Best Photo Apps for Amateur Smartphone Photographers

by Bethanie Hestermann

Each year, we snap more than a trillion photos, and many of those photos are taken on mobile devices. Smartphones have opened up the world of photography to just about anyone who can point and shoot. And clever photo apps have made it possible for the average Joe or Jane to edit his or her photos like a pro and share them with friends and family. 

Are you an amateur smartphone photographer? Check out our roundup of photo editing apps.

Top Photo Editing Apps

Sure, you could use Photoshop to edit photos … but if you’re a regular person who doesn’t have access to this software or the skills necessary to actually use it, then a user-friendly photo editing app designed for amateurs is probably a better route. 

Here are a few you’ll love:


If you’re looking to enhance your people photos, especially selfies, AirBrush is a great option with many fantastic tools to smooth, sculpt, and add a little magic—or a lot of magic, if that’s your thing! Add one of dozens of makeup looks with a single click, or customize your look with face contouring, teeth whitening, eye brightening, and an under eye dark-circle remover. You can change the size of your nose or the shape of your chin, if you really feel like you need to, and there’s even a button for straightening your teeth. The app is free (way cheaper than Botox and braces!) but has a Premium option.


Canva is a game changer. It’s great for resizing and cropping photos to fit a variety of needs, plus you can apply filters, create collages, and build social media posts or stories that integrate photos, text, and other beautiful design elements. Perhaps the best thing about Canva, though, is its feature set that extends beyond photo editing. Use Canva to create business cards, phone wallpapers, and even entire websites! It’s a truly fantastic app for amateur designers. The free version offers plenty of functionality, but you can upgrade to the Pro version for even more.


Snapseed is another great option for making photos better, and the app makes it super easy. With presets like Smooth, Pop, and Accentuate, you can achieve great looks for your photos with one click. If you’re editing photos with people and you want to enhance without necessarily changing the way anyone looks, Snapseed offers a handy tool called Portrait, which adds a little face spotlight and basic skin smoothing and eye brightening—all effects you can intensify or lessen as desired. And it’s free!


#VSCO is a whole vibe, so you probably already know about this one. The VSCO app’s original claim to fame is that it helped transform regular mobile photos into artwork—something people were proud to post on Instagram (and on their VSCO accounts). VSCO has nice filters, a user-friendly interface, and even offers a platform for sharing photos that doesn’t involve an algorithm. Free features are relatively limited, but you can pay a monthly or annual fee for membership. 

Don’t Forget Your iRing

While you’re snapping photos, editing them into works of art, and then posting them for others to enjoy, don’t forget the best photo tool of them all—an iRing! iRings help you hold your device securely so you can snap away with confidence.

Bethanie Hestermann is a freelance writer and author. She writes about science, tech, business, lifestyle, conservation, and everything in between.