4 smartphone editing apps to make your holiday photos look amazing

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Ever wondered how your friends on Instagram or Facebook post such gorgeous pictures with their phones? Are you insanely jealous of their orange and pink sunsets and bright blue oceans? Well, unless they’re professional photographers, they’re probably using photo-editing apps to boost their travel snaps.

Here are 4 apps you can use to turn your photos from your phone into works of art:

1. Snapseed

iPhone photo taken at Tea Tree Bay on the Sunshine Coast

Snapseed can dramatically improve the look and feel of your photos with just a few clicks. You can boost the colour of your sunsets, brighten an image or even take away shadows.

How to use: Open an image by clicking on the + icon on the top left and choose an image from your camera roll. Next, click the ‘Tune Image’ button on the bottom row of icons. Hold your finger on the screen to bring up options  and move finger right and left to tweak. In the above photo, the brightness, saturation and shadow settings were increased to bring out the gorgeous beach colours. The checkmark on the bottom right will save your changes.

Bonus Tip: Hold your finger on the edited image for one second and you will see the original appear. This is great for viewing the photo to show before and after.

Available for FREE on iPhone and Android.

2. Camera+

Camera+ has one of the best selection of ready-made photo filters among the editing apps. There are over 40 free filters to use and many more if you’re up for paying a little extra. The above image was done with one click on the filter ‘red scale’.

How to use: Open an image by clicking on the + icon on the top right, selecting a photo and clicking ‘import’.  Next hit ‘edit’ to see all your options. You can then select ‘filter’ and scroll through them to see a preview of your image. When you’ve picked the one you like, click ‘advanced’ on the bottom right to adjust the strength of the filter. Click ‘done’ on the top right when finished editing and remember to save the image to your camera roll.

Bonus Tip: This app is also great for taking photos since it includes exposure and focus options (yay, food pics!).

Available for $4.49 on iPhone.

3. Instagram

iPhone photo taken in Southport on the Gold Coast

Instagram used to be just a photo sharing app but in its rise to fame it has added numerous features to let you actually edit your photos inside the app. This makes photo sharing much faster as you can skip the step of opening another app to edit (and have more time for glasses of wine at sunset!).

How to use: Open the image you would like to edit and select ‘next’. You can choose from over 30 ready-made filters at the bottom or choose to adjust yourself using the editing tool. There is a sun icon on the bottom middle if you want to make it easy and edit with one touch. For more detailed editing, click the screwdriver tool on bottom right of image and manually adjust your brightness, contrast, saturation, shadows, etc. Click ‘next’ on top right to save editing changes.

Bonus Tip: If you want to save the edits without posting to Instagram, just go into ‘airplane mode’ and post offline. The image will save to your camera roll without you having to share it on your feed.

Available for FREE on iPhone and Android.

4. VSCO Cam

iPhone photo taken at Little Cove Beach on the Sunshine Coast

VSCO Cam is a very popular editing app that has a sleek interface. It captures your edited photos in a photo stream and lets you share with your network as well. The interface takes some getting used to since it uses letters for the filter names instead of names like the other apps: B1, B5, C1, F2, etc. If you take the time to get used to the format of the editing tools, you will fall in love with this app.

How to use: From the library, click the + sign in the top middle and choose the photo to edit. Once you have uploaded and selected that photo, click on the tools icon on the bottom left-hand corner to go into editing mode. You can choose one of the 10 ready-made filters or click the wrench icon to adjust manually and change tons of features like exposure, contrast, fade, saturation and highlights. When finished, click checkmark in bottom right. When you’re back in your library, click the circle icon in the bottom right corner to save to camera roll.

Bonus Tip: When taking a photo in the app, touch two fingers on the screen at the same time. You can now move the exposure and focus to different spots on screen. Great for sunsets!

Available for FREE on iPhone and Android.

What photo apps do you use and love?