’t (at least not for a while). It’s a tough and expansive field to navigate as phone photography is on the rise right along with camera tech and social media all which make finding the perfect app nearly impossible.

But, there are two simple things to consider when app shopping:

  1. What are you editing? Pictures from your phone? RAW files your DSLR? Maybe photocopies from the office scanner?
  2. And on what device are you editing? Your hone? A tablet? A desktop computer?
These are important to consider before you pick an editing tool because there are advantages and disadvantages to each. But don’t be afraid of editing photos. Here’s the difference one minutes and a curve set make:

I can’t cover everything in a single blog post but  can redirect you to a handful of lists that I always refer to. I’m also a pretty limited user because I rarely edit photos away from my laptop, I don’t own a tablet, and I almost never use my phone for photography but I’m hoping to use next weeks post to change that or see if it can be changed.

Here is a list of 15, this one for photographers, and this one from the Creative Bloq.

For now, here are the top three editing apps I use and a little why

  • PicMonkey – Similiar to what Picnik was in 2010, this is still what I prefer for quick editing. It has a convenient uploader. It has some filters but it still maintains itself as the powerful editing tool it was back in 2010 when it was still called Picnik and when everyone used the “Cowboy” font on their facebook profile pictures.
  • Instagram – I like instagram a lot for digital photography because it’s quick, easy, and social. Filters can be applied without a second thought, they can be adjusted, and the photo can be posted, tagged, and shared all within the span of minutes. It made phone photography into what it is today and it continues to enhance and expand alongside it.
  • GIMP – This GNU Manipulation program is what ever causal photographer who won’t invest in photoshop needs. It’s Open Source Software, it’s consistently updated and the open licenses is constantly being refined and improved for maximum efficiency. It allows the editor to work with layers and masks and it grants pretty full control of a photo and I use it daily and have been for well over five years now and I don’t have any real complaints, as a casual photographer, about the program. 

Don’t let feel intimidated by photo editing because with a few minutes of research you’ll find an app that applies to every level of skill beginning at zero and continuing well into the professional level.