With the advancement of social media technology over the last decade, sharing beautiful photos with the world hasn’t been easier. But sometimes we long for more than a few double-taps on a bathroom selfie and want to really work on our photography to make it the best it can possibly be. The dilemma that college students and young professionals face when wanting to elevate their photography game is simply not being able to afford the luxuries of expensive camera equipment and editing software. Fortunately, we found ten (almost all free) great applications for shooting and editing shots on your smartphone and legally downloading stunning photos for inspiration. Here are 10 amazing photography apps that are not instagram.
If you’re under the age of twenty-five or have been paying any attention to recent pop culture, you’ve likely already heard of VSCO. But if you haven’t (or just haven’t downloaded it to your phone yet), VSCO is a free smartphone application that allows you to upload and edit your photos with a generous amount of filters. While you have the option of sharing your photos on the site, many users just log on for the editing purposes and save the final image to their camera roll to post in the future. But the best part of this app is that it doesn’t rely on generating affirmation; there are no visible likes, so when you post, you post only to inspire and not to compete. We dare you to add a vintage filter on your cute photos and not become a #VSCOgirl.
2). Camera Plus
One of the best-rated photography apps out there has to be Camera Plus. We love how straightforward, yet specific the features are, allowing you to both capture gorgeous stills in the moment and effortlessly edit to them to your heart’s delight after taking them. You can even take amazing videos (up to 720 pixels in size) and use the ‘focus shift’ feature to bring your subject in and out of focus. Not a photoshop wizard? Simply use the one-touch editing tool, Pix’d, to enhance your shot with a single tap.
3). Adobe Photoshop Express
Going for a professional aesthetic without the professional price tag? Try Adobe Photoshop Express, which works just as well on Android as it does on IOS. In this app, you can put your mad rule of thirds knowledge to use by using the crop tool (divided into nine smaller boxes) to get your subject on the intersection of two of the divisive lines. You can even resize your photos (the range is from 800 to 4000 pixels) to get the perfect size to print for your wall or upload to a facebook album (such as: Thanksgiving In Cincinnati). After going through your edit, you can even fix those annoying red eyes (if you have an IOS), remove blemishes, and add borders. Looks like the Adobe Creative Crowd has a new member!
4). Afterlight 2
Got the editing bug yet? No? Then you clearly have yet to check out Afterlight 2, with which you can not only edit your photos but add amazing elements like light leaks and textures. This one’s exclusively for IOS (sorry, Android users), and is totally beginner-friendly with its easy-to-follow design. It’s a great intro (heck, even just a great medium) to the world of editing, including temperature, brightness, and color. You can even create your own presets by saving a certain combination of edits and naming it (Firebird kind of has a nice ring to it). Best of all? This fantastic app won’t cost you a cent.
If you need a break from all of the editing and are looking for some inspiration (and possibly a higher-end instagram-esque medium to publish your work), Unsplash is the way to go. Photographers put up their awe-inspiring work (photos have a 5 MB submission minimum) to Unsplash for you to download for free. Since they already agree to full usage of their photos, you won’t have to worry about any copyright infringement policies! While it’s not required, it’s always nice to credit the photographers by tagging them whenever you use the image (such as for a Facebook promo).
Here’s another great editing app, perfect for when you’ve mastered the basics and want something a bit more advanced. Pixlr is super simple once you’ve gotten the basics (cropping, filling, and blurring) down, and even has easy-to-follow tutorials so you can get the perfect photo every time. We recommend looking at the Pixlr blog before diving in so you won’t waste any time navigating the app, but other than that, this versatile and quick editing tool will bring your shots to the next level.
Ever wanted to transform your picture into a painting but not had the time or money to spend on oil paints? Now, with Prisma, you can instantly turn your photo into a painted masterpiece. The app first gained popularity in summer 2016, and now is used by millions to turn their fun moments into Louvre-worthy art.
Fused is the hipster of photography apps, being the first of its kind. With this app, you can fuse photos, videos, or both, making for a sick final product. With the skills you’ll learn, you could even start a side business making indie album covers.
You don’t need a fancy degree to ace the graphic design game. Canva offers dozens of free templates for you to showcase your photos, frame them in hip instagram story posts, and even help promote your photography as a side business. You can use this app on your laptop or your phone, and once you’ve personalized template, you can upload and post it anywhere. Look out, influencers, there’s a new kid on the block!
10). Pro Camera ($5.99)
If a brand new $2,000 camera doesn’t seem like an attainable goal at the moment, you can forgo your Starbucks drink and croissant for the day and get the Pro Camera app instead. This app features twelve amazing iPhone features (such as low light and anti-shake)that you won’t be able to find anywhere else, allowing for you to get DSLR benefits without the liability.