Best iPhone camera, photo and video editing apps (2020)
Manual controls, photo and video editors, filters and great single-purpose photo appsThe iPhone has consistently ranked as the camera users took the most pictures with, and part of its appeal is the simple and easy to use stock camera app. In fact, it's so fast and reliable that it easily ranks as one of our favorite camera apps on a phone. At the same time, though, it lacks manual controls, it lacks a histogram, it lacks vertical level indicators, it lacks advanced HDR settings, it lacks fancy effects, and if you want something a bit more sophisticated to get more artistic control over your images, we have selected the absolutely finest camera apps you can get on the Apple App Store right now.
Camera replacement: ProCamera ($5)
ProCamera is a surprisingly simple camera app at the surface, that also hides many advanced features in a way that is unobtrusive yet easy to access. Before we jump into them, though, it’s worth pointing out how stable and crash-free this app is, something very important given that even the most popular iPhone camera apps often crash.
In terms of shooting options, ProCamera has gotten the absolute fullest pack of manual controls available with an extremely intuitive and easy to use interface. We are blown away by the level of fine control and the ease of use of this app (and we don't get impressed easily): you can set ISO, shutter speed (and lock them!), white balance (down to the Kelvin, with a guide that shows you which settings are appropriate for which conditions), exposure compensation, you also have independent focus and exposure controls as an alternative control and that gives you a much deeper hold over the looks of your photograph (you can naturally lock focus and exposure).
Unlike other camera replacement apps, ProCamera can also be used to record video and it has the neat built-in option to scan QR codes. Its outstanding photographic capabilities, however, make ProCamera our favorite camera replacement to the stock iPhone app.
Runner-up: Camera+ 2 ($3)
Camera+ 2 is a complete revamp of the popular Camera+ app meant to make use of the extended capabilities of modern smartphone cameras. It has all the manual controls you might need: ISO, shutter speed, white balance and so on. You can easily choose where the camera should focus and which point to use for the exposure using the floating frames that can then be locked to a certain position.
Best all-around photo editor: Snapseed (Free)
Runner-up: Adobe Photoshop Express (Free)
Another great option: Polarr Photo Editor (Price: free / $5 for Pro)
Filters and effects: VSCO (Free, with in-app purchases)
VSCO is an app by the Visual Supply Company, a firm known for developing some of the best film-emulation filters for Adobe Lightroom, and it's no surprise that this expertise has resulted in a collection of some amazing filters that you can get in VSCO. The beauty of VSCO’s filters (or presets rather) is in the subtle measure of the artistic effects that will help you get a sense of the right amount of touch-ups needed for a photo, and also help you avoid overediting your images. The full preset pack costs $5.99, and while you have some free presets, the app starts to truly shine when you unlock the potential of all the presets. VSCO also allows you to edit the strength of each filter, as well as edit all aspects of an image non-destructively. Apart from its filters and effects, VSCO also comes with a ‘journal’ with ideas for shooting, and the apps gets the job done as a camera replacement with separated exposure and focus controls, as well as tilt level.
Best video recording app: FiLMiC Pro ($15)
Runner-up: Kinomatic ($4)
Kinomatic combines the most advanced manual video recording features along with a powerful built-in editor, all in a surprisingly simple, streamlined user interface. We’re smitten with the speed of edits and the ease with which you can re-arrange trim and mix clips into a finished video project. The powerful manual controls include separate buttons for focus, exposure, and white balance lock, plus you get to see audio levels live. All in all, Kinomatic is a new-comer to video editing apps, but it has become an instant favorite for iPhone videographers.
Best video-editing app (supports 4K): iMovie (Free)
True hipsters require beautiful custom fonts, hand-drawn elements, and inspiring text to images, and if you’re one of them, Over is the app that delivers best to your needs.
Photos into art: Prisma (Free)
Straighten all lines: SKRWT ($2)
The camera of the iPhone has a wide-angle lens that looks great for capturing all sorts of images (and is particularly great for landscapes), but often times it would slightly distort lines and otherwise straight buildings would appear to be leaning in like the tower of Pisa in Italy. SKRWT is an app that will straighten such irregularities without ruining your image, a task that is otherwise quite hard to achieve in even more advanced photo editors.
Black & White: Hypocam (Free)
The Hypocam app will allow you to focus on perfecting your black and white photography and discover the art of nuance. It comes with a set of presets that you can use as well.
Portraits: Facetune 2 (Free)
If you’re shooting portraits as a hobby, you probably know that it often takes hours of Photoshop edits until you get a blemish-free face that looks fashionable and just good. Facetune 2 aims to automate and bring down the editing effort to a bare minimum, and while it won’t create professional portraits, it’s doing a marvelous job at improving the faces of people in your iPhone photographs.
Textures galore: Mextures ($1.99)
A non-destructive way to add film grain, textures, light leaks and beautiful gradients to images in seconds, Mextures will help you experiment with adding style to your photographs.