While Apple's iOS 7 update introduced some useful tools for iPhone photographers, including Instagram-like filters and the ability to shoot in the square format, it's still some way from being the best option for even the most casual of snappers. Thankfully, the iTunes Store is packed with photo apps, both paid and free that go beyond the limitations of the iPhone camera.
Here, we've collected some of our favourite photo apps for iPhone and iPad for you to discover. We are saving the more artistic, painterly apps for a separate 'best of' feature, but for now feel free to add your favourite photo related iPhone apps in the comments below, we'll likely add them in a future update.
AfterLight / 69p (Top In-App Purchases from 69p) / Requires iOS 5.0 or later.
Beautifully considered editable effects, textures, filters and frames makes AfterLight a must have photo app for anyone who wants a little extra from their iPhone snaps. The frames particularly help bring focus to everyday photos and do a fair job of standing out from the pack, especially on Instagram. Seductive light leaks, meanwhile, have been created using both 35mm and instant film, which helps ensure the extra textures look more authentic. Creative tools aside, AfterLight offers a good number of useful tools - clarity, brightness, contrast, exposure, cropping, straightening and the like - for fine-tuning your photos.
Analog Film / £1.99 / Requires iOS 5.1 or later.
Impressive, ever updated, Analog Film offers 100s of analog inspired filters to give your photographs a nostalgic feel that look suitably subtle and free of generic photo app cliché. A choice of film types from Agfa, Fuji, Ilford, Kodak, Konica, Polaroid and more are recreated hopefully faithfully, the effects of which can be easily adjusted using a simple slider. We particularly loved the varied choice of black and white filters, which highlight both the quality and depth of this well considered app. Analog Film also offers a useful, but not comprehensive, selection of editing tools, to further fine tune your images.
Camera+ / From £1.49 (Top In-App Purchases from 69p) / Requires iOS 6.0 or later.
Much loved, well reviewed iPhone and iPad app offers a wealth of tools to get the best out of your photos, from fixing the basics to significantly enhancing your images with creative filters, borders and text options. Combined with a range of shooting choices, Camera+ proves an essential app that benefits greatly from a dedicated developer who regularly offers new updates and adds features, including editing focused The Lab. Top In-App Purchases, including a I ♥ Analog FX Pack and Hollywood FX Pack are for once worth the additional investment, adding to an already quality package.
contrast by hornbeck / Free / Requires iOS 7.0 or later.
Not for the faint hearted, contrast by hornbeck, essentially a platform to promote the work of photographer John Hornbeck, reduces your snaps to the starkest of black and whites. It doesn't work with every shot, much detail is lost to darkness, but when it does work, with landscapes especially, the results are spectacular. With minimal controls, users can tap the screen to take a photo, which works well when creating images on the go or when you need to be discreet. Should you wish, contrast offers the option to invert an image, which often produce ghostly, other-worldly photos from even the most mundane of surroundings.
FaceTune / £1.99 / Requires iOS 6.0 or later.
FaceTune, the #1 Photo and Video App in more than 100 countries, is a powerful yet easy-to-use Photoshop style tool for fine tuning portraits and significantly enhancing your images. Now iPad native, the app lets users whiten teeth, smooth skin, emphasise details such as eyes and even reshape faces and add make-up to ensure you look your best. Additionally, a patch tool helps removes blemishes, while a tones tool can recolour grey hair and fill bald patches. Cool, customisable filters can be applied to the whole photo or to specific areas to add a more creative element to your portraits.
Hipstamatic (iPhone) / £1.49 (Top In-App Purchases from 69p) / Requires iOS 6.0 or later.
Hipstamatic gives access to numerous analogue inspired lenses, films and flashes, a look that has seduced many despite the addictive nature of buying additional Hipstapak and SnapPak gear. A cool 'Shake to Randomize' feature allows users to randomly combine those lenses, films and flashes while on the go, creating results that can either impress or disappoint. New gear is available each month, which proves pretty big news thanks to a dedicated fan base of creative users. Additionally, HipstaMart Print Lab, which ships worldwide for most options, will print and deliver your best images directly to your door.
Instagram / Free / Requires iOS 6.0 or later.
