6 of the best apps to improve your iPhone photos

The iPhone camera has been constantly improving, and the one found on the flagship iPhone 5S is indeed a very smart affair. But it’s not just the camera hardware that’s important when it comes to photography – you can always improve your snaps with software.

And to that end, we’ve compiled this list of apps which can help you become a better smartphone photographer. We’re talking about apps such as Camera+, Hipstamatic, Instagram and Snapseed (see the details below). These let you do all manner of things like correcting your photos' lighting and colour, blinging them up with retro or eye-popping effects, and sharing them online.

If you snap pictures with your iPhone, you owe it to yourself to install some of these apps – and as an added bonus, half of them are even free.

Adobe knows something about image editing, and you get a taste of this expertise in this free app. But you'll need the £2.99 upgrade for full app functionality, and you get finer editing controls in Snapseed, and more effects in Instagram and Camera+.

A beautifully designed iPhone camera enhancer, Camera+ gives you some great shooting options and image effects. If you need even more image control, opt for Snapseed, and if you need more shutter options and sharing, head for Camera Genius (see the next entry).

Camera Genius adds some cool shooting and post-shot tools, some of which are matched by the slightly slicker Camera+. There are some nifty features here, though, such as letting you trigger the shutter using your voice, a timer, or when the image comes into focus – and it offers great social sharing options.

Hipstamatic shares some similarities to how some would characterise hipsters themselves: A lot of style but not much substance. There are much easier ways to get retro effects on your iOS photos and to share them, but the app is cleverly and stylishly crafted, and lets you pretend you're using a Kodak Instamatic from days gone by. One downside is the many in-app purchases needed for new "gear."

Instagram combines photo effects using a very clever interface with a captivating photo-centric social networking element. The Instagram network is the real draw here.

Using a clear, innovative interface, the master of photo correction, Nik, has produced the only iPhone app that approaches the power of desktop digital image editing software. Possibly the most powerful iPhone image editing app around, Snapseed can do amazing thing with your phone photos, and it lets you share them directly to the major social networks. This really is an incredible app when you consider that it’s free, and if you don’t try anything else here, make sure you try Snapseed.

For more phone photography tips, see our guide to taking better photos with your smartphone.