15 Best Photo Apps for iPad and iPhone

Update

This list has been updated to reflect notable apps in 2014. 

Here are my picks for the best apps in 2014: 7 Essential Photo Apps,  Apps for Photo Effects, Filters and Post Processing and Apps for Sketching, Painting and Applying Painterly Effects, in our library of free guides and app tips for iPhoneography

You'll also find interesting new and noteworthy apps in the Tidbits series – a mix bag of inspiration. 


MOBILE PHOTO EDITORS


Filterstorm

Filterstorm

Filterstorm

Filterstorm's unique touch interface makes it intuitive, easy and fun to use. The versatile and varied set of tools for editing photos includes powerful masking tools, that give you the ability to apply any of the filters by brush, color range, and gradient, as well as to the entire image. Selectively adjust your photo by painting on your adjustments. Filterstorm includes in-app video tutorials. Available for iPad and iPhone.

Photogene

Photogene

Photogene

Intuitive and easy to use to edit, enhance and share your photos on the go. Professional editing tools. Photogene is an excellent everyday photo editor.Available for iPad and iPhone.

PhotoForge

PhotoForge

PhotoForge

PhotoForge is a digital darkroom with an impressive range of tools; image manipulation, painting, retouching, effects, and color correction. PhotoForge is available for iPad and iPhone.

Adobe Photoshop Express

Adobe Photoshop Express

Adobe Photoshop Express

Adobe Photoshop Express is a free, basic mobile photo editor that lets you upload, view and share your photos. Available for iPhone, iPad and Android.


MOBILE PHOTO EFFECTS


Pano

Pano

Pano

Take beautiful, seamless 360° panoramic photos directly from your mobile device. Pano's handy semi-transparent guide helps you line up all your shots perfectly. For Android, iOS & Windows Phone 7.

 

QuadCamera

QuadCamera

QuadCamera

4-8 serial shoots are taken in sequence by the iPhone’s camera, then composed into a single shareable image with 6 selectable effects. QuadCamera is one of many toy apps by Takayuki Fukatsu that allows you to do fun and artistic things with the iPhone’s built-in camera.

4-8 serial shoots are taken in sequence by the iPhone’s camera, then composed into a single shareable image with 6 selectable effects. QuadCamera is one of many toy apps by Takayuki Fukatsu that allows you to do fun and artistic things with the iPhone’s built-in camera.

TiltShift Generator

TiltShift Generator

TiltShift Generator

Create more dramatic-looking images, focused only on one spot. Processes your photos with blur, color, and brightness to apply radical depth-of-field effects. With TiltShift Generator you can make even flat cell phone images look like DSLR-quality shots with depth of field. Available for iPhone & iPad


ARTISTIC VINTAGE FILTER EFFECTS


CameraBag

CameraBag

CameraBag

Recreate the magic of film by emulating photography’s most beloved and iconic vintage cameras, film, and processing techniques. Effects can be stacked. CameraBag is easy to use with an intuitive, simple interface. For iPhone, iPad, Windows & Mac.

lo-mob

lo-mob

lo-mob

Retro lo-fi and photographic experiments on your iPhone. Select or snap a photo and lo-mob immediately generates a list of previews of all the different effects. Pick the one you want, tweak it if you like, and save or share your photo via e-mail as well as through a range of social media services. Available for iPhone and Windows Phone 7.

PictureShow

PictureShow

PictureShow

Choose between 37 analog presets or mix your own style with frames, light leaks, noise and vignetting. Features lens kit, random shuffle effects and social photo sharing. Find your own style and save it as a PictureShow recipe. For the iPhone.

Plastic Bullet

Plastic Bullet

Plastic Bullet

Randomly generates the look of many combinations of cameras, lenses and films turning your photos into gloriously unpredictable works of art. A true electronic lomography app that encourages you to explore the “happy accidents” of your photography. Share directly to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr. Plastic Bullet gives you instant, high quality results. Available for iOS devices and Mac OSX.

