Note: some apps are free, others require a one-off payment, or an ongoing subscription. Read the information about ‘in-app purchases’ carefully in the iTunes or Google Play stores before choosing an app for yourself or your newsroom.
Filmic First Light (iOS / Android): This app will transform your mobile photography. It features advanced manual controls, a wide range of filters, and the ability to add film grain. If you pay for a subscription, you can also shoot in RAW. Here is a tutorial.
Adobe Lightroom (iOS / Android): Another excellent camera app with full manual controls, a robust automatic camera, and the ability to shoot in RAW. Lightroom also has a powerful in-app editor, including retouching, colour adjustments, perspective adjustments, and the ability to create pre-sets. You can also import a watermark to protect your work. Links to tutorials are here.
Halide Mark II (iOS): This app is for serious photographers, with high-end computational photography features. The app comes with an in-app training course to help newcomers learn how to use it. The app offers a 7-day trial so you can try before you buy. Here is a tutorial.
Snapseed (iOS / Android): A free professional photo editing app owned by Google with a tremendous range of options, filters and effects, including text for adding captions and photographer’s details. Tips for using it are here.
ProShot (iOS / Android): This photography app provides Auto, Program, Manual, and two fully configurable custom modes, giving you a high level of control of exposure, ISO, shutter speed and white balance. You can shoot in jpeg and RAW, and film 4K and time-lapse videos. Here is a complete list of all features and an online tutorial.
VSCO (iOS / Android): Another excellent photography and editing app with a good range of controls over features normally found in a DSLR. The app’s many filters may interest feature and art photographers. Here is a tutorial.
Filmic Pro (iOS / Android): The most advanced app for filming video on a smartphone, with full control over focus, exposure, white balance and audio levels. You can also film in LOG mode, and choose which microphone on your phone is being used to record sound. The app’s YouTube channel is packed with tutorials by the app’s developer and user community. The app has a one-off charge for use.
Beastcam (iOS only): Beastcam is a little cheaper than Filmic Pro, and is a great alternative for iPhone users. It combines photography and video capture in one app, and allows you to adjust focus, exposure, zoom, and white balance within the app. It recognizes external microphones, and allows you to adjust audio format, gain and sample rates. Here is a tutorial.
Open Camera (Android only): Open Camera is a free, open source app for Android phones. It combines photography and video in a single app, and offers control over focus, white balance, focus and exposure. It can also overcome an issue for some Android phone cameras, by forcing the phone to recognise an external microphone when it is plugged in. Watch here a Tutorial for Open Camera.
Cinema FV-5 (Android only): This app gives you control over focus, exposure, ISO, white balance and other core filming functions.
Skyflow (iOS only) is a professional time-lapse video camera with advanced features including the ability to choose video resolution and format, motion blur, light trail effects, HDR and panning motion. You can change the playback speed after you have filmed your video, too. Here is a tutorial.
Multi-track video editing
LumaFusion (iOS only): The most advanced video editing app currently available, designed to mimic most of the functions of professional desktop editors including multi-track editing, key-framing, colour adjustment, and support for branded fonts and graphics. Export at multiple frame-rates makes it suited to PAL and NTSC countries for television journalism. The app developers have a wide range of tutorials on their YouTube channel and there’s also a regularly updated searchable online reference guide with video tutorials throughout.
KineMaster (iOS / Android): Most advanced multi-track video editing app for Android phones. Supports audio editing, addition of captions, titles and logo, and export at 25fps and 30fps, making it suitable for television journalism in both NTSC and PAL countries. To remove the watermark requires a subscription payment. Visit the KineMaster website for user guides, and for tutorials, visit the KineMaster YouTube channel.
PowerDirector (Android only): Reliable alternative to KineMaster on Android phones. The app can be used for free, but to remove the watermark and access professional features including custom transitions and the ability to export in HD and above, you will need to purchase a subscription. The app developers have an up-to-date range of tutorials on their YouTube channel.
