Photo Editing Apps For iPad
Whether you are professional photographer that likes to travel light (i.e. without a laptop) or casual photographer that simply likes the convenience of using the iPad, there are a number of apps in the app store for editing photos. We have sifted through the bunch and selected some of our favorites.
Photo Transfer App
I won't say this app is essential, but rather, it gives you a nice option for transferring your photos. If you have an original iPad or just would rather not use the iPad’s camera for most of your photography, then you’ll need to fill your photo library from another source. The “old way” was to sync photos from your camera or phone onto your computer, and then from your computer to the iPad. Or, email the photos to yourself and download them on your iPad, which is a bit clunky if you have more than one picture to move. The "new way" is to utilize Photostream, but I personally can't stand that option, as I prefer to have control of where my photos reside. Photo Transfer App cuts out the middle man and gives you total control (unlike Photostream). Simply download the app onto your iPad and iPhone (or iPod Touch 4G) if you have one, and the app uses Wi-Fi to whisk the photos and videos of your choice between your computer, iPad, and/or iPhone. It’s fast, oddly fun to watch, and it works. No cables required.
picTransfer for iPad Lite
Here's another alternative to Photo Transfer App. If you don’t want to pay to transfer your photos, and you don’t mind ads, pick up picTransfer for iPad Lite. This free, universal app transfers photos wirelessly between your iDevices. It doesn’t transfer to your computer, however. But if you just need to move pictures between your iPad, iPhone, and/or iPod touch, this app will do the trick, cable-free. Do be aware that some users have had trouble with the latest update, but I expect the next update to fix the bugs.
This simple app allows you to make just about any adjustment a casual photographer would need on a photo. Tweak the color with brightness and contrast, color balance, color temperature, exposure, gamma, highlights, hue saturation, shadows, and more. You can also sharpen and denoise your photos, which are really premium features. Flip/rotate, crop, align, and resize. Correct red eye and get rid of blemishes with spot healing. Additionally, you get a handful of special effects such as posterize, pencil paint, vignetting and frames.
If you are a professional photographer, there is no substitute for Filterstorm Pro. Of course you get the basic editing tools. But Filterstorm Pro also lets you add IPTC metadata, and contains tools for curves, white point, and RGB channel mixing. Apply masking tools like B&W or curves to specific areas of the photos using brushes, gradients, vignetting and color range selection. This is way more app than the casual photographer needs, but for pros who want to use their iPad for serious editing, it’s a must-have.
If you’re not quite ready to take the plunge into Filterstorm Pro but you need advanced, professional features, try the less expensive Filterstorm. In addition to the basic editing tools, you get curve manipulation, color correction abilities, noise reduction, vignetting, sharpening, and much more. You can apply the filters by brush, color range, and gradient. One feature that Filterstorm has that Filterstorm Pro does not, at the moment, is that it is universal. This means you can use it on your iPhone or iPod touch as well as your iPad.
Adobe Photoshop Express
If you don’t need all the professional tools, but you just need a simple app that provides the basics (for free!), then Adobe Photoshop is the app for you. Crop, rotate, flip, and straighten. Adjust color saturation, exposure, tint, and contrast. Add a number of effects such as soft focus, sharpen, vignettes, rainbow, vibrant, and much more. There are some rather pricey in-app purchases if you want more features such as noise reduction, but the casual photographer will be more than satisfied with the free app alone. If you want a bit more than what Adobe offers for free, I’d recommend picking up PhotoPal, Photogene, or Filterstorm instead of upgrading this one in-app. Adobe has also released a more "serious" photo editing app, Adobe Photoshop Touch, but I'd suggest starting with this free version first.
Adobe Photoshop Touch
Just about as close as you can get to Photoshop on your iPad at just a fraction of the price, Adobe Photoshop Touch is the pro's choice. While Adobe's free offering above (Adobe Photoshop Express) might be plenty for casual photographers, this one will let you get into minute detail with their Refine Edge feature. With a maximum image resolution of 1600x1600, it won't replace their famous computer software, but it will allow you to do some very fine editing.
