- Savannah | 2019 Portraits -

5 Free Must-Have Apps for Beginner Photographers

5 Free Must-Have Apps for Beginner Photographers
January 2, 2019

It seems like we can't live without our phones. People are constantly on-the-go and our phones are there every step of the way. Before my DSLR camera, I relied on my phone's camera and I continue to use my phone to take pictures when my camera is not around. Over the years and through a lot of testing, I have found very useful apps that I use almost everyday and on most of my pictures.Here are my top 5 free apps for photography:


VSCO is one of the most popular photo editing apps for your phone among creators. This is the app that I use to edit all of my pictures on social media, most importantly to maintain a consistent Instagram feed. You can choose from a multitude of filters from all ranges of tones and effects allowing you to take control of the creative process. My favorite part about VSCO is that every filter is made to emulate the look of classic films. Each filter comes with a range of tools ranging from exposure and contrast to split tones and HSL controls. VSCO is also a creative community where you can post and interact with other creators.

Lightroom CC

Pretty similar to the desktop version, Adobe Lightroom CC allows you to capture, organize, edit and share your images. Lightroom is one of my favorite apps because it can capture photographs in RAW, an unprocessed file containing more information than the usual JPEG. RAW files provide greater flexibility when editing because of the large amount of information found in the file. If synching is turned on, the images on the mobile app will be available on the desktop and vice versa. Presets are another important part of this app, you can access saved presets without touching your computer.

(NOTE: an Adobe Creative Cloud membership is required to use the app but this is totally worth the investment for any creator.)


Essentially a mobile version of Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Photoshop Express contains more possibilities for photo editing. The app includes the basics, such as cropping and rotate, but two of my most-used features are remove red-eye and pet-eye. This tool is a life-saver for photographs with flash. Just like Lightroom CC, PS Express supports the use of TIFF files. Another important feature is blemish removal which removes dust and dirt and smooth surfaces in your image; even though I do use this tool in Photoshop, I actually prefer using Facetune 2 to correct blemishes.

(NOTE: an Adobe Creative Cloud membership is required to use the app but this is totally worth the investment for any creator.)

Facetune 2

Although this can be a controversial editing app, Facetune 2 can also be very helpful. I use it for minimal fixes found within the retouching tool. This app can completely change your face shape, which is the cause for the controversy. I have no desire to use this tool but it is fun to play with. I generally choose this app to smooth certain aspects of my photo, bring out details, and whiten my backgrounds. When it comes to Instagram themes, many people use the whiten tool to create crisp, clean, and consistent backgrounds.

Google Drive

Last but not least, it is important to save all of your images. Using external storage helps you keep your phone clutter free. I like to have my files saved in multiple locations in case an unfortunate event happens, like I lose my phone or hard drive. There are many options for external storage so make sure you do your research and find the one that best suits you, I prefer Google Drive. It is also convenient to be able to access your photos on all of your devices.

I hope you learned about some new tools! Let me know in the comments if you have tried any of these apps or any new apps you would like to share. Remember that these are just tools and suggestions, make your creative process your own and have fun with it!

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