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8 Photo Editing Apps Every Traveller Needs

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Mikelle Leow  •  Jan 09, 2017

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When you’re off for an adventure of a lifetime, you’ll want to take in every nugget of it - be it a maple leaf, an exotic meal, or that mascot you’ve always wanted to meet ever since you were a child. But when you’re moving from place to place, it makes sense to carry light, so packing a full-fledged mascot in your backpack is out of the question. That also means carrying an DSLR around can be too much of a hassle. Credit: GIPHY Thankfully, with just one item - your smartphone - you can not only take pictures, but also edit them beautifully using these photo editing apps, and upload them on the go!
1. VSCO / VSCO X
For natural-looking filters Credit: @diogoperezfoto on Instagram VSCO is a favourite among photographers, but that doesn’t mean it’s tricky to use! The app’s popularity is due to its subtle and realistic film photography-like filter presets, unlike those of most photo editing apps, which can get too dramatic or glaring. [caption id="attachment_16603" align="alignnone" width="900"]The free F2 filter, the fade tool, and the LV1 filter[/caption] VSCO comes with a basic set of filters, which is sufficient for most people because the app also features some powerful adjustment tools!You can straighten photos, alter their perspectives, correct exposures, highlights, shadows, and more! [caption id="attachment_16604" align="alignnone" width="900"] The Louvre, Paris, France (Original image on the left, VSCO image on the right)[/caption] Credit: telstar on Flickr The best thing about VSCO's editing tools is the ability to save editing 'recipes'. So if you like a certain amount of contrast, fade and vignette, you can save that as your own created 'filter' for future use! To unlock more features such as filters for videos and more natural-looking film filters, you need to subscribe to VSCO X, which is around USD20 per year. Pros:
  • Simple yet powerful
  • Gorgeous natural-looking filter styles
  • Hundreds of free and paid filters, and growing
  • Social sharing to a wide range of social networks
  • Creating your own filters
  • Filters can be used on videos too
Con(s):
  • VSCO X requires a subscription fee of USD20 per year  (you can try out 7 days for free)
  • No frames, text or funky special effects
  • Some filter packs require in-app purchases
Price: Free (with in-app purchases) / a subscription fee of USD20 per year (access to all features) Download here: iOS / Android
2. Afterlight
For an all-in-one hipster photo editing app [caption id="attachment_16605" align="alignnone" width="900"]Jökulsárlón, Iceland[/caption]Credit: @nuruljules on Instagram Similar to VSCO, Afterlight comes complete with a collection of subtle presets and powerful enhancement tools (including horizontal and vertical flipping tools) - and more! For that extra oomph in your pictures, you can select between 78 textures like light leaks and dust, and adjust their strengths. Can’t get your followers to have the right frame of mind when it comes to appreciating your photos? Afterlight provides a total of 128 adjustable frames that’ll capture their attention! Want to standardise your Instagram photos? The app lets you create your own settings and save them as an “action”, so editing each photo is just one tap away! [caption id="attachment_16607" align="alignnone" width="900"] Hobbiton, Matamata, New Zealand (Original image on the left, Afterlight image on the right)[/caption] Credit: j0055 on Flickr Afterlight 2 also features a community where established photographers share their very own created free filters for others to use, making the app rather unique. Each month, a few new collections of filter presets are featured. Pros:
  • Unlike VSCO, you can pile on multiple presets on a single photo
  • You can save your own settings and use them again in one tap
  • Allows you to flip your photos -great for mirror selfies where the slogan on your t-shirt is only legible to professional backward readers
  • Capture photos in JPEG or RAW format
  • Free filter presets created by established photographers
  • A lovely gift for the hipster Instagrammer in your life
Con(s):
  • Although a paid app, “free” filters are limited
Price: USD 2.99 Download here: iOS / Android
3. Pixlr
For an all-purpose photo editing app  Credit: @hanakobiyori on Instagram  Wait - is it snowing in autumn? No, it’s just 1 of Pixlr’s 2 million combinations of effects, overlays and filters. But that’s not all the app can do!  You can create double exposures, remove red eyes, make photo collages, and even feature just one colour in your picture (with the Splash tool)! [caption id="attachment_16610" align="alignnone" width="900"] Original image on the left, Pixlr image on the right[/caption] Credit: anke_allaert on Flickr Did we mention that Pixlr is free? Pros:
  • Effective adjustment, add text, and beauty tools
  • Quick colour editing with the one-tap Auto Fix tool
  • Everything you’ll ever need in a photo-editing app, and it’s free!
Con(s):
  • With so many features, editing can get overwhelming at times
  • Filters aren’t as subtle as those in VSCO and Afterlight, but can be tweaked
Price:Free (USD1.99 for an ad-free version) Download here: iOS / Android
4. Snapseed
For that professional touch in a Snap [caption id="attachment_16611" align="alignnone" width="900"] Verona, Italy[/caption] Credit: @_kad_sn on Instagram Snapseed, acquired by Google, is one of the most popular photo editing apps out there and a go-to app for many. It’s got a high-functioning collection of the usual editing features, such as colour, adding text, cropping, and rotating, as well as advanced processing tools like perspective corrections, healing and selective adjustments, where you can easily add a pop of contrast to selected areas! Snapseed has a selection of filters that can dramatically enhance your photos! The Lens Blur feature, for example, creates depth of field, and the HDR Scape feature adds vividness to your photos. The app also supports RAW and DNG files, so you won’t have to pack a Photoshop-equipped laptop should you take your camera along! [caption id="attachment_16613" align="alignnone" width="900"] The Midnight Sun in Helsinki, Finland (Original image on the left, Snapseed image on the right)[/caption] Credit: visitfinland on Flickr Pros:
  • Easy to use - perfect for beginners and phone photo-editing moguls alike
  • Amazing image control tools
  • Supports editing of RAW and DMG files
  • One of the most effective,if not the best, photo-editing apps in the market!
