Whether you’re a photographer hoping to improve shots in post-production, a graphic designer seeking a platform on which to create images, or a web designer looking for a functional editing tool, you are no longer restricted to desktop PCs and expensive software.
Huge technological strides mean that creatives can now utilise tablet computers to conduct advanced photo editing work. This is a convenient option – their portability allows for creativity on-the-go, while touchscreen capabilities give a new and easy way to take control.
Those with an Apple iPad or Android tablet are likely to have access to the widest range of photo-editing apps through their respective App Store and Google Play portal, both of which have extensive catalogues with both free and paid tools for users to download.
However, with so many to choose from, it can be difficult to install the best tools, so the list below should give you a helping hand. It details those apps which offer good functionality and usability, but you should compare reviews, prices and specifications to select those most suited to you.
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Adobe Photoshop Touch, £6.99
This tool has been specially designed for iOS and Android tablets, meaning that you can rely upon excellent resolution. Such a high quality from the display will be hugely important when editing photographs, so make sure to invest in a HD tablet and tools adapted for the larger screen.
There’s a good reason it was featured in the App Store Best of 2012 and App Store Hall of Fame lists – Adobe’s Photoshop brand is synonymous with photo-editing software, and it hasn’t failed to deliver a reliable tool that is rich in functionality with its tablet programme.
It boasts an impressive range of features, including those which are so popular on the desktop software. The selection tool, which is intuitive to use on a touchscreen; layers, which provides ultimate flexibility when editing; and filters, which give photos eye-catching effects at a touch of a button, make an appearance among many others.
Adobe Photoshop Touch supports photographs up to 12 megapixels and allows users to easily layer downloaded images with those taken with their mobile phone camera. These can then be accessed and worked on through a desktop computer at a later date thanks to Creative Cloud compatibility.
The extent of features and integration with desktop software means it’s the ideal solution for professionals working on the go, but it’s also a great option for beginners, offering a range of interactive tutorials which allow anyone to learn the basics or brush up on advanced techniques.
You can get your hands on first-class photo-editing software without paying a penny thanks to Snapseed, which is available through both the App Store and Google Play. It has only become stronger since being named iPad App of the Year by Apple in 2011, making it a must-have on your device.
The user-friendly, intuitive and feature-packed user interface has resulted in rave reviews on both virtual catalogues, where it has received an average rating of 4.6 out of five stars. Many have complimented how easy it is to make colour corrections using this tool.
Almost all adjustments are made on a 0 to 100 scale, giving the user ultimate control over changes to aspects like brightness and filter strength. Thanks to the Selective Adjust function, the smallest parts of any image can be tweaked and perfected.
There are a number of interesting stylistic options at your fingertips, with Snapseed offering users the chance to add the popular tilt shift effect post-production, so that they can create scenes reminiscent of miniature models, as well as the likes of Vintage Film and Grunge-themed edits.
This inexpensive app is currently only available through iOS, but numerous reviews attesting to its incredible functionality resulted in its inclusion on this list.
It’s a great option when you’re looking to make edits to high-quality files, perhaps from your top-of-the-range DSLR camera, because it supports an export resolution of up to 21 megapixels on the iPad 2 and the new iPad. These can be shared or saved on a variety of platforms, including Picasa, Flickr, Dropbox and Twitter.
Claiming that “seasoned photographers” will be able to “find all the professional tools [they] need”, developers have included features in Photogene which allow you to sharpen and remove noise from an image, adjust saturation and exposure in certain regions of a photograph, use graduated filters, and more.
Those wishing to expand functionality can even conduct an in-app purchase to take advantage of the PRO upgrade, which has been “tailored for the needs of pro photographers”. This enables you to do things like add watermarks, meaning edited photos can be immediately uploaded to an online gallery, or define and apply IPTC sets so images are ready for use in the media.
Pixlr Express, Free
You can download this tool at no charge on your iOS or Android tablet, and many of the reviewers (who have given it an average 4.8 star review on Google Play) say they were shocked at the amount of features included – there are over 600 effects, overlays and borders available alongside a multitude of other editing options.
This app gives you the opportunity to transform even the simplest of photographs into works of art – you can customise colours, add focal blur to change depth of field and highlight a subject, crop and straighten, introduce lighting effects and easily revert back if you make any mistakes.
It’s a particularly good option for portraits, with the Touch Up, Red Eye and Whiten tools helping to enhance images quickly and easily. Those who commonly photograph people should also download Posing App, optimised for iPads and Android tablets, which helps provide inspiration for these shots.