Ever wondered what photography apps the top photographers around the world use each day?
In this guide, you’ll discover 22 amazing photography apps for iOS and Android that you didn’t know before!
Beginner or professional, the best smartphone photography apps can help you plan, shoot, edit and share all your latest photos.
Whether you shoot with an iPhone or Android mobile device, there’s a way to replace the stock camera app to take full advantage of your smartphone.
You’ll be able to import Raw files from your camera to edit on your phone, apply filters, remove objects and do so much more – even with a free photo editing app!
Did you know you can use your phone as a light meter? Or check the direction of the sunset? Or even calculate a long exposure?
Mobile photography has never been more accessible and fun, so let’s take a closer look at the recommended apps.
Table of Contents
Best 22 Photography Apps in 2023
1. The Photographer’s Companion
One of the best free Android photography apps for outdoor photography, the Photographer’s Companion acts much like an almanac, but for photography.
For planning your shoot, the Companion will give you the exact time of sunrise, the golden hour, and the blue hour, as well as detailing the position of the sun, moon, stars, and the Northern Lights. If you give it location permissions, it will also offer the best settings for shooting at those times.
The Photographer’s Companion is also the boss in-the-field calculations, instantaneously providing settings for equivalent exposure, depth of field, field of view, and whatever flash or macro photography calculations you might b needing. Other features include an intervalometer, a pocket light meter, and print size calculations.
The Photographer’s Companion comes in both a free version and a paid Pro version. The Pro version is ad-free and adds a few additional features. It’s also only $3.49, so there’s not really much of a reason to go for the free one, except maybe to try it out.
Availability: Android only. Free and paid versions ($3.49).
Much like the Photographer’s Companion, PhotoPills has all the planning tools you need for figuring out where the sun, moon, stars, and milky way will be at any given moment.
It also calculates everything else a photographer may need, from depth of field to exposure settings.
One thing Photopills has that the Photographer’s Companion doesn’t is an augmented reality mode that can superimpose the position of the sun, moon or stars from any time or date over the view on your phone’s camera.
AR mode is fantastic for giving you time to set up your shot before the “critical” moment and can even function a bit like a dark skies app – giving you full knowledge of just how dark the sky will b at any time.
There is a bit of a learning curve to using this app, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll find it indispensable for any landscape or astrophotography.
Availability: iOS and Android. $10.99. In-app purchases available too.
3. The Photographer’s Ephemeris
The Photographer’s Ephemeris is another one of the best photography apps for outdoor photography, this time for iPhone users exclusively. It lets you see how the light will fall outdoors anywhere in the world at any time.
Want to know exactly when the golden hour, blue hour or northern lights will be at their height? No problem! The Photographer’s Ephemeris maps the position of the sun, moon, and stars, and tells you which days are best for shooting and at what time.
Advanced features include augmented reality, night mode, line-of-sight analysis and visual search options.
It’s available for iPhone users for a one-time payment of $9.99, as well as offering in-app purchases.
Sorry Android users, but the Android version is currently being updated and is not available at the moment. Hopefully, it’ll come back online soon.
Availability: iOS. $9.99. You can also get the information for free on the Photo Ephemeris website.
4. Exposure Calculator
While it’s important to know how to figure out exposure on your own, there are just some times it’s handier to have it done for you.
Quicosoft’s Exposure Calculator photo app will help you dial in your exposure pretty much instantaneously. Simply enter in the exposure variables, and voila! You’ll get the one you’re looking for.
It’s especially helpful for finding the shutter speed when shooting long exposure with DSLRs and/or using ND filters. It’ll even work out what your exposure should be when using stacked ND filters.
If you find things a little off, the app also comes with a compensation slider so you can fine-tune the settings.
Availability: Android only. Free. If you’re looking for an iPhone photo app, check out the Long Exposure Calculator on the Apple Play website (also free).
5. myLightMeter Pro/Light Meter
Ever found yourself on a photoshoot and wish you’d brought a light meter with you? MyLightMeter by David Quiles (Light Meter on Google Play) will turn your smartphone into a handy pocket light meter. (Your phone needs to be able to save exposure info into an Exif file.)
While the accuracy of this photo app (and really any phone light meter) will depend largely on the quality of your phone, myLightMeter allows you to calibrate to whatever source you like. (Though many users report this app to be spot on from the get-go.)
6. Hyperfocal Pro
HyperFocal Pro is another excellent photography app for on-location DSLR shooters. As its name suggests, it calculates hyperfocal distance, as well as depth of field, field of view, and angle of view.
Although the UI is pretty basic, there’s a built-in advanced graphical scenario viewer that’s super handy. It’ll show the entire shooting scene, complete with all of the relevant stats.
You can also create and save profiles, allowing you to switch between different set-ups with ease.
Availability: Android only. Free. No ads or in-app purchases.
7. Camera Zoom FX
Moving on to the best all-around photography apps for mobile photography, Camera Zoom FX is an app that replaces the native camera app on your Android phone, both improving your smartphone camera’s performance and adding a ton of features.