With more than 150 million Instagram users, this massively popular app lets anyone take, edit and share images and video on the photo sharing platform and additionally via Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr and Foursquare. Along with basic tools to straighten images and help define focus and clarity, Instagram is best known for its square format and range of filters, which while looking a little tired and over familiar still do a great job of adding artistic flair to snaps. Users can follow both friends and the famous alike, like photos and add comments, while sending photos directly to contacts is a big plus for the camera shy.
InstaWeather Pro / 69p / Requires iOS 6.0 or later.
The social aspects of sharing photographs with family, friends and the world is further enhanced with InstaWeather Pro, which allows users to add local weather information and more to images. Ideally suited to weather extremes both sun and snow, it's all good fun especially if you post updates on your travels. The choice and range of skins available is impressive and new, often seasonal, skins are offered regularly. As part of a 3.5 update, InstaWeather Pro adds the ability to shoot short videos, which clearly adds a new dimension to the popular app that claims more than 12 million downloads worldwide.
iPhoto / Free or £2.99 / Requires iOS 7.0 or later.
Much improved with recent updates, Apple's version of iPhoto for iOS is still some way from being the essential tool for all your photo editing. That said, the new (ish) iOS 7 design cuts down on the clutter and helps bring order and clarity to browsing, organising, editing and sharing your photographs. Those editing tools allow for cropping images, adjusting colour, exposure and the like, while the brushes tab and effects interface are potentially a plus for anyone feeling a little more creative. Apple has made an effort to improve the sharing capabilities of iPhoto, including with friends, online and via AirDrop, while users have noted much speed improvements over earlier versions.
LightBoxr-Photo Editor / 69p / Requires iOS 7.0 or later
A recent companion to the excellent PictureShow from the same developer, LightBoxr is another retro photo focused app that doesn't rely on off-the-shelf effects to create enticing images. With a range of tools, effects, and filters that hope to emulate analogue film and lo-fi camera techniques, LightBoxr works particularly well with photos imported from your camera roll. Despite a range of advanced features and options, we loved the ability to randomly apply effects to photos with a simple one touch, which creates combinations you might otherwise have missed. Those combined effects you do like, crafted or chosen at random, can be saved and used again with other photos to good effect.
Lo-mob Superslides / 99p / Requires iOS 4.3 or later.
Lo-mob Superslides, like it's predecessor Lo-mob, adds a vintage Lomography style look to your photos by effectively turning them into slides complete with beautifully understated borders and rather subtle light leaks. The app creates the imperfections and happy accidents found in analogue photography but without the need to invest in traditional cameras, or indeed film stock. Superslides borders are of a good size, which reduces the image down on Instagram yet ensures it stands out. It's not a look you will likely want to adopt for all your photos, but it works well and you can endlessly refresh images potentially creating hundreds of thousands variations.
Mextures /£1.49 / Requires iOS 6.1 or later.
Mextures is another iPhone app that adds retro looking film grain, textures, light leaks and gradients to your photos but does so with great style. Notably the textures are created specifically for photographers by photographers, including the driving force behind the app Merek Davis, with actual 35mm film scans from various cameras used to add to the authenticity. Mextures offers the ability to stack those elements in layers and blend them effortlessly to build varied effects, which you can save as Formulas to use later. For those stuck for inspiration the app offers numerous custom Formulas from worthy looking iPhoneographers to get you started.
Oggl / Free (Top In-App Purchases from £1.99) / Requires iOS 6.0 or later.
Macworld was initially less than impressed with Hipstamatic's Oggl but we are pleased to report that despite a few bugs, the oddly named app is improving with age. A quarterly or annual subscription gives users access to the bulk of Hipstamatic's attractive lenses and films, which you can combine seemingly endlessly to create evocative images. Oggl comes with its own platform to share and curate images and the standard here is pretty high, generally free of selfies and photos of your dinner. The chance to save variations on the same photos, embracing all lenses and films, is a big plus and these can be saved to your camera roll and shared anywhere.
Over / £1.49 (Top In-App Purchases from 69p) / Requires iOS 6.0 or later.
Design focused app for adding creative typefaces and artwork to your photos with a choice selection available as standard or additional Top In-App Purchases. Thanks to an intuitive wheel like user interface, adding text is a breeze, with the ability to easily nudge, size, fade, copy, and centre text. The results really are impressive, highlighted by the @over Instagram account, which showcases a selection of users images. For more advanced users the ability to import your own fonts is a plus while an in-app marketplace showcases font and art packs available to purchase or as free downloads.
