Best Free Image Editor for iOS

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Introduction

Why break your back with a ten kilo camera bag to get the photograph you want when the new Apple devices can capture them just as well? The times of hauling out the film markers and scissors to be able to edit photographs professionally are over and it is now possible for the everyday person to make their personal photos look great by just using your Apple device.

 

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Discussion

Fojo

From the moment you open this app Fojo, you are greeted by user friendly layout guides.

There is a dialog box at the top of the screen that tells you what lens you are using and what the camera ratio is.

Taking a Photograph 

The camera is cut out in the middle of the screen, with two movable dialog boxes, one denoting where the photograph should have the highest exposure and the other where the camera should focus. This is already a step up from the usual Camera App that only allows a Focus changing option.

Underneath the viewfinder, you are able to choose from a selection of seventeen "Films", or as we like to call them in the Mobile Imaging World, "filters".

Tweaking the camera ratios at the top of the screen in the left side of the center-tab, you are able to adjust the dimensions of your photograph. My personal favourite for this is the 1:2.

After taking a photograph (by tapping elsewhere on the viewfinder), you are able to view your photograph. The settings used for that particular photograph are viewable from the bottom of the screen and an option box is displayed at the top of the screen for taking another photograph with the same settings - pretty nifty!

Editing a Photograph

On the bottom hand right side of your screen, you have the option to delete your photograph. We're not going to do that just yet.

In the middle is an advertisement for what looks like a new product or add-on to this App. But on the left hand side, is a small icon of a paintbrush throwing dome sparkles. We're going to click on that. It refreshes the screen and adds a checkered behind the photograph we're working on. A range of editing tools is now available at our fingertips in the same retro colour scheme as the rest of the App. The top row of tools (shown above the photograph) are essentials that cancel the process, undo and redo, remove red-eye and save the photograph. In the bottom row (below the photograph), we have our real editing tools.

First and foremost, our films. If you forgot to add a film or want to perhaps change the film you used in the photograph, you can still do so here. Next we have our vignette, a tricky technique to perfect in the professional side of Photography, but an easy click away for the Fojo-user. There are three presets. The first one is Soft which is barely noticeable on the black and white photograph that I'm using. The second one is Darker, which shows quite prevalently. The last one is a Pinhole preset which might not suit my photograph too well, but will do magic on a proper pinhole-worthy topic.

Frames are next, and users are able to choose from five different frames - all of them never straying from the soft pastel style of the App. Cropping and Rotating comes next, which are standard functions - but after that comes a tool that I have not seen in many Image Editors at all. This tool is called White Balance. For a Photographer, White Balance is everything - but it doesn't need to only be for the photographers! White Balance can do wonders on any photograph and I urge all users who download this App to try it out. Furthermore, we have a few more tools that often never rear their heads in the world of Mobile Editing Software. We have Levels, Curves, Channel Mixer, RGB, Hue, Saturation, Contrast, Exposure and Sharpen - all brilliant, brilliant and almost ESSENTIAL editing tools for any Computer-based editing software.

I am thoroughly impressed with the operational skills, layout and camera of this App. If you're looking for an App that allows you to explore the same level of editing software as the professionals use in their Photo Labs, this is the App for you!

 

Instagram

Putting aside the following of teenage “hipsters” that Instagram has become famous for – it’s also known as one of the easiest ways to edit and share photographs.

Let’s start with the basics; to download Instagram, you’re looking at a 14.5MB download from the App Store. The iOS requirement is iOS5 and higher, so if you’re still rocking the iPhone 3G or lower, you’re unfortunately not going to be able to use this app.
Once your app is finished downloading, it’ll open up a screen asking you to either Sign In or Register. Being an avid instagrammer myself, I had to completely alienate myself from the environment of my own profile and create a new alias to review the app under.
Once all your details are filled in, you can click Done and get down to the good stuff. The interface is easy to work with – which is nice for those of us who don’t want to meddle around with intense camera settings to take a nice photo.
You can use a photograph which is already stored on your device or take a new one.

