My sister-in-law is a professional photographer. She also happens to have the three most photogenic kids on the planet (who also just happen to be my niece and nephews). When I would visit, I used to go green with envy when viewing her colorful, expressive photo galleries. But then when I got my smart phone, I discovered I no longer needed to know anything about photography to take great shots. Suddenly, family, friends and (most of all) my pet parrot became frequent unwitting stars in my own ever-expanding photo galleries. Best of all, if for some reason my phone doesn't snap the perfect pic the first time around, I have also discovered a host of great, free photo editing apps to take the guesswork out of fixing a shot that needs a bit of extra help. I hope you’ll enjoy these free photo apps as much as I do!

1. Adobe Photoshop Express


I use Adobe Photoshop Elements on my Mac and I just love it. It does nearly everything its much more expensive cousin (Adobe Photoshop) does for a fraction of the price—and is much easier to use. The price is even better for Photoshop's mobile app (free!) and the functionality is simple yet comprehensive. You can crop, fix red-eye, adjust color, add borders and filters, reduce impurities, share on social media, and even print to Walgreens then go over to pick up the hard copies!

2. Lab

If you like making collages, montages, greeting cards, holiday cards and even text, Lab is the app for you! The site advertises that more than 15 thousand folks download this popular app every day. The interface is simple to use and offers more than 500 different types of adjustments and effects.

3. Pixlr-o-matic

Pixlr-o-matic adds all kinds of special effects—boasting more than two million combinations in the description. While there were a few issues with Version 2.2, they have all been smoothed out and the continued popularity of the app ensures its creators will remain responsive to customer requests. You can edit existing photos or take new ones from inside the app and then add effects. You can also use the "randomizer" to create a unique look generated by the app itself.

4. Instagram

No list of photo editing apps would be complete without mention of Instagram, the photo app that has literally transformed how photos are snapped, edited and shared online. With an estimated 150 million downloads and counting, you can use this app on both photos and videos.

5. Flickr

Flickr online has been around for a very long time. But the app has taken its own time to earn similar kudos from the likes of The New York Times ("beautiful") and Forbes ("best mobile app"). For hobbyists and professional photographers alike, the Flickr app seamlessly integrates with the user's Flickr account online to snap and share, set privacy settings and store (each user gets one terabyte of free storage).

6. Snapseed

Snapseed is an app that lets you edit photos to your heart's content and has earned praise from the likes of Wired magazine for bringing professional photo editing— for free—to the smart phone. AutoCorrect offers one-tap adjustments. The feature automatically makes corrections where needed to display your photo to its best advantage, and you can fine-tune from there.

7. Color Effects

Finally, while this app may not offer full photo editing functionality, what it does offer is nothing short of amazing so I couldn't resist including it! You can change colors on any photo in whole or in part. You can also gray out all but one key facet of any photo. You also have access to effects like zoom, edge correction and transparency. The app also integrates fully with social media tools.

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