In the course of testing and reviewing hundreds of apps from the Android Market, we’ve come across several excellent camera replacement, photo editing and styling apps. Saturated as said genre might be, a new quality app finds a way on to the shelves every now and then, bringing with it a new or better assortment of features. If you’re new to Android, a casual photography enthusiast, an avid photo-sharer or just very fond of trying out new apps but don’t get the time to browse through the Market, trying each of the most popular ones one by one, join us after the break for our list of the ten best Android freeware in the photography category.
It took a while for the (initially iOS-exclusive) photo-sharing giant to come to Android, but when it did, it did not disappoint. The app is among the first of its kind, and has inspired countless other photo styling and sharing apps on all major platforms. Instagram lets you capture new photos or import existing ones from local storage, apply effects to them and share them over its own network and/or other social media. It offers adjustable linear and radial tilt-shift effects and an auto-adjustment effect called Lux that increases the prominence of darker areas in a photo. Instagram is adored for its filters, but what really keeps this app at the top of the photo sharing scenario is its ever-growing user-base, which forms the largest photo-sharing network across all mobile platforms.
Still in beta as of this writing, Lightbox is perhaps already one of the most balanced camera replacement, photo styling, cloud storage, viewing and sharing suites on the Market. Though not primarily a photo styling app, Lightbox for Android has quite a respectable assortment of photo filters and its ability to automatically sync with personal cloud storage, social media (photos from Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Foursquare), popular photo hosting web services and news networks makes it a fantastic, all-in-one alternative to both the stock camera and gallery apps.
Download Lightbox Photos
Update: The app seems to have been removed from the Google Play Store after Facebook acquired Lightbox.
Camera360 is one of the Market’s oldest and most applauded camera replacement and photo styling apps and for good reason. The app sports an Image Stabilization Mode to aid you in snapping photos and comes packed with a small collection of quality photo filters, scenery frames, funny photo effects and stickers, a Tilt-shift mode that allows you to fake selective focus and a Color-shift mode that lets you desaturate (convert to grayscale) all color in a snapped photo except the selected one.
Feature-rich yet extremely easy to use, PicSay takes photo editing to a new level with resizable stickers, titles, speech bubbles and more than a few handy effect tools (the Distort tool in particular). The app allows you to import photos from the gallery/SD card, transform and choose from a wide variety of title styles, speech balloons, stickers and effects to add to them. The app’s flexible Word Balloon (speech bubble) tool makes it particularly useful for creating comics.
PicsIn Photo Studio
Take major features from the Android Market’s most popular photo editors, stuff them together into one app and you get PicsIn Photo Studio. The app is undoubtedly the most comprehensive camera replacement and photo editing application out there. With PicSin, you can snap photos, import photos from your gallery, Google, Dropbox, Picasa, Flickr and Facebook, draw on existing photos or a blank canvas, create photo collages, edit and distort photos, apply filters and effects, add text, speech bubbles, stickers, frames, clipart and photo masks (phew!). And that’s not all. You can even add photos within photos and filters can be painted on to selective portions images.
Download PicsIn Photo Studio (Not available in Play Store anymore)
With this easy-to-use photo styling app, you can never run out of photo filters. Little Photo’s filter assortment is probably the largest among apps from its genre. And it isn’t all quantity and no quality. The filters are fairly impressive – enough to have you flicking through them endlessly.
If Magic Hour’s vast online Filter Market and 40 built-in photo filters don’t prove enough to satisfy your need to express creativity, you can create and apply your own filters or edit existing ones with, producing different results each time. Easy on the eyes yet extremely efficient and user-friendly, the app’s interface makes creating photographic masterpieces a snap.
The camera adds 10 pounds, they say. Well, this one adds a few hundred. Fatbooth may very well be the funniest app in the Market’s photography category. The app uses facial recognition to detect faces in snapped or imported photos and fat-ifies them. Using a front shot of your face, you can transform yourself into an obese, double-chinned couch-potato with nothing more than a few fine adjustments and a single tap.
Five impressive retro presets and a matching old-school interface makes Retro Camera a must-have photo styling app for retro fans. There are a lot of similar apps on the Market but Retro Camera’s small but quality assortment of realistic photo effects and a simple yet snazzy interface gives it an obvious edge over most.
PhotoFunia is meant for users who want to have plain and simple fun with their photos. The app uses facial recognition or simple transformation fit faces or whole photos into still or animated scenes of your choice. All you need to do is select a scene from the app’s vast online database (containing over 150 scenes), choose a photo from the gallery or snap a new one and let PhotoFunia do the rest.
Now that we have covered all ten photo apps, let us know which one’s your favorite and why?