3 Top-Notch Tools You Can Use to Edit Your Photos

Have you ever wondered how to remove “red eye” from your photos, or combine images into a snazzy digital collage?

Editing photos is no longer just for professional photographers….regular people (like you and me) can do it, too! With today’s technology, even novice photographers can edit pictures right on their phones. We can even take pictures of old print photos, and use editing apps to improve them.

If you’ve ever wanted to edit one of your photos, or if you’ve wondered what kinds of things you can change when you edit a photo, this post is for you. In this article, we’ve gathered some of our best photo editing tips, and reviewed three photo editing tools to help get you started.

Why Do We Need to Edit Our Photos?

Why should we edit photos? Why not just work the originals?

PicMonkey’s blog says:

Your camera can only capture a relatively narrow dynamic range. So it’s reasonable – and right – to use all the tools available to overcome those limitations and put back what the camera took out.”

We can edit photos for many reasons, and there are lots of things we can change and improve in our images. We can make corrections, like improving lighting, removing red eye, straightening a photo, or rotating it to the correct orientation.

Sometimes we need to make changes to a photo to get it ready to post on social media, or to buy a print of the image.

We can also do slightly more complicated tasks, like adding text to a photo or combining several images to make a digital photo collage, with just a few clicks.

What Kinds of Things Can I Do with Photo Editing Tools?

There are a number of affordable, easy-to-use editing tools you can use to improve or make changes to your photos. You’d be surprised how many things photo editing tools can do for you!

With photo editing tools, you can:

  • Make light and color adjustments to correct or enhance your photo.
  • Remove red and yellow highlights in your subject’s eyes by using a red eye correction feature.

Quick editing tip: Sometimes with red eye correction, the app doesn’t notice when your subject’s eye appears more yellow than red. You may need to try a couple of times and make sure the area size of the editing tool (usually a circle) is the same as the area to be corrected.

  • Erase bits of an image (like flecks, signs, or even people in the distance) using a blemish or retouch tool.
  • Correct your photo’s orientation (from landscape to portrait, and vice versa) by utilizing the rotation feature. Quick editing tip: Digital photos have an “orientation” tag that doesn’t always translate to editing programs. We’ll talk more about photo metadata and tags in our next post.
  • Crop your photo to improve the composition, or remove unwanted parts of the picture.
  • Change the angle of your photo. Straightening an image can correct the photo, or add a creative change.
  • Give the image a unique or artistic look by adding a filter effect.
  • Darken or lighten the corners of a photo, emphasizing the center of the image, by using the “vignettes” feature.
  • Add a border to highlight the image and make it stand out.

3 Easy-to-Use Tools for Editing Your Photos

There are many expensive photo editing applications on the market. Fortunately, with the advent of mobile devices, there are a host of quality apps to choose from, too – and most of them are free!

Here are the top three tools I recommend for people who want to experiment with editing their photos:

1. Photos (for Mac users)

Photos is a photo editing and image management application developed by Apple. It’s a user friendly, easy-to-learn tool that you can use to edit photos on your computer, iPhone, or iPad.

When you’re using Photos to edit a photo, you’ll need to make a duplicate of your original photo and edit the duplicate. This ensures that you’re always have a copy of your original, in case you make a mistake or need the original, unedited image at some point!

While you’re editing in Photos, you can compare your original with the new, edited version, so you can see subtle changes easily on your screen. You’ll also be able to see or add information about your photo.

When you’re using the iCloud Photo Library feature, your images will sync across all of your Apple devices, so you’ll be able to see your edited photo on your other devices, too. For example, if you edit a photo on your computer, that edited photo will appear on the photo library on your iPhone, too.

Photo’s basic editing features include:  

  • Auto enhance (automatically correct the color and saturation to make the image look more like what you see in real life)
  • Filters
  • Rotate
  • Crop and straighten features. Photo editing tip: Cropping a photo changes its appearance everywhere in Photos, including in all your albums, slideshows, and projects. Make sure you duplicate your original image FIRST, before you start cropping and editing – then make changes only to your duplicate.

The red-eye fix, retouch tool, and vignettes feature are only available in the Mac version of Photos.

Most Apple devices come with Photos built in, so you shouldn’t need to purchase or install extra software to use this application. Need help with Photos? Apple provides separate user guides for the Mac, iPhone and iPad version of Photos.

2. Photoshop Express App

Photoshop Express is a mobile application created by Adobe (the folks behind the full-featured version of Photoshop). The app is free and available in the app store on your phone, and it’s an easy-to-learn, user friendly tool.

When you’re editing your image with Photoshop Express, you can compare your original with your edited photo, and the app will also auto-save your edited image to your photo library.

Photoshop Express’s basic features include:

  • Auto enhance or correction tools
  • Blemish removal
  • Vignettes, borders and frames

Photoshop Express has some sophisticated features that aren’t available on some of the other free apps. Those features include:

  • Crop commands that allow you to resize your photo appropriately for social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
  • Adding text to a photo.
  • Collage features, so you can combine multiple photos into a single image (including your choice of several different collage layouts).
  • An extensive selection of image border options.
  • Thumbnail images, so you can see what your possible preset edits look like.

Once you’re done editing your photo, you can:

  • Save the image to your camera roll on your phone.
  • Share your image by posting it on social media.
  • Send the photo to your Lightroom library.
  • Open the image with WhatsApp, your email program, Message, or Facebook Messenger.


VSCO is a photography mobile app (available for iOS and Android) created by Visual Supply Company. VSCO is only available as a mobile app, and you can find it in the App store on your phone.

Once you select a photo using VSCO, you can change the image with one of ten preset filters. There are additional presets you can download – some of these presets are free, and some have a fee associated with them. Make sure to read the fine print before you download a new filter.

According to online reviews, the soft and faded look of VSCO’s filters are very popular on Instagram.

VSCO’s basic editing features include:  

  • Rotate
  • Crop
  • Straighten
  • Vignettes
  • Sharpen
  • Straighten
  • Skew

Once you’re done editing your photo, you can:

  • Share your image by posting it on social media, texting it to a friend or relative, or emailing it to someone.
  • Save the image to your camera roll on your phone.
  • Print the image.
  • Delete the image.

The filters and editing features (such as brightness, contrast and saturation) in the VSCO tools are more robust than other mobile apps, so it does take a bit more time to learn than Photos or Photoshop Express.

It’s Your Turn!

When you’re looking for the right photo editing application for you, you can definitely try out all three applications, and see which one you like best.

Of the three tools, I think Photos and Photoshop Express are the most user-friendly and practical for the novice, everyday photographer.

Do you have a favorite photo editing tool to recommend? Share it in the comments below!

6 thoughts on “3 Top-Notch Tools You Can Use to Edit Your Photos

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.