4 Free Apps to Give Smartphone Photos a Professional Finish

These four apps are a godsend for hotel marketing professionals looking to add a little polish to their smartphone photos and get them feed-ready.

Social media marketing for hotels and wedding venues inevitably includes photos of glistening pools, shamrock green grass, and other regal-looking spaces – all subjects in which you want the colors to pop off the screen and do these gorgeous real-life scenes justice. Here, we outline four apps for you (or your social media marketing manager) to keep in mind the next time you’re out on the property and about to share to social media. They may give your photos a shine that gets you a few extra likes and give followers pause where they’d otherwise scroll by.

Google Snapseed

Google Snapseed flies under the radar for most but gives users a surprisingly wide range of features to improve and adjust photos. Lens blur effects, editing in landscape mode, color- and white-balance adjustment, geometric fixes (like making a horizon straight across), and fine-tuning of image parameters are among the options available. While other apps have all sorts of filters mixed together and leave the user to try each one, Snapseed organizes its filters by category, like “Glamor Glow,” “Vintage,” and “HDR Scape,” cutting down on the time required to get your photos looking just right.

Best For: When you don’t have much time to edit but want to tweak and post that wedding photo ASAP because your venue looks (almost) perfect.

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Adobe Photoshop Fix

Adobe Photoshop Fix carries with it that brand equity Adobe has built up with creatives, and this simple app delivers, too. Its strength lies in its ability to retouch faces using features like the Heal and Patch tools. You’re able to tap the blemish or object you’d like to remove, and the pixels will be intelligently replaced to blend in with the rest of the image. The Liquify feature, a user favorite, enables the goofy reshaping of faces, and can even (literally) turn a frown into a smile. Anyone who’s tried to take a group shot knows how tough it is to coordinate and execute well – this app takes a little bit of the pressure off, because you know you’ll be able to tweak it afterward.

Best For: When you’re touching up a photo that predominantly features faces and want to make sure everyone looks their best.

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VSCO

VSCO is actually a social app, in addition to its role as a photo editor. Think of it as Instagram for photographers and the creative set. Because VSCO serves that crowd, the app’s photo editor has some powerful tools and lets you give your images a tastefully artistic look. There are plenty of preset filters if you only have a few seconds to make the photo look good before sharing, but VSCO’s power is really on display with its ability to configure manual settings like the exposure and focal point of the app’s camera, split tinting of highlights, and even control over perspective. It’s not a replacement for Photoshop, but it can substitute in a pinch.

Best For: If you have a vision and a bit of time, VSCO can basically get your photo looking exactly as you want it, down to the pixel, for use in hotel marketing materials.

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GIPHY Cam

GIFs have taken over our text messages, Twitter feeds, and even infiltrated our Slack threads at work. They’ve become a way to communicate and quickly share moving images. GIPHY Cam gives you the power to make GIFs of your own, from capturing to editing to after-effects. They won’t be appropriate for every moment or scene, but used sparingly, they can be a welcome change from the norm for your followers as they’re going through their social feeds.

Best For: Quick-motion scenes, like someone jumping into your hotel’s pool, can be appealing as GIFs and catch the eye of followers in places where they’d just scroll by still photos.

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