A picture might be worth a thousand words, but in these selfie-crazed times, the need to post the perfect picture on social media trumps all. Clicking the ‘right’ photos and sharing them with a never-ending list of hashtags is a must-do. Of course ‘right’ comes with its own limitations, because everyone these days loves to tinker with photos by adding that perfect filter.
If you’re a 20-something, it’s likely that photo-editing apps occupy an important place in your smartphone and here’s our pick for the top five.
I have been using PicsArt for some time now and its tagline, ‘Where everyone becomes creative’, holds true for many. It offers most elaborate tools, almost everything one can think of while editing pictures on smartphones. Another big plus point is that the app lets you instantly share pictures on the PicsArt sharing platform or other social networking platforms.
PicsArt offers multiple features such as the option to make collages, edit pictures, crop images, etc. After you open the picture of your choice in the app, it welcomes you with options like tool, effect, border, mask, draw, clipart, text, lens flare, shape mask, callout etc. Under these options are sub-categories which will let you create almost everything that you can imagine.
For example, the Tools options comes with ‘motion’ that lets you give images a moving effect; ‘clone’ that will recreate the exact same area you chose at a different location in the image; perspective etc. Similarly, it comes with a number of effects such as poster, shear, pastel, old paper under Artistic; or various Pop Art effects; Paper effects and tools for basic image corrections.
One of the best features of PicsArt is Mask that comes with numerous light effects, textures and borders to give pictures a totally new feel.
Snapseed is simple, yet dramatic app that lets you edit pictures in a way that the effects look natural. You can naturally create a blur effect and it will look like you are watching the picture through a foggy window.
Snapseed lets you decide the strength of a particular filter just by moving your fingers across the picture. Do note that at times you might take an effect too far, so go easy when editing photos.
With Snapseed, it might seem like the app has limited options for editing pictures but you are in for a surprise as you start using the app going to one effect from another, one by one. Snapseed has filters like Lens blur, HDR-scape, Vintage, Noir etc. And in almost all the filters, you can choose from various sub-options.
You can swipe left to right to adjust settings such as style in Grunge filter or grain in the Grainy film filter; or brightness in the Retrolux filter. Swiping up and down will however give you a different standard for all filters menu from where you can choose the brightness, saturation, contrast, scratches or light leaks for an image.
Snapseed also lets you share images instantly. But what really sets this app apart is its speed and easy-to-use UI. This is apt for people who are always on the go but wouldn’t share pictures without editing.
VSCO also has an internal photo-sharing platform like Instagram, PicsArt, and you can follow other users on the app, although when you open the app, the focus is definitely on editing the photos.
VSCO gives your photographs the required kick, but the UI can be confusing at times. When you open the app, you can either choose a photograph from the gallery or take one directly from the camera. Then do a long press on the photo to start editing.
Once you do that, the app will show filters B1, C1, B5, M3, P etc, that you can add to a picture and you can also tinker with the levels of these filters. Just do a long press on the filter itself and VSCO will show you an option to tweak that. You can purchase additional filters from the app as well.
VSCO also offers tools such as brightness, highlight, shadows, tint, skin tone, etc. To get to this menu, you need to open the slide menu on the bottom below the list of filters, and click on a symbol that look like a spanner.
In skin tone tool, one can set the skin colour from a scale of +6 to 0 to -6. It also comes with shadows tint comprising of red, orange, blue, yellow tint which can be individually adjusted.
However, the app will not give you options like putting together a collage or using stickers, etc. It’s more for those looking to add a sophisticated touch to their edited photos. In my opinion, the app’s photo-editing filters are what make it stand out.
Retrica is quite different from all the apps mentioned above as it allows you to take pictures with live photo filters. The app is particularly good for selfies as you can choose the filter that best suits a particular set-up and click to instantly share it. It saves time of opening pictures again to edit them.
Retrica also comes with blur and vignette options which can be used to highlight a particular area of the picture over others.
Deep, Elegant, Retro, Plexiglass, Superb, Antique, Juxtapose and Mythic are a few photo filters offered by the app. These are further divided into sub-options like Jupiter, Luna, A5, Caramel, Grizzled, Golden etc. The chances are that you will not use all of these filters and end up using your favourites all the time.
I have used Retrica for quite some time and ‘.i’, ‘AM’ and ‘FrontPage’ are among a few filters that I like. The good thing about Retrica is that it gives you the option of setting a timer for up to 10 seconds so that you have enough time to decide how to look after selecting photo filters.
One of the best features of Retrica has to be the live collages. You can choose from a set of collages of 4:3 size or 1:1 and Divided. These consist of basic grid collages of 2, 3, 4, 6, 16 boxes, placed either horizontally or vertically. Since at times it is difficult to get the perfect shots for each box in the collage, Retrica comes with a separate timer for each box, which can also be set to manual.
One can also set the picture quality at High, Low or Standard from settings. Retrica works well for sharing pictures on the go and is very popular for clicking selfies.
B612 is quite similar to Retrica except that it also offers additional features like making a video of up to 6 seconds and editing pictures from the gallery. B612 also comes with options to create a box of pictures and share with friends, which is a good way for sharing pictures of a common event with many people.
B612 also lets users click different pictures and convert them into one image, with an option to apply a filter on only half the picture. The user-interface of B612 is quite simple. You can just swipe left to right to keep changing filters. You can also create collages using the app, just like Retrica.
Wheat, Tiger, Echo, Sunrise, Fairy-Tale, Thursday are a few filters offered by the app. It will even show you how a particular filter looks on all pictures in your photo gallery. You can tap and long press photo filters to make them your favourite and the app will give preference to these whenever you open B612 to click pictures.
Let us know in the comments which are your favourite photo-editing apps