The iPad may not have a camera, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be an integral tool in your artistic portfolio. You can sync photos from your desktop, transfer them to the iPad using the iPad Camera Connection Kit, or download them from the web. No matter how you acquire the photos, the right apps on your iPad can help you to enhance the photos you capture, fix simple mistakes, create your own masterpieces, and share those images with others. Here are the best iPad apps on basic photo editing.
Best Photo Editing Apps for iPad – Adobe Photoshop Express (Free)
Adobe recently has added the iPad to its list of Photoshop mobile platforms with the announcement that you can now get Photoshop Express for the Apple tablet.
The app, already available for the iPhone and Android handsets, gets a name change as well, to Photoshop Express, and has been optimised for use with the iPad, says Adobe.
Features include the ability to crop, adjust colour, and apply effects like giving an extra glow with Soft Focus, as well as getting artsy with the Sketch feature.
Users will also be able to apply one-touch effects like Warm Vintage and Vignette.
The free app is available now in both the UK and US iTunes stores.
Best Photo Editing Apps for iPad – Crop Suey HD ($1.99)
You can’t usually judge an iPad app by its name, but in this case you certainly can: at its heart, Crop Suey HD is a cropping tool. That may sound underwhelming until you consider that sometimes the simplest tools are also the most useful. When you first start the app, you are presented with a simple three-step tutorial. Simply touch the Open Image icon in the top left corner of the screen, choose an image, and then use the tools at the bottom of the screen to manipulate it.
There are only six options from which to choose: discard, straighten, rotate, flip, crop, and save. None of the four main tools is particularly advanced or complex, but they do represent the most commonly used photo manipulation tools. Once you choose a tool, the work is absolutely effortless, and you quickly realize that cropping photos on the iPad is so much easier than it is using a “real” computer. Crop Suey may not be particularly fancy, but it does the job and it’s easy to use.
Best Photo Editing Apps for iPad – FX Photo Studio HD ($2.99)
Instead of giving you the basic tools to make your own adjustments, this FX Photo Studio HD app presents you with a menu of effects, from art filters and distortions to frames and textures.
There are lots of effects from which to choose but you can only apply one at a time to your photo, which means that you have to save the photo each time you decide to keep a change. More surprisingly, even though this is a paid app, you have to pay to unlock additional basic effects, such as color lenses, color strokes, art frames, classic frames, and Hollywood FX.
I appreciate the extra touches that went into the app, such as the ability to mark particular filters and effects as favorites for quick access, as well as the “roll the dice” feature that applies a random effect to your photo. FX Photo Studio HD can apply some fun effects to your photos, but you can’t do much more than pick a filter and accept the results. It can be fun, but there are better photo apps in the App Store.
Best Photo Editing Apps for iPad – Photoforge ($4.99)
The Photoforge iPad app starts with a blank canvas you can use to edit your photos. Icons on the top invite you to choose your tool, and the bottom is where you’ll find the color picker, brush options, and crop and filter tools. Multiple levels of undo and redo allow you to experiment however you like, without fear of making a mistake. Finished photos can be saved to your iPad’s photo library or saved and emailed to a friend.
Photoforge is powerful, but it can be a little unwieldy thanks to very small unlabeled icons and several layers within the filter menus. Unlike other photo editing apps, you can zoom in for a closer view if you’re trying to edit something with a delicate touch. If you’re willing to put in some time learning how to use it, Photoforge can be a good choice, but not a great one.
Best Photo Editing Apps for iPad – Amopic ($6.99)
The Amopic iPad app is the closest I found to desktop photo editing apps. Instead of using a sidebar with the various options laid out like a buffet, Amopic makes extensive use of floating boxes and controls. When you tap one of the categories at the bottom of the screen for Tools, Effects, Pallete (sic), Options and History you will then be presented with a tiny icon bar from which to choose.
Choose Tools for options that control the diameter, hardness, and flow of your paintbrush; a color picker; a text tool; a line tool; spray can; and paint bucket. Under Effects you’ll find options relating to blur, sharpen, pixelize, despeckle, emboss and to remove red eye. You can also apply color effects to your photo with the Pallete (sic) menu. The only sharing option at this time is to save the finished photo to your iPad’s photo album.