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Top-five photo apps for 2016

Make the most of your smartphone’s camera with our top free photo apps for iOS and Android, including Instagram, Snapseed and Pixlr.

All of this year’s most talked about smartphones arrive with some impressive cameras, including Apple’s 4-inch iPhone SE, the Samsung Galaxy S7 and the LG G5.

While the modern mobile takes a good picture, third-party apps are ready to help when it comes to fine tuning your photos. Here’s our guide to the top-five photo apps for 2016, which are all free to download.

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1. Instagram

Price: free
Available for:
iOS, Android

Instagram remains a very popular option when it comes to editing photos and sharing them with the world. Just recently the app has been updated with a new simpler design that puts more focus on your photos while keeping the layout familiar.

A range of filters and image settings let you get creative, and over 80 million photos and videos are shared via the app on a daily basis.

2. VSCO

Price: free
Available for: iOS, Android

VSCO is a photo-taking and editing app for smartphones and tablets that settles for quality filters and tools over silly frames and tacky stickers.

Pictures passing through VSCO come out the other side boasting subtle effects that don’t look over-processed, and you can easily sync and edit images across multiple devices. Sharing support for Instagram, Facebook and Twitter is included in the package.

The VSCO Grid feature spotlights some of the best pictures taken by photographers of all skill levels, which guarantees a daily dose of inspiration for future edits.

3. Snapseed

Price: free
Available for: iOS, Android

We’ve mentioned Google’s Snapseed app before, and following a hefty update adding a host of new features it has even more to offer. The editing interface is a joy to use thanks to intuitive swipe controls, and fixing pictures that may have originally been taken in a rush can be done effectively.

Each change made to an image is backed up and saved as its own layer, which makes it easy to go back and tweak or undo specific changes.

4. Pixlr

Price: free
Available for: iOS, Android

Once known as Pixlr Express, the Pixlr smartphone app for iOS and Android has many filters of its own, also adding photo-collage support to the mix to serve up more creative possibilities.

Using Pixlr you can blend together multiple photos into a single image, which provides some truly unique results. Images can be styled to look like they were hand drawn or painted, and it’s possible to tag your favourite effects for quick access next time the app is opened up.

5. Fotor

Price: free
Available: iOS, Android

Fotor is a solid choice for photography beginners as the app’s One Tap Enhance feature can automatically ‘fix’ and adjust an image with a single press.

Weekly photo events on the Fotor app do a good job of encouraging users to experiment and compare their results with others, and each new competition follows a different theme.

Over 100 visual effects can be played around with and, if you spot some photos from other authors that you like the look of, you can mark them individually and create a gallery of your favourites.

Back up your photos

It’s important to keep your pictures safe, which is why we recommend backing up your content to the cloud. Doing so on a regular basis ensures your memories are safe in the event that you lose or damage your smartphone or tablet.

Services such as Google Drive, Dropbox and OneDrive all provide some free storage, with further paid-for plans offering up even more space. See our Best Buy cloud storage services to find out which came top in our tests.

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