How to Make a Photo Editing App

Published On: June 3, 2022
Last Updated: August 8, 2023
How to Make a Photo Editing App

Social media has played a crucial role in popularizing photography, wherein people regularly upload good photos on their social media accounts like Instagram and Facebook.

The photography trend is getting big due to the photo editing apps that can make even average photos look stunning. Many people now like to edit their images on various photo editing apps before posting online.

Over the last few years, entrepreneurs and businesses worldwide have understood the demand for photo editing and launched various apps. According to Verified Market Research, the value of the photo editing app market was $293.44 Million in 2022 and will grow at a CAGR of 3.57% from 2023 to 2030 and reach $402.37 Million in 2030.

Considering the statistics, you must have realized the craze for photo editing apps. If you want to know how to make a photo editing app, you are at the right place.

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Here, we will provide the step-by-step process for creating a photo editing app. Before that, we will walk you through some basics.

Types of Photo Editing Apps

1. Regular Photo Editing App

It is an app that allows you to manipulate digital images to enhance their looks. These are further categorized into two types. Firstly, apps that enable you to apply simple effects. These are perfect for newbies.

Secondly, there are more sophisticated ones with advanced features that professionals use. Here is the list of top photo editing apps:

  • Snapseed
  • Adobe Photoshop Camera
  • Pixlr
  • Adobe Lightroom
  • Google Photos

We have developed a user-friendly Photo Editor App for our client. This app allows users to add frames, overlay effects, and text into a photo.

Regular Photo Editing App

2. Social Photo Editing App

There is not such a big difference between a regular photo editing app and a social photo editing app except for those features that allow you interaction within the app.

The social photo editing apps additionally allow you to share your photos in the app, view the photos of others, and like or comment on their photos also. Some of the top social photo editing apps available in the market include the following:

  • Pic Collage.
  • Studio.
  • Aviary.
  • WordSwag.
  • Photo.
  • Over.
  • VSCO Cam.
  • Fly.

How Does a Photo Editing App Work?

Now, let’s delve into the working of photo editing apps to understand how these apps transform standard images into appealing masterpieces. Let’s start.

Step 1: Upload Photo

Users have to either upload a photo from the gallery or take a photo using a camera for editing.

Step 2: Choose Filter

After uploading the image either from the gallery or directly from the phone camera, then the next step is to choose from a collection of filters in the app to get the right mood for the photo.

Step 3: Edit Photo

Applications offer a vast number of features to improve the photos. Users can edit the photo as per their requirements. They can apply filters, adjust brightness, crop image, and do many more things.

Step 4: Save Picture

After editing the images, users can store images in their desired formats. Applications allow saving photos in various formats like TIFF, JPEG, RAW, PNG, etc.

step picture

Step 5: Share Picture

After saving their edited picture, users can share it on their social media accounts or directly on WhatsApp.

Key Features of Photo Editing App

We have listed some essential features that you should integrate into your photo editing app. The basic features are necessary for a regular photo editing app. However, for building a social photo editing app, you need to integrate basic plus advanced features.

Basic Features of Photo Editing App

Here are some of the basic features that every photo editing app should have.

Upload Photo
The photo editing app should have complete access to the camera and photo gallery.

Basic Photo Editing
The app should have some basic features to improve the image and make it attractive. These features include adjusting several necessary elements, such as brightness, contrast, saturation, shadow, highlight, exposure, and warmth.

Crop, Resize, Rotate

The app should allow the user to rotate, resize and crop images to the size needed for social media apps.

It should enable users to crop images in various aspect ratios like 3:2, 4:3, 5:4, 7:5, 16:9, etc. These aspect ratios would allow users to crop the photo that fits for Facebook cover, the Instagram story, or Twitter post.

Apply Filters
The photo editing app should come with filters that allow users to edit the page with just one click. Users can further make changes to the image by manually changing the contrast, transparency, color saturation, exposure, and more.

Form a Collage
The app should have a collage maker with 10-15 layouts for free. To get additional layouts, users have to pay a premium.