Film Lab

Film Lab

Film Lab

Recreate the look of analog film stocks with Film Lab's impressive set of film and film styles from brands like Ilford, Kodak, AGFA, Calotype, FORTE, GAF, Polachrome, Rollei and Fuji. Transform your iPhone into a film camera with Film Lab.

FX Photo Studio

FX Photo Studio

FX Photo Studio

Tons of effects that can be stacked on each other, combined, randomised and saved as new presets. FX Photos Studio includes basic photo editing like cropping, rotating, flipping, as well as social photo sharing. For iOS devices and Mac OS X.

Hipstamatic

Hipstamatic

Hipstamatic

Hipstamatic brings back the look, feel, unpredictable beauty, and fun of plastic toy cameras from the past. Swap between a variety of camera components, film, lenses, and flashes, for a variety of different looks and styles. Beautiful. For iPhone

Instagram

Instagram offers a selection of vintage inspired filters and borders but what really sets this app apart is its focus on social media and photo sharing. Easily share photos through Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, Foursquare and Twitter. Get started in no time with this Guide to Instagram. Available for iPhone & Android


For more iPhoneograpy app tips and tutorials, take a look at out our library of Free Guides for Mobile Photography and Art.


Top 20 Apps to Turn Your iPad into a Portable Creative Studio


Update

This list has been updated to reflect the latest notable apps.

Take a look at 8 Essential Photo Apps,  Top Art Apps for Painting and New & Noteworthy Apps, in our library of free guides and app tips for iPhoneography


MindNode

MindNode

MindNode

MindNodeis a beautiful and minimalist mind mapping app. A simple and effective way to brainstorm and easily map out and organize your ideas.

Platforms

iOS devices and Mac OS X.

Evernote

Evernote

Evernote

Remember everything. Build and organize your own digital scrapbook with notes, photos, links, web clips, audio and auto-synchronize to your Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad and Web. Magically makes text within snapshots searchable and includes geo-location information in notes. For research, to capture design, art, writing and blogging inspiration. Evernote is incredibly useful and free.

Platforms

iOS devices, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone 7, Mac OS X, Windows, Safari, Chrome and Firefox.

Moodboard

Moodboard

Moodboard

Make a Moodboard to visualise your ideas and jump-start your creativity. Capture a mood, feel or ambience with a collage of materials (photos, textures, sketches, text and color palettes). Easily share early design concepts with clients and colleagues to communicate your idea or use as a guide and inspiration for your own creative projects.

Platforms

iOS devices.

MaxJournal

MaxJournal for iPad

MaxJournal for iPad

A simple and elegant diary or journal. Customize the font and size, add up to three photos per entry and password protect your journal. MaxJournal features tagging, time stamping and autosave.

Platforms

iPad.

My Writing Spot

My Writing Spot

My Writing Spot

My Writing Spot is a simple and powerful tool for writers. Minimalist and distraction free writing environment with easy-to-use dictionary and thesaurus. Word count and auto save. Work on your manuscript anywhere, on your iPhone, iPad or computer, synchronize and have access to the latest version for reading, writing and editing everywhere.

Platforms

iOS devices and Android.

Qvik Sketch Pro

Qvik Sketch

Qvik Sketch

Quick, easy, effortless sketching, doodling and drawing tool. Qvik Sketch shades or inks your sketches in real-time, creating beautifully rendered drawings. Qvik Sketch Pro is fast and fun.

Platforms

iOS devices.

Adobe Ideas 1.0

AdobeIdeas

AdobeIdeas

A simple, vector-based digital sketchbook. Capture and explore ideas on the go. Use the color scheming tool to create harmonized color palettes extracted from your photos or artwork. Email your sketches as PDF files for further editing in Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop. Adobe Ideasis a handy tool for designers and artists.

Platforms

iOS devices and Android.

Brushes

Brushes

Brushes

A portable art studio and powerful finger painting tool for creating original artwork featuring an advanced color picker, swatches, high quality brushes, layers, extreme zooming, and a simple yet deep interface. Paintings made with Brushes have been published on the cover of The New Yorker on several occasions. 

Update 28th April 2012: Brushes is no longer in development. ArtRage and Procreate are now the two leading mobile natural media art apps on the market. 