Taking a new photograph & editing it

Once you’ve framed up the photograph that you want to take, you can shift the light-focus by clicking on the object you want in focus on the viewfinder. By default, the entire image will be of the same light. Once you’ve assigned an area of focus, the rest of the image around that object will fall darker.
Once you’ve taken the image, you can move it around to frame it up along the grid as well as zoom in or out – and then click Crop.
The next window will look fairly similar, except for the new row of options at the bottom of the image. You’ll notice a variety of filters that you can use to edit the photograph. Options to tilt, blur and Sharpen/Contrast the photograph are also available.
I’m not a personal fan of the Instagram-filters, due to the fact that the majority of them just apply a blotch of light in the centre of the photograph – all just in different hues.
The blur function is useful for those of us who enjoy using depth of field. It gives the photograph a slightly more professional look.
Another feature available on this window is the use of Frames. Unfortunately, each filter (as if it were a type of film) has its own unique frame, and it is only possible to enable or disable the function and not alternate between the frames within the filters.

Using an old photograph

Not much changes when you use an old photograph instead of taking a new one.
Instead of using the functionality of the camera in the viewfinder, you will click the photograph in the left hand corner which will be a thumbnail of the latest photograph in your Photos. Once you’ve clicked on that, it will bring up a window that allows you to select a photograph to edit.
Once you’ve framed that up and cropped it, the editing continues as it usually would.

Posting a photograph

Now that we’ve prettied our photo up, we want to see what the world thinks of it. So we’ll go ahead and click Next. You now have the option to add a Caption, Place or Person to your photograph, as well as choose the sharing domains.
An important fact to remember about Instagram is that other users can only find your photograph if you use hashtags in the Caption section. If you’re wanting to use Instagram for personal purposes, it is advised not to add hashtags.
The hashtags used are usually one-word descriptive of the content of the photograph. You can view my example in the screenshot.
I like the use of the hashtags in instagram, as it’s always nice to get feedback from other users. An empty newsfeed is a sad newsfeed.
Once you’re finished setting your domains etc, you can click Share. This will post your photograph to your profile and to the instagram hashtag pages (if you applied any).

Overall

As an Image Editor, I wouldn’t rate Instagram as one of the best.
It’s a great Image Viewer and Sharing Platform, but I do believe that there are Apps that could work better for editing. Some of the more popular, serious Instagrammers do not use Instagram for editing purposes at all – but rather exclusively for sharing. They’ll edit the photographs beforehand on another app and then post it from their Photos.
I like the interface of the app, as it is very user-friendly. This could be one of the reasons that it is so popular among the youngsters.
If you’re between the ages of 13-18 and just want to take some pictures of your dog or your best friend’s silhouette on the beach, throw a filter on it and get some likes, Instagram is the platform for you.
For the more serious Editors, watch this space. 

 

Adobe Photoshop Express

Adobe Photoshop ExpressBetter than the stock app Photos pre-installed on iOS devices with some basic features, Adobe Photoshop Express gives you an excellent experience in editing photos in a quick and easy way with more features available.

You can crop, straighten, rotate or flip a photo with finger-touch gestures, or adjust exposure, saturation, tint, contrast, sharpness, sketch or soft focus of your photos by just dragging a finger across an image. That's impressive as you see your editing results simultaneously when you move your finger.

Turning your photo into black and white is also a standard feature when you need it. But sadly some advanced features like reducing noise to smooth out unwanted image grain and speckling is not available for free.

Adding effects and borders to images are a simple touch away but choices are not as many as those offered by Pixlr-o-matic.

You can undo and redo your editing steps and when done, save or share your results with anyone on Facebook or Photoshop.com.

 

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Quick Selection Guide

Fojo

5
 
Gizmo's Freeware award as the best product in its class!

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
User-friendly, retro-coloured App design. Adjustable photo-dimensions. Huge variety of films/filters. Incredible variety of impressively advanced, yet relatively easy-to-learn editing tools. Great outcome.
Slight changes in taking a photograph than what a user is used to (Clicking on screen in random space instead of a designated button on-screen)
1.1
31.5 MB
This product is portable.

Adobe Photoshop Express

4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
easy to edit with multi-touch gestures, editing features include crop, straighten, rotate or flip, adjust exposure, saturation, tint, contrast, sharpness, sketch or soft focus. Redo and undo steps, save and share.
Limited effects and borders, reduce noise not available in the free version.
3.2
38.0 MB
Unrestricted freeware

Instagram

3
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Free. Easily accessible. User friendly. Social Network. Wide range of effects. Not high-tech for amateur or once-off editors
Sharing is not optional. Editing is not precise. Limited options for editing (besides for effects). Borders for images are decided by the effect you use and are not interchangeable.
5.0.7
12.9 MB
 
 

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