The Best Photography Apps for Android – July 2017

For months, you’ve been taking perfect pictures every day. Your new smartphone—be it a Galaxy S8, Google Pixel, LG G6, or something else entirely—has an amazing camera, and you’ve been making sure to get the most out of it. Landscapes, portraits, selfies, nature shots, even pictures of your food—you’ve gathered it all onto your phone, and you’re incredibly proud of your new photography skills. You’ve even been showing off your photos to friends and family members, sliding through pictures in the included gallery application on your phone.

Your phone probably has an awesome camera in it, but if you don’t have a full suite of photography apps with you, you aren’t taking full advantage of your hardware at all. Photography apps on Android have gotten really good over the past few years, with larger displays allowing for more features and workspace. They’ve also gotten pretty simple, too—you don’t have to be an expert in Photoshop to quickly edit, save, and export an edited photo. It can be pretty difficult to know where to start, though, especially with how many photo editors, galleries, and sharing applications there are in the Play Store. If you’re looking for some of the best Android has to offer for your photos, we’ve done the work for you, gathering some of our favorite applications for photos all into one place—and most of them are free. These are the best photography apps on the Play Store available for download right now.

Everyone else

You probably know what Instagram is. In fact, you probably already have an Instagram account, and don’t need someone online telling you all about how great it is for sharing your photos with the world. If, somehow, you’ve entirely avoided learning about one of the largest active social networks, Instagram is a service for capturing and sharing square, 1:1 photos of the world around you, be it selfies, concert pictures, or photos of your food plates. As far as features go, Instagram is, in a way, refreshingly light. Your feed is a fairly-random assortment of posts from your followed users, typically shared within the past few days. You can post both photos and short videos to your feed, with users being able to like and comment in response to them. And, of course, there’s the Snapchat-clone features of Instagram Direct and Stories, the former being a copy of Snapchat’s basic function (sending temporary photos and video clips to friends), and the latter directly aping on Snapchat’s landmark Stories feature—hell, they didn’t even change the name. Still, entire communities have grown and thrived on Instagram, and with full-on Facebook integration (as Facebook owns Instagram), it’s easy to find and add your friends from one social service to another. Instagram might not feature the backup abilities of Google Photos or the desktop-class editing skills of Lightroom, but it’s one of the most popular photo services online for a reason: the community, in both size and quality, is unbeatable.

EyeEm might not be a household name like Instagram or Flickr, but it’s no small fish either. Home to more than 18 million photographers sharing their photos from around the world, EyeEm is as much a social network as either of those other two products, but with much more of a focus on professional photography than filters or comment threads. That doesn’t mean EyeEm doesn’t take social photography seriously, though, with the option to add friends and connections from both Facebook and Twitter. It might not be as lively a community as Instagram—especially if your friends aren’t avid photographers—but it’s a good option nonetheless. EyeEm’s attention is tuned into two interesting aspects of the photo-sharing community often ignored by companies like Instagram.

First, EyeEm offers “Missions,” tasks and goals in which you capture a specific themed photograph. These can be anything from nature shots to portraits, and they’re often sponsored by companies, with prizes for the top-ranked photos. It’s an interesting way to get users out and taking photography seriously, but it doesn’t compare to EyeEm’s second area of interest: photo sales. EyeEm doesn’t just work as a social network for photos, it also functions as a marketplace, with a partnership in place with Getty images. You can put your photos up for sale as stock photos through EyeEm, and you get to keep both the original copyright of your image and 50 percent of the sale price when someone purchases the rights to your photo. It’s a far different way of making money than what we’ve seen from Instagram, and both sales and Missions make it easy to get into taking quality photos.

Of Adobe’s two main photo editing apps, Photoshop is most certainly the better known. In the era of memes and instant sharing, Photoshop has become an important and interesting tool for millions of online creators, from creating jokes to YouTube thumbnails to online diagrams and how-tos. Photoshop Express isn’t nearly as powerful as the PC-counterpart it’s based on—you won’t find any layers here, for example, a mainstay in Photoshop CC—but the app is great for users looking for a simple-but-powerful photo editor. No, Photoshop Express can’t compete with the likes of Lightroom, but most people will prefer the simplicity infused within Express, which offers easy-to-use tools while still managing to be more powerful than, say, Google Photos’ built-in editing tools.

