When cell phone manufacturers began installing digital cameras into their devices some 15 years ago, a quantum leap occurred regarding the device’s functionality. Before this revolution, a cell phone’s role in anyone’s daily life consisted of merely making phone calls, sending text messages, and drafting emails. Today, everyone has a supremely high-powered digital camera in their pocket or purse, capable of taking stunning panoramas at the swift touch of a finger.
Though what good is a smartphone camera without the proper applications to get the most out of your photos? While the stock camera application on any Android-based smartphone provides an extremely easy way to snap and save pictures, it doesn’t offer much in the way of sprucing up those ordinary photos with filters and effects. A simple trip to the Google Play Store reveals an abundance of available photo and editing apps, but it isn’t always easy to find the best of the bunch. To help, we sifted through the sea of available programs and curated the following list of our favorite Android photo-capture and -editing apps worthy of a download.
One of the world’s most popular photo applications – and the world’s most popular photo-sharing social network – remains one of Android’s greatest resources for capturing all of life’s picturesque sunsets, peculiar landscapes, and delicious dinners. With access to a host of creative tools and filters, Instagram gives users supreme control over the taking and editing of photos. Once the photo receives its fair share of filters and fades, it can then be uploaded to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr to amass even more likes and Internet karma. Aside from snapping and sending snazzy pics, Instagram users can follow their friends’ accounts – or celebrities and hilarious grandmas – to have a constant rotisserie of new pictures streaming through the home feed.
Seems fitting to include a Google-developed application here, but Google Camera is actually a strong photo app for Android smartphones. With an easy-to-use interface and intuitive controls, even amateur photogs have the ability to take stunning pictures without much of a learning curve. Google Camera’s impressive list of features include a High Dynamic Range function, the ability to create gorgeous panoramas with its photo-stitching technology, and the option of manipulating your camera’s depth using Lens Blur. Google Camera also touts Android Wear compatibility, allowing you to control the smartphone camera remotely through a wearable.
A social media-themed camera application without the fuss of likes and comments, VSCO Cam provides photography lovers a great outlet to share and inspire. With a wide range of presets and photo-altering tools, anybody has the ability to turn everyday landscape shots into a stunning finished product. The app also boasts its own unique processing technology that promises dazzling results not previously seen on Android-based devices. When editing photos, a simple click of the phone’s screen changes the viewer’s perspective between the original shot and the edited final product, allowing for easy before and after comparisons. After editing, users then have the option to share photos across a number of popular social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Developer Moment’s Little Photo remains one of the highest rated photo apps on the Google Play Store, featuring an extensive list of effects and filters not typically seen within a free application. Little Photo currently touts more than 70 effects and tools, and promises to continue to add to its enormous list with each subsequent update. Users have the ability to stack multiple filters while editing, allowing for a near infinite amount of possibilities and finished products. For added control Little Photo lets users choose between applying a full filter, or just half-applying the intended effect to achieve vastly different results. Little Photo’s easy to use interface and bevy of available effects and tools doesn’t disappoint; this app is a winner.
For a powerful camera application with professional-quality editing tools, look no further than Google’s Snapseed. With a massive amount of editing options, users won’t have a hard time making even the most mundane of photos jump to life. Snapseed gives users ultimate control over their images by including a host of sliders capable of altering a photo’s vignette, blur, temperature, and many others. The app also satisfies fans of the vintage look by providing the option of applying grainy overlays, ’60s-style film reel effects, or its unique Retrolux filter. Snapseed also allows lets you stack effects on any photo, similar to Layers in Photoshop, making it easy to produce a brand-new result each time you edit a photo.