8 essential travel photography apps

Lottie Gross

written by
Lottie Gross

updated 16.05.2019

With smartphones at our fingertips we’ve all become travel photographers these days. There’s no escaping the urge to snap that colourful backstreet in Cuba, or take a full panorama of those incredible cityscapes in New York.

But if you want to take your photos a little further, consider using some of these great photography apps. Whether you want to edit, share or just have fun with your pictures, these are the best photography apps we’ve used on our travels.

For photo editing

Snapseed (iOS/Android)

There are hundreds of photo editing apps out there for Android and iOS, but none are as powerful and easy to use than Snapseed. Open an image in the app and you can fine tune the basics like contrast and brightness, but also things like ambiance, structure and sharpness.

There are also a bunch of brilliant presets: the HDR-scape preset boosts clarity, colour and sharpness to create super-striking images; the Retrolux setting gives your pictures old-school vibes and the Face filter gives you extensive control over skin tone and eye clarity for those essential travel selfies. For quick, effective edits on the go, Snapseed wins out.



VSCO is the app of choice for many professionals and bloggers, though its interface isn’t quite as user-friendly as Snapseed’s. There are a host of popular presets and manual editing controls, plus you can take images directly in the app.

It also doubles up as its own social network, where professionals and amateurs alike share their snaps. However, the app can sometimes be slow and recent interface changes have ruffled the feathers of dedicated users.

Adobe Lightroom & Photoshop Express

These two apps come from professional creative suite software giant, Adobe and are both pretty good. Photoshop Express is essentially a dumbed-down version of the computer software with far fewer options and some rudimentary auto-enhancing, while Lightroom has a much broader range of controls, including the tone curve.


© May_Chanikran/Shutterstock

For social media sharing


If you’ve not heard of Instagram then you’ve likely been living under a rock. This is the app for photo and video sharing, with tens of millions of pictures uploaded every day. There are in-built editing controls, fun but basic filters and now you can use Stories to share ephemeral pictures adorned with emojis and stickers. Check out Rough Guides’ profile for some inspiration.

Boomerang from Instagram (iOS/Android)

Once you’ve got your head around Instagram, download Boomerang. This extension to the popular photo sharing app takes ten shots at a time to create a looping video, making for some seriously funny travel memories. For ultra-ease, you can shoot and upload directly in the Instagram app.


Snapchat is for those of you who want to share your holiday moments without having them forever engraved in your social media history. Send a Snap to a friend and it’ll only appear on their screen for up to ten seconds (you decide) and then it’s gone forever.

Snapchat coined the “stories” function that Instagram now uses, too: you can add Snaps to your story and they’ll stay there for 24 hours for all to see. Perhaps the best bit about the app, though, is its filters: you can turn yourself into a rainbow-spewing unicorn in that mountain-top selfie, or use its face-swap function to break the ice with new friends.

For video

GIF Cracker (iOS only) / GIF Maker (Android)

There’s a gif for everything these days, so why not make one for your holiday? Apps like GIF Cracker for iOS or GIF Maker on Android allow you to turn videos from your trip into short gifs instantly, ready to share on your favourite social channel.

Adobe Clip (iOS/Android)

If you want to cut together basic, short videos while on the road, Adobe Clip is essential. The app allows you to drop images and video from your phone onto a timeline to create a simple sequence. You can choose options like crossfades between shots, add a soundtrack and add filters to each clip.

You can even just select the clips you want, choose a soundtrack and the app will cut the sequence to the music for you.

For the planner

The Photographer’s Ephemeris

If you’re serious about your shooting, invest in The Photographer’s Ephemeris. The app tells you all you need to know for the day ahead, including what time you need to get out for sunrise and sunset, and the position of the moon in relation to your location.

You can save favourite locations to a map and can even find out when the moon or sun will be rising from behind nearby hills and mountains.

Top image © De Repente/Shutterstock

Lottie Gross

written by
Lottie Gross

updated 16.05.2019

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