Basic features include a timer, grid overlay, a horizon leveller, and manual controls for ISO, white balance, and shutter speed. More advanced features include full manual DSLR controls (using Camera API2), image stabilization, voice activation, and the ability to assign camera functions to your phone’s buttons.
It comes with a decent suite of photo editing tools, over 40 effects and filters, and easy single-tap photo sharing. Depending on your device, Camera Zoom FX can save photos as either jpg or Raw. It also claims to speed up your camera substantially.
There are also a number of free download packs and paid plugins you can add to the app.
Availability: Android only ($4.99). In-app purchases available.
ProShot is one of the best photography apps for transforming your smartphone into a full-featured point-and-shoot camera. It gives you manual control of just about everything having to do with photo or video on your phone, as well a number of cool additional features.
Its modes include Auto, Program, and Manual mode, as well as two programmable custom modes. Switching between modes is super easy, as is changing exposure settings.
Also, manual mode works in all of ProShot’s drive modes (which include Video, Slomo, Timelapse, and Light Painting.)
Like all the photography apps, ProsShot’s features will be limited by the hardware you use it on, but in an ideal setting, it offers video up to 4K at 60 FPS, slow motion up to 4K 240 FPS, real-time audio monitoring, and support for both jpg and Raw files.
There are more features in the iOS version than in the one made for Android devices, but the software works well on both platforms.
Availability: iOS and Android. $5.99.
9. Manual Camera
Another photo app designed to turn your smartphone into a DSLR-like camera (or at least into a high-featured point-and-shoot), Manual Camera DSLR gives you full manual control over ISO, shutter speed, white balance, and manual focus.
You can shoot in Raw, use real-time filters/color effects, and if your device allows it, have full control over your video frame and bit rate. There’s even face detection/recognition and a great burst mode that allows for setting the time intervals between shots.
Like ProShot above, Manual Camera also allows you to shoot in 4K if your device will support it.
If your Android phone is running on older software beware: many of the more advanced features of Manual Camera require Android 5.0+ with Camera2API enabled.
Availability: Android only. $4.99
10. Camera+ 2
If you’re an iPhone user, you might want to look into Camera+ 2 – currently one of the most popular photo apps for iOS. It not only gives you excellent manual control of the iPhone camera, but it also works as an editing app with a number of presets and a basic suite of photo editing tools.
Since it’s made especially for iPhone, Camera+ 2 is fully integrated iOS 12+ and works within the iOS camera roll, needing no clunky importing or photo duplication. It even comes with an integrated Raw photo editor.
The most current version of the app includes a Monuments Mode (removes all moving objects from a picture), a number of new and improved photo filters, and much more robust picture editing.
Definitely one of the better photography apps for iPhone!
Availability: iOS only. $7.99. Works on both iPhone and iPad.
11. ProCam X (HD Camera Pro)
Much easier to use than some of the other smartphone apps designed to turn your smartphone into a manually-controlled camera, ProCam X has an excellent UI, lots of manual camera features, customizable burst shooting, and 4K video.
The features are pretty similar to many of the apps already mentioned, but many shooters really prefer the UI over the others.
The pro version is fairly popular, but if you want to try it out first or just don’t want to pay, you can opt for ProCam X Lite.
Availability: Android only. $4.99.
12. Bacon Camera
If you have an older Android phone and/or one that doesn’t run Camera2 API, take a look at Bacon Camera.
Bacon Camera is as unusual as its name. Probably the first Android App that offers manual controls without Camera2 API, Bacon Camera works only on cameras that do not require Camera2 API.
It offers all the usual manual controls: focus, exposure, white balance, ISO, etc. There’s also support for Raw files, a histogram for both RGB and luminance, exposure bracketing, a GIF maker, and a remote shutter control.
It hasn’t been updated lately and it’s not for everyone, but if you have an older Android this might be the perfect photography app for you.
Availability: Android only. Free.
If you’re going to do mobile photography, you’re going to need a way to edit photos without transferring them to a desktop computer. That’s where aesthetic photo editing mobile apps like Snapseed come in.
Snapseed has just about everything you’ll need to edit pictures and then share them on social media. For beginners, there’s plenty of one-click adjustments and presets to get your photo looking great.
For the professional photographer, there’s a healthy suite of manual photo editing tools, giving you precise control over how your image looks (including healing brushes).
Many say that Snapseed is hands down the best free photo editor out there, and since it doesn’t cost anything, there’s no reason not to try it.
Availability: iOS and Android. Free.
14. Adobe Lightroom Mobile
Most pro photographers agree that the desktop version of Adobe Lightroom is one of the best photography apps on the planet. Thankfully, its mobile version is no slouch either.
The Adobe Lightroom app for smartphones and tablets offers just about everything Lightroom Classic does and with a number of additional features for the smartphone app alone.
It comes with plenty of presets, advanced editing options, and fantastic tools for organizing your camera’s photo library.