Alight Motion (Android): A full-featured motion graphics, video compositing and animation app for Android phones. The app is also available for Mac computers (you will need Apple Silicon for this). Further information about the app is available on the Alight Creative website, and tutorials are available on the app developer’s YouTube channel.
iMovie (iOS only): A free video editing app for iPhones which integrates with the more powerful desktop version of iMovie for Mac. The app had an update in 2019 to support green-screen editing. Exports at 30fps only. There are tutorial’s on Apple’s iMovie website, and here is a tutorial for iMovie.
Simple social video editing apps
Spark Camera and Video Editor (iOS): Spark is an iPhone only app that combines video filming and editing – including the ability to add captions, titles, music and a voiceover – in a single app. It is intuitive to use and is targeted at vloggers and social media influencers rather than journalists You can learn more about Spark on the developer’s website and user guide.
GoPro Quik (iOS / Android): The well-established Quik app got a makeover and a new name in 2021. It also introduced a charge for some ‘premium’ features. Quik offers square, portrait and landcape settings, a wide range of royalty-free music, and the ability to add titles and captions. There is a guide to using GoPro Quik here and a dedicated tutorial channel on YouTube.
Animoto (iOS): You can add photos or video clips from your Camera Roll, iCloud, or Facebook account, select a preset video style, choose a song from the built-in music library or upload your own, add captions and text slides. There is a free version, with additional features available via subscription. Tutorials are available on the app developer’s YouTube channel.
Apple Clips (iOS): This superb app from Apple offers pre-made title cards, fun filters, speech-to-text captions and many more features for producing elegant social videos quickly. Here’s Apple’s User Guide to Clips.
Enlight VideoLeap (iOS): This app offers a wide range of high-end functions for creating videos from images, video and text. These include masking and blending, key framing and chroma key compositing. Tutorials are available on the app developer’s YouTube channel.
Vlogit (iOS / Android): A great free app for editing two-track video, plus voiceover. The app does not offer 25fps, but if you film at 25fps this is preserved when editing. For HD export, you will need t0 set up an account. More information is available on the developer’s website.
Audio recording and editing
Voice Record Pro (iOS / Android): A powerful audio recording app that saves high quality WAV files and offers basic trimming tools. The iOS version of the app offers more features (including Wifi transfer and an automatic transcription tool) than the Android version. Voice Record Pro is not an audio editing app, but you can trim the beginning and end of your recordings. Here is a short tutorial for using the app.
AudioEvolution Mobile Studio (Android): The closest Android equivalent of Ferrite, although it is aimed more at musicians than journalists. An IOS version is now available, and a playlist of tutorials is available on the developer’s YouTube channel.
Google Street View (iOS / Android): A perfect starter into 360° photos. The free app allows you not only to search and view 360° photography but to record your own 360° photos. These can be shared or embedded into websites.
Adobe Spark Post (iOS/ Android): Adds text and applies design filters to your photos and creates graphics to share on social platforms. In 2019 the app got an update that allows you to add animated text and graphics to your videos as well. Watch here a tutorial for Adobe Spark Post.
TypeArt (iOS): Excellent alternative to Adobe Spark Post. Creates animated text and effects.
Legend (Android): This app is a fast, low-cost tool for adding animated text to photos and videos.
Headliner (iOS / Android): Headliner is available both as an app, and a desktop tool. It has a number of features, including adding an animated wave form to images and videos, audio transcription for captions and titles, and the ability to generate a short, auto-transcribed video from a podcast. Headliner has an excellent information section on its website where you can discover all its features.
Unfold (iOS / Android): An outstanding app for creating vertical montages of videos and photos. There are 25 free templates, and dozens more as in-app purchases. Visit the developer’s website for more information.
Mojo (iOS): A superb app for creating vertical stories for Facebook Stories, Instagram Stories and Snapchat. The app offers a wide range of customisable templates and fonts, and the ability to add a logo. Visit the developer’s website for more information.
Storyluxe (iOS): An app for creating engaging images for Instagram Stories. While the app does offer in-app purchases, the range of options for free is excellent. Visit the developer’s website for more information.
Even more apps!
If you’re keen to try out more apps, we recommend exploring this huge iOS app list from Glen Mulcahy, or this iOS app list from Matthias Suessen, or this great selection of Android apps from Bernhard Lill.