Platforms

ArtRage is available for iOS devices, Windows and Mac OS X whilst Procreate is available for the iPad.

SketchBook

SketchBook Pro

SketchBook Pro

A versatile, elegant digital SketchBook for painting and drawing that features 75 art brushes, a smear brush, geometric shapes and a symmetrical drawing tool. Interact with SketchBook through a gesture-based multi-touch user interface.

Platforms

iOS devices and Android.

iMockups

iMockups

iMockups

This gem of a tool will save designers countless hours by helping you to quickly create mock-ups, layouts and wireframes for your web design, iPhone and iPad app projects. iMockups includes customizable navbars, tab panels, and autofilling Lorem Ipsum text. Intuitive and beautiful interface that takes full advantage of the breakthrough touchscreen device with iPad-optimized gesture controls.

Platforms

iPad.

StudioTrack

StudioTrack

StudioTrack

StudioTrack is a powerful audio recording and songwriting tool for musicians and producers who want to capture musical ideas and record songs on the go. Multitrack recording with up to 8 tracks, and bounce them down to add even more. Easily apply effects such as delay, reverb, EQ, and a compressor.

Platforms

iPad.

Korg iElectribe

Korg iElectribe

Korg iElectribe

Korg iElectribe is a perfectly faithful replica of the famous Korg Electribe•R analog drum machine. Easy and intuitive to use. Features 64 preset patterns, 8 supercharged effects and advanced Motion Sequencing that make patterns come alive.

Platforms

iPad.

Rehearsal

Rehearsal

Rehearsal

Rehearsal is a professional tool for actors that helps you learn your lines. Developed and tested by Hollywood actors. Highlight lines, play peekaboo to memorize your script. Record your script and play it back. Add notes and record different takes to explore your character. Ability to open your scripts directly from the email messages in which they arrive from your agent, casting or production. "Almost every show on TV has at least one actor that uses the app".

Platforms

iOS devices.

CameraBag

CameraBag

CameraBag

CameraBag recreates the magic of film by emulating photography’s most beloved and iconic vintage cameras, film, and processing techniques. Easy to use with an intuitive, simple interface. The perfect companion for your iPhone photography.

Platforms

iOS devices, Windows and Mac OS X.

TiltShift Generator

TiltShift Generator Fake DSLR

TiltShift Generator Fake DSLR

Make your photos look like they are shots with miniatures, toy camera images and fake DSLR by adding a radial blur to your photos to change the perception of depth. Move the sweet spot with your fingers and increase or decrease its size with TiltShift Generator – Fake DSLR.

Platforms

iPhone and iPad.

Fabric Stash

Fabric Stash

Fabric Stash

Manage, catalogue, match, track quantities and organize your fabrics with Fabric Stash. Perfect for quilters, sewers, interior decorators, fashion designers and fabric designers.

Platforms

iPhone and iPad.

HandiCraft

HandiCraft

HandiCraft

Quilting, knitting, crochet and embroidery on your iPad with more than 150 patterns with full instructions and HD video lessons. HandiCraft features patterns and step-by-step instructions displayed in a beautiful interface.

Platforms

iPad.

iZen Garden 2 – portable zen garden

iZen Garden 2

iZen Garden 2

iZen Garden is a tranquil, Japanese rock garden, where you can find peace and create beauty. Arrange and resize objects like stones, seashells, fossils and butterflies, rake the sand into patterns and listen to soothing, ambient soundtracks.

Platforms

iPad.

Soundrop

Soundrop

Soundrop

Wonderfully fun and simple sound game. Tap the screen to draw lines and watch as a ball bounces off them and Soundrop creates music out of the pattern you create.

Platforms

iPhone and iPad.

Zen Bound 2

Zen Bound 2

Zen Bound 2

Zen Bound is a beautiful puzzle game with gorgeous graphics and sounds. Tilt and touch to wrap and twist the shapes to solve puzzles.

Platforms

iOS devices, Mac OS X and Windows.

For more app tips and tutorials, take a peek in our library of Free Guides for Creating Art and Editing Photos on Your iPad.