Is the best photo editing software in your pocket? Or, on your desk?
It seems like an easy enough question, and for simplicity’s sake when it comes to smartphone photography, most people would agree that using their phone as an image editor is ideal.
At the same time, these same people tend to have an Instagram feed curated by the platform’s own filters. Use some of the retouching tools at least!
It’s easy to get caught up in convenience – especially when it comes to doing things on your phone. But, if you can improve your photo edits by doing them on the computer, then wouldn’t you want to know how and why?
We’ll compare the two methods of editing photos and we’ll tell you which is superior. Then we may even give you some recommendations for apps and editing software.
We are in the business of improving your smartphone photography after all.
Editing photos on your phone or PC?
There are so many options for editing your photos these days.
By phone or PC?
By filter or manually?
With a pre-set or without?
In an industry driven by editing though, you should aim to be consistent in whichever methodology that you choose. After all, consistency and quality are key when it comes to photo editing!
With this in mind, let’s go about helping you to decide whether to editing with your phone or PC is the better option for you.
Editing Photos on your Phone
When deciding if editing photos on your phone or PC is ideal for you, it’s worth creating a pro and con list with your own photography goals in mind.
Do note that you’ll need a photo editing app for both iPhone and Android.
Knowing why you’re making the decisions you’re making will only make your growth more attainable. Plus, envisioning where you want to go with your smartphone photography can make the decision regarding editing photos on your phone or PC all the easier.
Pros to Editing Photos on your Phone
Well, we’ll start off with the easiest pro for editing photos on your phone as opposed to your PC. You always have your phone, but you don’t always have your PC.
If you get a great shot and simply have to post it right away, then doing a quick edit on your phone can lead to being able to do so within ten minutes! Sometimes getting home to your PC or back to your car for your laptop just isn’t ideal.
There are also an ever-growing number of editing apps for a plethora of niche needs. We’ve investigated them before and by experimenting a little you’ll sure to find one or two that fit your needs. It’s a pretty easy process to learn!
Editing photos on your phone is ideal for social media-based businesses. When editing on your phone, you can share your photos and videos on social media in a snap!
Cons to Editing Photos on your Phone
So, what you gain in terms of both ease of use and convenience when editing photos on your phone, you lose when it comes to the actual editing.
It’s just the nature of smartphone photography, unfortunately…
By this we mean, the apps for editing photos on your phone can’t compete with Adobe’s desktop suite when it comes to control and processing (yes, even the new Abode Lightroom mobile app).
So, when you’re editing photos on your phone they’ll look great for Instagram, Snapchat, or whatever group chat they’re for, but as far as professional-grade photography standards go, they just won’t stand up.
That doesn’t mean phone edits aren’t worth doing and won’t be successful. It’s just worth noting that basic edits from your phone are ideal for social media – not for websites and photography competitions (for now).
Editing Photos on your PC
Chances are when it comes to editing photos on your phone or PC you’re leaning towards the former. Unless of course, you’re a professional photographer, a purist – in which case you know where we’re going with this.
To get to the short of it, editing on your computer is the better option.
Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom are the best photo editing tools on the market. But, they’re expensive and the full suite of tools is only available with a PC.
So, in some cases it turns out editing on your phone could be the way to go for you. At the same time, if you’re looking to do professional photo editing it’s probably going to happen on a laptop or desktop.
Pros to Editing Photos on your PC
When you edit on your PC – whether with Photoshop, Lightroom, or any other photo editing software – you have undoubtedly more control. Anyone who tells you differently is wrong – plain and simple.
Yes, smartphone photography is getting better, but at this point, it just can’t compete with the RAW data files that are created by its DSLR and mirrorless counterparts (read more about why here). While this is this case, it is worth noting that you should always shoot in the RAW files on your smartphone for maximum control when editing.
Editing photos taken by your smartphone on your PC is ideal for all businesses and creators that want maximum quality.
Cons to Editing Photos on your PC
The most compelling argument against editing photos on your PC is the lack of mobility.
Even if you have a laptop and an Adobe account that has access to Photoshop and Lightroom, then you still have to carry around a big with all your gear. This can include things like your laptop, a charger, a laptop case, and your smartphone.
If you’re on the go and shooting this can just be too much to have to carry.
While the pros of editing photos on your PC are numerous, the value in doing so is totally situational.
It’s a professional photo editing move that’s commendable if you have the time and money. then your photos will look good enough to make anything you could do on your PC only marginally better anyway.
The Verdict – Is The Best Photo Editing App On CPU or Smartphone?
Editing on your PC should be choice number one unless you already do all your editing on your phone. Remember, it’s important to employ the same editing strategy for all of your photos.
When editing photos on your phone or PC it important to plan from the conception of your venture. Will you need the editing done quickly, or will you need the editing done right?
There are pros and cons to both decisions, but as a rule of thumb if you have the time it’s always better to use the PC for editing.
That being said, read on for what to use for editing photos on your phone or PC.
Must-Have for PC: Adobe Suite
So, for only $9.99 a month, you can have access to Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom Classic, and 20 GB of cloud storage.
While this sounds like a steep price, the cost is certainly worth it once you master the software. The control available via Adobe is unrivaled. If you’re editing photos any other way you’re doing yourself a serious disservice.
It’s worth noting if you pay for Adobe on your PC, then you can automatically seamlessly transfer photos to and from the new Adobe Lightroom CC mobile app – essentially giving yourself the best of all worlds. Be sure to take advantage of Adobe Photoshop Express too! It may just be the easiest editing experience I’ve ever had.
The Best for Phone: Afterlight 2
You may be expected to see something like the Adobe Lightroom CC mobile app, VSCO Cam, or Mextures here, but alas, as far as we’re concerned Afterlight 2 is the way to go.
With just a one time payment of $1.99 you have options for double exposure, color shifting, dust effects, and a litany of other typical photo editing tools.
Afterlight 2 will give you everything you could possibly need as a beginner. Plus, it’ll give you a little more to help you experiment as you move forward as a smartphone photographer. It’s the perfect app to try before moving on to Adobe.
Top Value: Snapseed
At a whopping $0, Snapseed is perfect for those who’re on a budget but still want their photos to pop.
With over fifteen different nifty tools, the app provides much more control than Instagram’s own tools and does a pretty decent job doing so. If you’re looking for something to just make your Instagram feed stand out then Snapseed is probably the way to go.