You’ll find abilities like a powerful auto-fix tool that can automatically enhance and fix your image quality, sliders for adjusting color, exposure, sharpness, contrast, and more, along with the basic set of crop, straighten, and rotate tools that most photo editors possess. You can erase blemishes and fix red-eye photos caused by poor lighting and camera flashes, and yes, you can even add Instagram-styled borders and filters right onto your image. Photoshop Express does include a few pro features, notably the ability to import and edit a wide variety of raw files from specific DSLRs, so you don’t have to be a Lightroom-professional to modify your photos right inside the app. And of course, you’ll find the standard share and export options most users have come to expect on photo apps. Lightroom might be a bit more powerful between the two, but Express is perfect for quick fixes and basic editing, without an extensive knowledge of photography.

Our third and final Adobe application, Capture CC is certainly not designed for everyone. In fact, if you aren’t a content creator, and specifically someone who focuses on a lot of graphic design, this app probably isn’t for you. But if you do fall into either of those categories, and you use apps like Photoshop, Lightroom, or Illustrator on a daily basis, Capture CC is a perfect companion app to keep on your phone. Essentially, Capture works like a camera designed to take aspects of the world around you—colors, patterns and shapes, brush types, and specific “looks” within apps, and turn them into assets and vector graphics to be rerouted right back to your Creative Cloud suite of applications and products.

For example, if you happen to be at an art museum, and a particular color inside a painting catches your eye, you can snap a photo of it and create a pallet of that color, to be synced and used later inside Illustrator or Photoshop. The same works for patterns, which can be converted to a vector graphic on your phone, uploaded to the cloud, and imported right inside of any of Adobe’s own desktop apps. For this reason, you can really only take advantage of the app if you’re a Creative Cloud subscriber, which typically costs users about $50/month on an annual subscription cost. But if you are that type of creator, you’ll love what Capture CC can offer you, all kept on a device that fits in your pocket.

Amazon competes directly with Google on a number of products—Alexa vs. Assistant, Echo vs. Home, Amazon App Store vs. Google Play—but none of them are quite as head-to-head as Prime Photos vs. Google Photos. Prime Photos, Amazon’s own cloud-based photo service, sounds like a pretty good deal on paper. Just like Google Photos, Amazon promises to backup every photo on your device to their own Cloud Drive, complete with unlimited storage for full-size photos, just edging out over Google Photos’ own promise for unlimited “high-quality” photos. The app has it’s own fair share of similar features, too, including albums and “Smart Albums” that build libraries from specific dates and places, search tools designed to find faces and areas you’ve taken photos, and an interesting feature called “Family Vault” that lets up to five people add and share their photos in one location.

But overall, the app is lacking compared to Google Photos. Videos of any size and resolution count against your 5GB of free cloud storage—10GB less than what Google gives away for free—and while additional cloud storage is priced competitively, it’s an extra fee on top of a $99/year Prime membership. And this isn’t even taking into account the application itself, which was slower to load, search, and generally run on our test device than Google’s own photo service. Overall, Prime Photos isn’t a bad deal—unlimited full-size images beats out Google’s deal by a large margin—but without free video backups and a faster application, Google Photos is a better deal for most consumers.

Snapfish is a great option for anyone looking to create physical products—prints, mugs, pillows, or anything else—out of their photos. Essentially acting as an online merchant, Snapfish’s main marketing gimmick is what grabs so much attention: for a full year, new customers to Snapfish based in the US can get 100 free 4×6″ prints sent right to their house every month, making it possibly to get up to 1,200 free photos if you use every credit you’re granted per month. Credits do expire at the end of each month, and you do have to pay shipping and taxes on your prints, making it not quite as good of a deal as it might have originally sounded.

Still, it’s a good way to get new consumers in the door, and once you’re there, you’ll find a huge variety of materials that can be custom made just for you. Prints of all shapes and sizes can be sent to your house, with most of them starting under $1 per print (8×10″ prints, unsurprisingly, start at $2.99). You can create cards of all varieties, mugs, tabletop photo panels that don’t require cases, totes, jewelry, ornaments, and even magnets. It’s a wide variety of selection, and the store layout is clean and easy to browse for your product. One downside to all this: uploading photos to Snapfish took a longer time than expected, making us feel like the app was non-responsive. Overall, though, if you’re looking to create products and prints from your photo collection, Snapfish is a great place to start.

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