Remove Unwanted Objects
It should have a healing or removal feature that would allow users to remove any unwanted things in the image. These include people, buildings, spots in the sky, shadows, wires, and so on.

Save and Share
The app should have a feature that allows users to save the edited image. Further, they can easily share it on email, messages, or social media platforms like Instagram or Facebook.

Advanced Features of Photo Editing App

In addition to the basic features, some popular photo editing apps also come with some advanced features as follows.

Profile Creation
The photo editing app should allow users to create a profile. Creating a profile allows you to offer a multitude of targeted benefits to the users.

You can offer more personalized push notifications to retarget the users effectively. Here, you can send a tailor-made offer that is more relevant to a specific user for in-app purchases based on his/her activity.

The personal profile should have some essential fields that include the following:

  • SignUp
  • Login
  • Upload photo
  • Change username
  • Save as Project

Personalized Feed
The personalized feed is also called the home screen in many cases. The user can see famous and promoted posts on the discover screen.

Push Notifications
Push notification allows the app to retarget those users who have not used the app for a long duration. Furthermore, it can also be used to advertise new filters, effects, and other content for monetization purposes.

Social Interactions
Some of the top photo editing apps allow you to not only chat but also share and edit photos collaboratively with other users of the app online. You can interact with others by making comments on other people’s posts, giving likes as well as following your favorite users’ posts.

Integration of AI
Using AI helps in improving the functionalities of the photo editing app significantly. The AI can give different options to the users for editing the app based on neural filters. This will make the photo editing faster and also improve the quality.

You can also create images automatically by giving command of your imagination.

8 Steps to Make a Photo Editing App

Here is the step-by-step process for creating a highly effective and successful photo editing app.

1. Research

You have to do comprehensive research about similar apps available in the market. This study will assist you in determining which of your competitors’ apps have unique features and how you may incorporate them into your app.

Choose five popular photo editing apps and list their features to know what features you should include in your app and which ones you should discard.

2. Choose Key Features of Your Photo Editing App

After looking at the leading photo editing apps, choose the primary features you want to integrate into your photo editing app.

Besides this, integrate some unique features that are not present in the existing apps in the market.

3. Hire a Team of Professionals (In-house or Outsourced)

The next step is to hire a team of professionals who create your photo editing app. You have two options: Hire an In-house team or outsource your project to a mobile app development company.

If you choose to hire in-house professionals, you need to invest a massive amount in hardware, software, etc. Moreover, it will consume a massive amount of time.

If you choose to outsource your project, you save time and money. Moreover, the mobile app development company you select has prior experience building mobile apps. Hence, they can easily convert your vision into reality. If you do not have much idea about outsourcing, check this blog on how to outsource app development.

4. Create UI/UX Design For Your App

Creating an intuitive and visually appealing UI/UX is crucial for the success of a photo editing app. Begin by creating wireframes and prototypes to outline the basic layout and flow of the app.

This step allows you to experiment with different design ideas and collect feedback from team members and potential users before investing in full-fledged development. Ensure to keep the design simple and consistent throughout the app. Avoid clutter that might confuse users.

To make the app feel cohesive and professional, you need to maintain consistency in colors, typography, and iconography. A well-designed UI/UX ensures users can effortlessly navigate through the app’s features and tools, enhancing their overall editing experience.

Collaborate closely with a reputable mobile app design company that holds a team of expert designers. Their invaluable expertise will help you craft an exceptional user experience that distinguishes your app from the competition.

5. Choose a Suitable Tech Stack for your App

There are various things involved in the technology stack of a mobile app. You need to choose a technology stack considering the requirements of your mobile app and your budget.

Let us look at some essential third-party services that you can consider for the tech stack of your Android or iOS app.

  • If your purpose is to store users’ data in the cloud, you can utilize Azure, Amazon S3, or Google Cloud storage.
  • If you want to speed up the signup process via social media, you can integrate popular APIs of Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
  • To provide push notifications to the users, you can utilize popular services like OneSignal, Firebase Cloud Messaging, Amazon SNS, or Urban Airship.
  • To get analytics, offer customer support or set up monetization, you can use the Facebook Mobile SDK.

