How to Develop a Successful Photo Editing App: A Buyer's Guide - Prismetric

A Buyer’s Guide to Photo Editing App Development

Build the Best Photo Editing ToolToday, photography has emerged as one of the most popular ways to convey users’ status through flawless digital communication. With smartphones in hand, users take no time in editing even an average photo and make it presentable through the best photo editing apps. You would be happy to learn that mobile app development companies have myriad techniques to make your image editing app a class apart product.

Photography tools can magically turn an amateur photographer into a pro artist to showcase the best photo edits in a couple of minutes. Gone are the days when a photo editing procedure took long hours to deliver the best photo; today, with just a few taps and image editing filters, any photo can be turned into a mesmerizing portrait or landscape. So, if you wonder how to build a photo editing app, this guide is for you.

Stats and popularity of photo editing apps

According to research, people around the globe take five to twenty photos a day. Even further, in the United States, people take more than 20 photos a day and in Asia and Latin America the number reaches up to 15. All in all, if you are an entrepreneur, this is the best time to invest in photo filter app development as you will be assured of getting a great return on investment.

More usage of photos means more usage of photo editor apps and that is where you need to read between the lines and hit the market. Valued as nearly USD 300 million in 2019, the figure is expected to touch USD 400 million by 2027. Experts from Verified Market research support the stats and opine that the market of photo editing apps will keep growing in the coming years. Google Analytic studies reveal that more than 70% of users edit their selfies using one or another photo editing software tool.

Types of photo editing apps

Though there are hundreds of image editing software tools, let us first glance at what types of photo editor applications you most often come across while browsing app stores. Here are those two common types that you must think of having for your modern photo app development.

Regular photo editing apps

The commonest photo editing tool you find is the basic one – regular image editing software. This basic tool would enable users to simply edit photos instantly through general features. The sole purpose of regular photo editing apps is to amend the images and save them on the local drive or cloud. Google Snapseed, Retrica, Prisma, and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom are a few to name general photo editing tools.

These tools are easy to use and they are good enough to make any photo eye-catching to everyone. Nevertheless, all these tools have gone beyond their general features as they keep on improving the latest features in their apps.

Social photo editing apps

Another photo editing app type is social photo editing in which users chat with each other and share edited photos with their social media connections and followers. The community does include photographers and art lovers. A popular photo editing app VSCO is a prime example of this type and it is immensely popular among millions of users.

Social photo editing apps have an extra edge over regular apps as they have integrated social media apps and connections to spread good words. Such applications have better prospects in doing business and can implement several business models for the photo editing market.

How do photo editing apps work?

The image editing applications work in two ways – technically and through a user’s process. You can compare this with a backend program and a frontend program where the backend is the mechanism or process that runs behind the photo editing tool and the frontend is what the users see and operate through. Here is a short description of both processes –

Mechanism of photo editing apps – the workflow

The core of the image editor tool mechanism lies in its technicality to improve the image through various processes. Photo editing app developers finely work on these criteria to provide the best performance to enhance the images through various actions. Chiefly, photo editing tools work on two mechanisms –

  • Processing on pixels: working on every single pixel enhances photos and gives them a new visual boost. Pixel settings such as color, brightness, contrast, saturation, shadows, hue, and other features work on pixels directly and improve image quality.
  • Processing on layers: with the help of layer imposing, photo editing mobile app developers enhance the editing through layer amendment. Adding filters, stickers, decorations, and even overlaying another image can make photos visually attractive and unique.

User’s process

The straightforward technique to edit any photo is the frontend actions where users directly process a photo to enhance it and make it presentable. Here is a simple process or step through which an image editing app works on images and makes them eye-catching.Photo editing apps – the workflow

Upload: photo editing tool allows users to upload photos from various sources such as local drive, cloud storage, or from other sources directly. Depending on the image editing tool features, you can upload single or multiple photos from one or more sources.

Edit: after uploading a photo, the main process is done through editing. Users can edit their photos by general edits where they can change or alter common characters of the images such as contrast, brightness, hue, color, saturation, shadows, and the like. On the other hand, some special photo editing apps allow users to have special edits to their images which include applying filters, stickers, artificial intelligence-enabled animations, layered accessories, or even superimposing (augmented reality) items or live characters.

Finish: the final process is done when the photo editing is finished. After finishing the users can either save their enhanced photos on their local drives or cloud storage or can simply share them directly to their social media applications with their followers and connections.

How to develop a photo editing app? A step-by-step guide

An idea that took birth in your brain should come on paper and from there it must take a shape of an actual product. Converting an app idea to a successful app takes effort and a disciplined approach. We have simplified the approach into a step-by-step process to develop a photo editor app. Here are the simple steps to follow –Photo editing app working process

Primary stage

The primary stage consists of developing an idea and backing it with intense and relevant market research. You can simply search the app industry and follow photo editing app trends in 2023 and beyond. Depending on your business objectives and the scale and size of the tool you want to develop, you need to make a blueprint that consists of your ideas and research.

Production stage

After the primary stage where your ideas, thoughts, and market research/trends are on paper as a blueprint, you need to choose the best photo editing mobile app development company to outsource your product. An offshore app development company can help you execute your ideas into reality by building a customized app for photo editing. It is worth noting here that you can plan your budget with minimum app feature requirements in the initial stage. you may refer to a guide on how MVP plays a big role in the mobile app development cycle.

Once the planning for your MVP strategies is done and conveyed to all the stakeholders, the product stage is flagged off. The production stage begins after finalizing the app architecture that is aligned with business objectives. It contains designing and developing the app using various tools and technology stacks. Several milestones are defined and achieved as you build your own team or hire developers individually for making a customized photo editing tool.