The UI is quite different to Lightroom Classic’s, as it was designed to be phone-friendly. So don’t be surprised if it looks a lot different to the desktop version of Lightroom.
Also, the synchronization between the desktop and mobile version makes this a must-have app for folks who already have Lightroom Classic or CC. It’s super easy to transfer photos from computer to smartphone to social media platforms.
Definitely one of the best photo apps out there and what’s more, it’s free!
Availability: iOS and Android. Free. In-app purchases available.
If you’re looking for a single app that can do it all, take a look at Pixtica.
Made for both photographers and filmmakers, Pixtica is designed to be an intuitive, advanced camera app for both photos and videos.
It offers a gallery, manual camera settings, feature-packed photo and video editing capabilities, and GIF creation tools.
Extra features include a meme editor, document scanner, and the ability to create Tiny Planet images.
Availability: Android only. Free. In-app purchases available.
16. Adobe Photoshop Express
All of the Adobe Photoshop apps are fantastic and Express is no exception. Relying primarily on AI-powered one-click features, Express is a fun, yet full-powered image editor that lets you create high-quality images with a simple swipe or tap of the finger.
As it’s a pared-down version of desktop Adobe Photoshop, it’s a lot easier to use and more suitable for newcomers to photo retouching.
Definitely one of the best photo apps for inspiring creativity, and if you’re already an Adobe product user, it’ll be easy to sync with your other Adobe apps.
Availability: iOS and Android. Free.
Everyone comes across a time when they want to remove from an image – the annoying tourist that won’t move, telephone wires, spots that just don’t look right.
While many photo editing apps have some capacity for this, most aren’t that great (web apps included). That’s where TouchRetouch comes in.
TouchRetouch is a fantastically useful app if you consistently edit images on your smartphone. It’s fast, has a UI that works well with just about all smartphone cameras, and performs much better than, say, the healing brush in Snapseed.
It’s not quite as good as the desktop version of Photoshop, but for smartphones TouchRetouch is hard to beat.
Availability: Both iOS ($3.99) and Android ($2.00).
Afterlight is one of the more creative photo apps. The tools run the gamut from one-click filters to high-powered manual editing tools, all with the intention to help you create your signature photo style.
With over 130 proprietary filters, 60 textures and overlays, original fonts and artwork, and many other creative tools, you’ll be sure to find something that will set your images apart from the herd.
Availability: Both iOS and Android. Free. In-app purchases available. See: Afterlight review.
VSCO is one of the most popular photo apps of the younger generations. The presets are based on film-style color grading and are simply superb.
There are plenty of standard manual editing tools as well. You can save personalized looks as “recipes,” upload photos directly to your VSCO profile, and/or create photo montages.
The free version of VSCO comes with a few basic filters that are fine for getting started, but you’ll need to sign up for a subscription to access the bulk of their features.
Availability: Free download on iOS and Android, but most filters are available only with a paid subscription ($19.99 per year).
The only photo editing app that is exclusively for black-and-white photography, Hypocam is a must-have for anyone who loves monochrome photography.
It features live-view controls, tools designed exclusively for B/W photography, and an integrated news feed for inspiration.
Availability: Both iOS and Android. Free. Offers in-app purchases.
21. Adobe Photoshop Camera Photo Filters
One of the newer photo apps on the market, Adobe Photoshop Camera is still in its testing phase but even so, it has plenty to offer.
Designed exclusively for social media users, Photoshop Camera comes packed with presets and filters, all of which are designed to augment your online presence.
What’s more, it uses AI to analyze the contents of each photo and offer the best effects for each of your smartphone photos.
Availability: iOS and Android. Free. Offers in-app purchases.
Looking to turn your smartphone photos into paintings or works of art? Prisma is one app that shies away from the subtle. Instead, it goes all-out for the full painterly effect.
In fact, many of the Prisma filters were inspired by famous painters like Picasso, Van Gogh, and Salvador Dali.
Be advised, the filters are strong and won’t necessarily work with every image…but when you find one that works you’ll be amazed at the transformation!
Be sure to turn the watermark off in the settings menu to keep your friends wondering how on earth you created such amazing picture!
Availability: iOS and Android, $8 a month or $30 a year. Free app download and basic filters. Subscription plan needed for full functionality.
From some of the best photo editing apps for smartphones to camera apps that improve image quality and give you full control over your smartphone camera, today’s world of photo apps has something for everyone.
Finding the best ones for you might take a bit of trial and error, as they’ll need to fit in well with your workflow, what you like to shoot, and the capabilities of your phone.
There are even apps that help you to restore old photos back to their former glory, or even colorize black and white photos – check out our Photomyne review for one such option.
It’s also important to remember: smartphone apps will only be as good as your phone’s abilities.
That being said, what do you think? Which are the best photo apps for today’s photographers? Did I leave any out that you really like?
One more thing – if you’re about to go travelling and need a new photo for your passport, check out our guide to the best free passport photo apps so you can take your own.