A great iPad photo editing app can transform a lousy photo into a very good one. Or refine and enhance an already good shot. Most of the best photo editing apps for iPad can also add some incredible effects to your photos.
The iPad is now my favorite place to do photo editing and adding effects to images – because of the excellent apps available for this purpose. If you use an iPhone for taking some or all of your photos, the iPad is an attractive option for getting photo editing done – as it’s very easy to transfer your images from iPhone to iPad with the Camera Connection Kit, an online file sync service like Dropbox, or via the excellent Photo Transfer App.
Luckily, this is a category where we are spoiled for choice, with a very large number of quality apps around for photo editing and effects. Hit the break for a rundown of the four (plus one honorable mention) that I think are the very best iPad photo editing apps …
FX Photo Studio HD
My original favorite iPad photo editing app and still a stalwart for me. FX Photo Studio HD offers over 185 different effects across a range of categories, more than any other app and still more are available via In-App purchase.
Still very easy to use despite the huge array of effects. Everything is just a tap or two away with its basic interface. Making adjustments to applied effects is super easy – just tap and drag and it refreshes your image on the fly so you can see exactly how much or how little of an effect you want to apply.
Images can be saved to the Camera Roll, to the Documents folder, or to the Clipboard. You can also upload to online services at up to 1600X1200 resolution. Lets you share via email, Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.
100 Cameras in 1 for iPad
Created by acclaimed photographer Trey Ratcliff. This app has an innovative and very clever interface. You load an image and then just swipe your way through the 100 unique effects. It updates the image vey quickly as you swipe and shows you sliders to adjust the level of effects on the fly.
It offers an Explore section with helpful usage hints, useful links, and even tips and tricks videos. Lets you share your images to Twitter, Facebook, Smugmug, Flickr, and even Instagram.
Photogene for iPad
Very versatile app, with excellent editing tools. It doesn’t offer as large a range of effects as some of the others here, but the ones it does have are well done. Lets you do localized effects – applying filters and adjustments to specific areas of an image. Also lets you add text boxes and bubbles in a number of styles and fonts.
One of its best features is its ability to create collages out of 4-6 images. This is huge fun to use.
It also lets you export several photos at once – to destinations including email, Flickr, Dropbox, Facebook, Twitter, Picasa, and FTP.
The new kid on the block, and another stellar photo editing app for the iPad. Very nice UI and a good range of effects. The range of Lighting effects in this app is particularly impressive – these can work wonders with photos that are taken in poor lighting conditions.
Has a strong set of presets available and also lets you dive in and make your own adjustments. Its image adjustment sliders are extremely fast and let you see the effects live as you work with them.
Sharing options include email, sms, Facebook and Tumblr.
I’m only adding this as an honorable mention because there is not an iPad version of the new version of PhotoForge, just an iPhone version. But the developers promise the iPad version is coming very soon.
When it arrives it will fit nicely into this list of best iPad photo editing apps. It will offer a good set of basic editing tools as well as some unique and powerful features. These include:
– Layers! – with support for opacity and masking.
– A sweet Visual History feature that looks a bit like Time Machine for image editing.
– Doesn’t just show previews while you’re editing – but shows the image in full resolution the whole time you work with it.
Price: $0.99 currently – listed as 60% off sale until it’s updated with iPad support
So that’s my list of the very best photo editing apps for the iPad. Again though, this is a category that’s full of many great apps – so I’m sure I’ve left out some worthy contenders here. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this list and on which apps you think should be in it. Please sound off in the comments.