Final photo editing app

After the production stage comes to the final stage of deployment and maintenance. Your hard-earned money is put into the project and it would be justified only with a proper deployment; also, you may need to spare some extra budget for timely and systematic app maintenance of the product.

Must-have features of photo editing tool

Every photography editing application requires features without which they are useless. Let us list a few of the most important features of an image editing app you can have.

Multiple upload option

The source of the photo could be from anywhere – the cloud storage to a local drive or a shared network.

Saturation, brightness, contrast

Basic photo editor applications’ features include adjustment of saturation of color, brightness, contrast, ambiance, temperature, warmth, shadows, and the like.

Size adjustment and crop

One of the basic features you can have in your photo editing app is the size adjustment and cropping of the image. Semi-professional and amateur photographers often miss the right frame while clicking photos, especially of people. Size adjustment and cropping would help them get the exact frame by cutting the rest of the unwanted scenes.

Change the background

In this feature, unwanted backgrounds can be removed and replaced by your favorite ones. Whether a selfie, portrait, or even a landscape, you can simply change the background and add beauty to your picture through this feature.


Gathering more memories through more than one photo in a single frame is the best feature to have. Called a collage, this feature can help users bring in mesmerizing designs with multiple photos.

Retouch and smoothing

Some advanced features allow users to play with their photos with the features called smoothing and retouching where they can refine the quality, and remove blemishes, and other unwanted spots from the objects.

Superimpose -advanced features

Some advanced features use artificial intelligence and augmented reality to add fun to photos or images. Such features allow users to add objects (such as a hat or goggles) and even artificial organs (such as ears or nose) by superimposing technique.

The best photo editing tools in the market

Several image editing software tools and apps that are available in the market. You may develop applications inspired by these popular photo editing apps or simply have a clone of it. For instance, you may go for Snapseed-like app development. Here are a few renowned image editing tools –

Snapseed: a freeware by Google, this is one of the best applications on the Android and iOS platforms. It helps users edit images in a remarkable way -the filters, sharpening tool, and other brush and healing features make this app a very effective tool.

Picsart: Picsart has been quite a favorite app for photo editors as it offers immense photo editing options and users can add drama to any image. You can use Picsart to make small banners by using their photo libraries and therefore, this app is pretty useful in digital marketing.

VSCO: VSCO is a freemium photo and video editing software tool available on Android and iOS. The app is useful to set photos with flying colors using its excellent filters and editing facilities.

Canva: Canva is another application that is very famous among young learners who are interested in photo editing. This image-editing app allows users to edit illustrations with refined features making it an ideal tool for flyers, business cards, invitations, and the like.

How to monetize your photo editing tool?

The monetization options for image editing software applications are many, just like we have for other mobile apps. The business model of a photo editing app like Snapseed, Picsart, Canvas, and other such products depends on three major monetization options.Monetization Models of Photo Editing App

Freemium business model

Probably the most common and successful monetization of photo editing apps is freemium models where the image editing tool is offered at no cost. The app is available in app stores and anyone can download it for free. Nevertheless, the apps would contain advertisements or commercials on some parts of the screens. Removing the ads would cost users some bucks.

The freemium monetization method also works as the free application comes with limited features and a full-fledged best photo editing app would come with some cost again. A business model would also work to allow a high-resolution image download only with certain premium editions.

One-time buy

Photograph editing applications can be monetized by offering them on the app stores at minimal costs. It would be a one-time buy for users and the app can be installed on their mobile phones. However, it is important for the app company to update and fix bugs in their products regularly.

In-app purchase

The in-app purchase has been a successful monetization business model for most of the applications available on the app stores. It is the smartest way to encourage users for special products, features, and privileges. For instance, in a photo editing app, certain filters would come with minimum prices that an addicted user would surely buy.

How much does it cost to develop a photo editing tool?

Just like any other app development cost, the cost to develop a photo editing application also varies as per the product’s complexities in terms of a number of features and security measures. Nevertheless, according to most software consultants, the cost starts from USD 60000 and as you add features, based on the latest technologies such as augmented reality and artificial intelligence, the budget keeps increasing.

Technology stack for the photo editing tool

To build a photo editing app tool, you need a set of technology tools that would include coding language to develop the app and also to deploy it securely on cloud storage. Here is the technology stack –

Programming languages: Java, Kotlin (Android), Swift& Objective-C (iOS)

API: OpenGL, OpenCV

Cross Platform: Flutter, React Native

Cloud storage: Amazon S3, Azure, Google Cloud Storage

Payments Gateways: Appfigures, Stripe, Braintree

Deep linking: Branch

Analytics: Amplitude, Adaptya

Are you ready to build a photo editing app?

Look no further. Here is the time to get into the photo editing business. If you ponder over the other applications available in the market, you would sense that most of such applications are doing great on the app stores. Hire dedicated developers now to develop a customized mobile app for image editing.

frequently asked questions

How much does it cost to develop a photo editing app?

As stated by app development consultants, the photo editing app development cost starts at USD 60000, and the budget increases depending on the complexity and size of the app.

What are the basic features of a photo editing tool?

Some basic features of image editing apps include adjustment to contrast, brightness, hue, saturation, shadows, ambiance, and sharpness.

How to make money with a photo editing app?

Depending on business models to monetize a photo editing app, you can charge a one-time cost for buying the app or can place advertisements or commercials within the application. Alternatively, freemium models can also have a fair deal of generating revenues by offering limited features for a free app and all the features with some paid subscription.

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