Pixlr Express - photo editing, effects, and collage / Free (Top In-App Purchases from 69p) / Requires iOS 6.0 or later.
Popular, feature rich iPhone app from Autodesk packs in a lot of useful photo editing tools that you are likely to use daily, including cropping, removing red-eye and whitening teeth along with the ability to 'Auto Fix' problematic images with mixed results. For the more adventurous you add creative and fun effects, including halftone, watercolour and pencil filters. Pixlr Express includes the option to upgrade to to Pixlr-o-matic PLUS for 69p, which gives access to the full range of effects, an upgrade which seems well worth the modest investment. Slightly confusingly, Pixlr-o-matic PLUS is also available as a separate paid app only with a different user interface.
Polamatic by Polaroid - 69p - Requires iOS 7.0 or later.
Billed as the official app of Polaroid, Polamatic combines an array of quality effects and borders to try and recreate authentically the beauty of instant film typified by the legendary company. You can do this by shooting with the app and experimenting with effects and filters, or better still importing images from your iPhone's camera roll. Some filters work better than others and we'd love to see higher resolution output, but generally Polamatic is a winner. The app also offers a varied choice of handwritten fonts, so you can add a personal message to images to good effect, along with the option to re-frame your images.
ProCamera 7 / £1.99 (Top In-App Purchases from 69p) / Requires iOS 7.0 or later.
Consistently well reviewed, ProCamera 7 extends the functionality of your iPhone's camera significantly with a large collection of quality features and stylish filters, with more available via Top In-App Purchases. It's an app that really benefits from regular use, one that seems increasingly essential the more you explore. An intuitive iOS 7 inspired make-under, helps users more easily discover many of the features on offer here, including an array of editing tools you will likely use daily. ProCamera 7 also includes a dedicated Night Camera, which can produce some stunning shots for those with a steady hand, with the ability to set the shutter speed to one second.
Scout Camera / £1.49 / Requires iOS 7.0 or later.
This deceptively simple photo app offers little more than a choice of independent focus and exposure controls, cropping options and subtle filters, yet the evocative results are among the best we've seen on the iTunes App Store. That's because the editing is done live with the eye, rather than afterwards, which is greatly liberating and helps the user focus on taking great photos. Those beautiful filters now come with sliders, with the ability to change the strength of each on the fly. The well considered user interface is free of visual distractions, while sharing options - Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, email - help spread the creativity.
Snapseed / Free / Requires iOS 5.1 or later.
Thanks to a deal with Google, Snapseed is now free yet offers a range of excellent tools and enhancements that rival many paid photos apps. From single tap Auto Correct and tools for cropping and straightening images to more creative options such as Retrolux, Vintage, Drama, Black and White, Grunge and Tilt-Shift, Snapseed is feature packed and worthy of a place on your home screen. Intuitive and tactile, you adjust effects by swiping your finger, its ideally suited for both quick fixes and much more advanced edits. Snapseed also benefits greatly from the ability to import images you've already taken, work on them then export at a resolution that won't disappoint when shared.
Typic+ Fonts and Design (iPhone) - 69p (Top In-App Purchases from 69p) - Requires iOS 7.0 or later.
One of a number of quality, fun iPhone apps for adding text to photos with a good range of fonts, colours and design elements, with more readily available via Top In-App Purchases, including a selection of attractive frames to add to those as standard. Another Top In-App Purchases option, there are a few, gives users the chance to add a company or personal logo or design to your images, which might just be a good way to promote your company or artwork. Currently the deal allows four versions of your logo to be saved and stored for use within the app. Additionally, Instagram like filters add choice and distinguish your Typic+ efforts from the original photo.
VSCO Cam (iPhone) / Free (Top In-App Purchases from 69p) / Requires iOS 6.0 or later.
Solid choice of everyday editing tools along with striking, evocative photo presets, available in both free and paid versions, makes VSCO Cam a must have iPhone photography app. Those filters add an analogue film like appearance to your photos and are universally of a high quality, thanks to VSCOs background in creating equally appealing photography focused software plug-ins for Photoshop, Lightroom and Aperture. VSCO Cam also includes a social aspect with the addition of VSCO Grid, a free photo publishing platform that allows users to submit work, find and follow photographers and view a curated selection of appealing images. Additionally, VSCO Journal, available from within the app, is a good source for eye candy and inspiration.