PhotoPad by ZAGG
This is another great, free, universal editing app. It contains all the basic tools (crop, rotate, fix red-eye, re-size, adjust color/saturation/hue/brightness/contrast and more). You get fun filters to play around with. It’s really quite a bargain for free. Many free apps contain ads -- as you might guess, this app really IS an ad for ZAGGskins, which are decals for your electronic devices. However, it’s tastefully done, nothing pops out at you, and I can heartily recommend this app for all iPad owners.
Photogene for iPad
The extremely popular Photogene for iPad allows users to quickly and easily edit photos. It's possible to crop, straighten, sharpen, fix red eye, apply filters, adjust exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, and more using this simple, elegant app. You can also add special effects to your photos. Furthermore, you can share your edited images directly to Facebook, Twitter, or Flickr.
This elegant, cool app feels downright futuristic. Using gestures (well-explained within the app), you can perform a variety of useful editing functions. Snapseed allows you to do the basics, such as crop, rotate, and adjust the brightness, saturation, etc. If you like, you can just tap Auto Correct and let the app do all the work. Of course you can also adjust everything manually. But it also lets you choose a specific spot to enhance with its Selective Adjust function, which is unusual among iPad photo editing apps. Also, experiment with fun effects, like Vintage Films, Drama, Center Focus, and Organic Frames. Snapseed makes it easy to compare your edited photo to the original, and also share via email, Flickr, Facebook, or print directly from the app.
Along with being a high quality, full-featured, full-resolution photo editor, this app also specializes in filter effects. Universal app PhotoForge2's stand out feature is Pop!Cam, a $1.99 in-app purchase that unlocks a world of creativity. Pop!Cam allows you to mix and match lenses, filters, flashes, papers, and processing in order to create utterly unique photographic looks.
No list would be complete without this sophisticated offering from Apple. While some find it too fussy or complicated for their needs, there is simply nothing more Apple than iPhoto. This universal app shows off the new iPad's retina screen so you can fine-tune your photos with Apple's precision tools. You do need an iPad 2 (or iPhone 4) or later to use this app, which allows you to use AirPlay and AirPrint-enabled printers. Create photo journals, slideshows, and beam your photos between iDevices.
This is a one-trick pony app, but what a trick! Remove those unsightly objects from photos with TouchRetouch HD. Simply select any object you want to remove, tap “go”, and it’s gone! Very easy. There is sometimes distortion, if your background is complex and/or the object you’re removing is very large. But overall this is a great app for getting rid of shadows, wires, blemishes, or even a person that you want to excise from your photograph.
This is a great artistic effect app. It turns your photo into black and white, allowing you to bring the color back to just one specific part. There are several apps in the app store that do this, but I like this one because it’s easy to use and you can change the color of the selected object. Plus, it's free (although there is a paid version as well). For example, if you take a photo of your car, you can start by selectively colorizing you car while making the background black and white. Then, you can change the color of your car from blue to red to yellow or whatever you like. You’re not limited to simply “recoloring” realistically. Share within the app via Facebook, email, or text.
ComicStrip - CS
Not actually an editing app, this fun universal app lets you create your own comic strips with your photos. Choose from a number of templates, and then select up to five photos from your photo library to fill it in. Optional captions allow you to explain what’s going on in the photos or add funny dialogue. Save your creations and share via Facebook and Twitter if you like.
Photo Wall Pro - Collage App for iPad
Not for editing the photos themselves, Photo Wall allows you to create beautiful high resolution collages of your photos. Choose the background of your choice (from your photo library, if desired) and arrange photos on top, any way you like. Add text to create custom greeting cards and sendable, framable photo art. Not sure? Try the free, lite version, which watermarks your photos, but it gives you an idea how the app works.
Well, ok, this one isn’t actually a photo editing app. It’s a video editing app, and it just has incredible power and ease of use for a free, universal app. If you’re ever going to edit video, go ahead a snap this one up -- it’s comparable to pricier video editing apps but without the hefty price tag. Videolicious helps you tell your story through photos, video, and music.