You might expect to need a powerful desktop or laptop to start photo editing, but there are in fact many great photo editors available for the iPad. Whether you're looking for the core of the world of photo editing or just want to add a cool effect to your photos, there is definitely an app for you.
What to Look for in an iPad Photo Editor
There is plenty to think about when selecting the right photo editor. Photo editing is a deep world, and there are many ways apps can distinguish themselves. Here are some general categories you can think of to find an app that's right for you.
- Intuitive Design: It is difficult to make a powerful photo editing app easy to use. The sheer number of tools and options they present will undoubtedly make an app no matter how skilled the developers are. Still, there are ways to make the learning process easier for the user, and it is always appreciated.
- Focus: Photo editors can vary widely in their focus. Some may want to be the most powerful tool on the market, while others just want you to have fun adding special effects to your photos. Just by those short descriptions, you can probably tell which end of the spectrum you need and want near land, but really it's just a matter of finding an app that matches what you want.
- Basic Tools: Anyway from the focus of an app, it should include some basic functions such as cropping and color adjustments. These functions are always handy to have on hand, regardless of the type of photo editing you do.
- Bonus Features: Some of the apps in this list include things like cloud storage or video editing. These are by no means necessary functions for a great photo editing app, but they are always nice to have on hand.
- Payment Model: Most photo editors require you to pay to access all of their features. This can be done through a large one-time purchase, smaller in-app purchases for specific features, or a monthly or annual subscription. We will clearly state what each app wants from you in this regard.
With all that getting out of the way, let's take a look at some apps.
Full Power: Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom
You have probably already heard of Adobe and its photo-editing programs. But what you may not know is that Adobe has transferred almost full versions of those programs to the iPad.
Photoshop is one of, if not the most powerful desktop photo editor. Thanks to the wealth of features and tools you can use, you can edit and refine photos in any way imaginable. This is why it's so impressive that Adobe was able to bring it to the iPad, while the program was largely identical to its desktop counterpart.
Of course, the design was changed to be friendlier to a touchscreen, but you can still update photos, compose, mix and crop photos, and use unlimited layers. The app even uses the same PSD file format as the desktop version, so you can easily switch between platforms with Adobe's cloud storage service.
As for customizing the app for the iPad, Adobe also included gesture controls and the ability to adjust the Apple Pencil for more precision (which you definitely need when performing complex operations).
Photoshop for iPad is free to download and gives you a 30-day free trial. After that you have to pay for it monthly. Just like on desktop, you have a few options for doing this, but the Adobe Photography bundle (which starts at $ 9.99 per month) is your best option. It includes 20 GB of cloud storage (which is expandable), both the desktop and iPad versions of Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom – the next program we'll talk about.
While Photoshop is Lightroom, a photo editor of pure power, it wants to simplify things a bit. As for the actual photo editing options, everything is done with simple sliders and presets to adjust things like color and shadow. It may not offer the more advanced tools that something like Photoshop can give you, but Lightroom still offers enough tools to make unique and great looking edits.
Lightroom also excels in another area: photo organization. Lightroom makes it incredibly easy to sort and manage your photos as you see fit. You can even batch-process a lot of photos at once for a consistent look. And, like Photoshop, you can use Adobe's cloud storage to jump back and forth between platforms, making the organization part of Lightroom even more useful.
Lightroom is free to download, but if you want access to features like batch editing and cloud storage you have to pay for it. As we mentioned earlier, you can get Lightroom in the Adobe Photography bundle in addition to Photoshop for $ 9.99 per month with 20 GB of cloud storage (which is expandable). You can also only get Lightroom for $ 9.99 per month with 1 TB of cloud storage if you don't need Photoshop.
Power without subscription: Affinity Photo
If you don't want to pay the premium subscription for Photoshop while still having a photo editor that can match it in functionality, then Affinity Photo is the app for you. Like Photoshop, Affinity Photo is a desktop application that has been transferred to the iPad while retaining the large selection of tools and functions.
Affinity Photo is a newer program than Photoshop, with a more modern design and a smoother overall feel. Like Photoshop, Affinity Photo for the iPad is still powerful enough to edit and refine photos, create composites, and use unlimited layers with real-time blending modes. It also includes some options tailored to the iPad, such as Apple Pencil support.
If you don't want to pay the premium price of Photoshop while still getting a full-fledged photo editor for your iPad, Affinity Photo is definitely your best bet. Affinity Photo only costs a one-time payment of $ 19.99.
Made for iPad: Pixelmator Photo
While the other two programs we already discussed were transferred to the iPad, Pixelmator Photo was made from scratch for tablets . That doesn't mean it doesn't cut features, either: it can still crop and mix photos, perform in-depth color balance, and batch-process large groups of photos. There are even some AI-powered editing tools, so that way the program does some of the work for you.
Pixelmator Photo may not reach as far as options like Photoshop or Affinity Photo, but if you're new to photo editing or just don't have complex needs, it's more than a worthy tool. It also only costs a one-time payment of $ 4.99.
Darkroom, as you may have guessed from the name, is trying to compete with Adobe Lightroom. You can perform the same simple operation with sliders and presets as with Lightroom. There is also a wealth of options for organizing and batch editing photos. Darkroom does a pretty good job compared to Lightroom and is a worthy alternative if you don't want to pay Adobe's premium price tag. Darkroom even has some video editing options.
Darkroom is free to download, but if you want access to more filters and the video editing features, you have to pay for it. You can pay either $ 3.99 per month, $ 19.99 per year, or a one-time payment of $ 49.99.
Top Filters: A Color Story
Sometimes, you don't want to go deeper into your edits and just use a simple filter instead to save some time. Well, with over 400 filters created by professional designers, A Color Story is the app to help you. You can refine filters to limit how much they affect your photos and even create your own filters. In addition to the premium filters, you also have access to some in-depth editing options if you still want to get to the core of your edits.
A color story is free to download, but if you want To access more filters and other color correction features, you need a premium plan of $ 4.99 per month or $ 24.99 per year.
Fun Filters: Prism
While A Color Story focuses on professional filters, Prisma just wants you to have a good time with your edits. With over 300 filters, you can take advantage of the craziest side of photo editing, whether that turns your latest landscape photo into a Picasso painting or your favorite selfie looks hand-drawn. New styles and effects are constantly being added, so there is always something new to try.
Prisma is free to download, but if you want access to even more filters, you must have the "Prisma Unlimited" Subscription for $ 29.99 per year.
In with the Old: Retrospecs
Sometimes you want to rethink the past, but time travel is complicated and probably impossible, so let Retrospecs add you some cool retro style filters to your images instead Whether you want your photo looks like it runs on the original Nintendo Gameboy or is a show on the Commodore 64, Retrospecs offers you a wealth of options and effects to take your photos back in time. even adjust individual pixels to make images look just right.
Retrospecs is free to download but you only have access to a limited number of effects If you like the app you want the in-app purchase & # 39; Unlock everything & # 39; buy for $ 3.99, which unlocks everything.