Con(s):
  • There was a recent change in the interface to fit the casual user - though that hardly qualifies as a con!
  • Does not automatically save any changes, so you need to export to save any edits
Price: Free (has in-app purchases for some non-essential features) Download here: iOS / Android
5. Camera
For a camera without an actual camera  Credit: @iphotoff on Instagram  Camera+ 2 is another reason why it’s not necessary to have a camera with you. Its photo shooting modes mimic those of professional cameras, such as the Stabilizer mode, which allows you to snap sharp photos and zoom up to 6x. You can also separate touch exposure from focus, making it easy to adjust how bright you’d like your photos to appear, and select from different scene modes like Portrait, Food, and Beach! Credit: Gadget Guy  Camera+ contains over 30 filters, if you haven’t had enough of them by now. Filters aside, we’ll zoom in to the Clarity function, one of the app’s best features, and a secret tool favoured by iPhone photographers! The feature analyses your photos and cleverly enhances them, even in low light conditions. The WallStreet Journal even calls it the “secret sauce” of iPhone photography! [caption id="attachment_16616" align="alignnone" width="900"] Original image on the left, Camera+ image on the right[/caption] Credit: Gadget Guy Pros:
  • Shooting modes like Macro and Stabilizer allow you to take photos like a pro
  • The popular Clarity feature turns “hopeless” photos into mope-less photos
  • Slow shutter mode for capturing long exposures (up to 30 seconds)
  • Capture photos in JPEG or RAW format
  • Has a depth of field editing allowing you to artificially change the background blur of the photos
  • No need to carry a camera with you!
Cons:
  • Takes up some battery juice
Price: USD 2.99 Platform: iOS
6. Prisma
For photos that’ll make your friends say, “Wow! That photo looks like a painting!”  Credit: @cihatdeveci on Instagram Want to make your scenery photo stand out? Prisma’s a unique way to do so! Using artificial intelligence, it transforms your photos into pieces of artwork in the styles of famous artists like Picasso, Van Gogh, and Munk. You can even watch your “artwork” come to life, as Prisma now works on videos too! [caption id="attachment_16619" align="alignnone" width="900"]The Swiss Alps (Original image on the left, Prisma image on the right; after using the “ColouredDay” filter)[/caption]Credit: dongga on Flickr Prisma crops your photos into Instagram-friendly squares. The editing part that follows is virtually a one-step process - simply select a filter and watch your photo instantly gogh from attention-grabbing to art-tention grabbing. Talk about speed paintings! Pros:
  • Results look as if the photos have been hand-painted
  • Filter levels can be toggled if they’re too “dramatic”
  • Works on videos
Con(s):
  • Photos get cropped into squares (1080 x 1080px), whether you like it or not
Price: Free Download here: iOS / Android
7. Litely
For Instagram-ish filters, but subtler Credit: @colerise on Instagram  Created by Cole Rise, the same guy who brought us filters like Amaro, Hudson, Sierra and Rise on Instagram, Litely lets you add some film-inspired moods to your photos in a few touches.   Credit: Litely Besides the basic editing functions, the app comes with 9 cinematic-style starter presets - namely Argyle, Heather and Linen - with High and Faded variations of each. 66 additional presets are also available in the shop, if you’re loving Instagram’s filters but wish they were subtler! [caption id="attachment_16622" align="alignnone" width="900"] Peak District, England, United Kingdom (Original image on the left, Litely image on the right)[/caption] Credit: sjdunphy on Flickr Pros:
  • Subtle and natural-looking filters
  • Easy for beginners
  • Shows a "split" image of thr original and editing photos to show the difference
Con(s):
  • Not much changes since it was launhed years ago
Price: Free (additional presets for USD9 per pack) Download here: iOS
8. Foodie
For added flavour in your food photos Credit: @denisetaytay on Instagram We live in a time where food isn’t just for eating or socialising anymore. Whether you like it or not, it’s also about the angles in chocolate drips down a cake, or how centralised the cherry atop your banana split is, because food photos. Credit: Foodie - Delicious Camera For Food  With Foodie, your food will never go cold again! The app detects if your phone is hovering directly above your food - great for taking radishing flatlays - and has a collection of filters designed to make desserts look sweeter, barbecued meats look browner and deep fried food look crispier! [caption id="attachment_16625" align="alignnone" width="900"] Original image on the left, Foodie image on the right; after using the “CR” (Crispy 1) filter[/caption] Credit: Smabs Sputzer on Flickr Pros:
  • Good for taking perfect bird’s eye view photos
  • No need to take food styling courses
  • Very simple touse, even if you’re asmall fry
Con(s):
  • Lacks the expected editing controls, such as colour tweaking and cropping
Price: Free Download here: iOS / Android
So there you go - 8 photography apps you can use while moving from place to place without having to lose focus. We hope these apps have given you some perspective and exposure to the world of smartphone photography! Credit: GIPHY P.S. News flash! Besides being able to succinctly capture travel moments, you can also refer to your phone for your travel plan while you’re on the go. Simply download the HHWT Travel Planner app to flawlessly navigate around Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Singapore, Hong Kong, Seoul and now London!