Are You Stuck in Choosing a Tech Stack?

Let us share your app details with us. Our experts will provide reliable solutions to all your questions regarding the tech stack.

6. Develop an MVP Version of Your App

You should start by developing an MVP app to test the demand for such an app in the market.

MVP app allows you to check the financial viability of the app you are creating without investing a massive amount of money.

Based on the feedback from the users, you can update your MVP regularly and convert it to a full-fledged photo editing app.

7. Develop a Fully-Featured Photo Editing App

Once you have received valuable feedback from users through the MVP version, it’s time to take your photo editing app to the next level. Utilize the feedback from your MVP to identify the features that need enhancements and provide a delightful editing experience to users.

Leverage AI technology to enhance the app’s capabilities and include features such as auto-enhance, and facial recognition, that improve the quality of edits.

Ensure the app has cross-platform compatibility to function seamlessly across different devices, screen sizes, and operating systems. Also, help you reach a broader audience.

Developing a fully-featured photo editing app is an iterative process. It requires ongoing improvements and updates based on user feedback and technological advancements.

8. Test and Launch

This is a crucial stage as you need to deliver a high-quality product to your users. Begin by conducting comprehensive quality assurance testing to identify and fix bugs, glitches, or any functionality issues.

Select a group of beta users to perform user acceptance testing. With their feedback, you can get valuable insights into the app’s usability, performance, and overall user experience.

Review and comply with the guidelines and policies of app stores, such as Apple App Store and Google Play Store and submit your app. This step involves providing detailed app information, screenshots, app icons, and promotional materials.

Create a pre-launch marketing campaign and use social media and other platforms to spread awareness of upcoming releases and generate excitement for your app.

A successful launch with ongoing efforts to refine the app ensures long-term success in this competitive market.

Different Ways to Monetize Your Photo Editing App

Since the main aim is to earn a healthy profit by creating the application, you will need to figure out how to make money with your photo editing app.

Here we will give you three different monetization strategies. You can use it either individually or in combination to get optimal profit.

Paid Apps

As the name suggests, you can pitch your photo editing app as a paid app.

This strategy would be successful only if your app has very unique features. Firstly, these features are not present in any of the competitor apps. Secondly, your target audience needs these features for editing their photos.

While starting your journey, you can also offer a free trial of your photo editing app to the users. It helps them understand how your app works and how it is better than other such apps. It will encourage them to buy the app when the trial period is over.

In-App Purchases

It is another popular business model wherein you offer the app for free but restrict some premium features which the users can access by paying some money.


In this monetization strategy, you offer the app to your end-users for free and run some ads in the app. If you want to employ this method, make sure the adverts are placed in such a manner that they do not bother the user.

Besides this, you can integrate various other monetization methods into your mobile app.

Final Thoughts

There is a constant increase in the number of social media users. Hence, there would be a great demand for photo editing apps. The reason is that these apps allow users to present their content in a modern and attractive manner.

If you want to craft an amazing experience that allows users to transform their images into expressions of their creativity, it is time to make a photo editing app.

In the end, you need to decide the type of photo-editing app you want to make, choose features, and find a reliable tech partner.

Guru TechnoLabs is a professional mobile app development company. We have developed mobile apps for many industries across the world.

Frequently Asked Questions

The average cost to build a photo editing app is around $10,000 to $40,000. The cost increases if you want to add advanced features.

However, it is not a fixed cost, as it depends on several other factors, such as app complexity, UI/UX design of the app, hourly rate of the development team, location, etc.

Creating photo editing apps like PicsArt involves a strategic approach that combines innovation, skilled development, and user-centered design. Hire dedicated developers from a reputable company who help you translate your ideas into a functional app with a user-friendly interface.

The average development timeline for a photo editing app takes around 3 to 6 months, depending on complexity and features. Simple apps take a few months, while advanced ones could take a year or more.

Ravi Makhija
Ravi Makhija

Ravi Makhija is an entrepreneur, an IT professional, tech geek, founder & CEO at Guru TechnoLabs - Globally Trusted Web & Mobile App Development Company. He loves writing about new technologies and the latest trends in the IT field.