Raw photo editing apps for Android

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So you've started taking RAW photos on your Android phone. But how do you open and edit RAW photos? Most standard picture gallery apps won't read them.

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If you read our introduction to RAW photography, you'll remember that a RAW photo is the unprocessed data from the camera's sensor. You'll need a special app to open this data and convert it into an image that can be displayed on your phone's screen.

Fortunately, along with the arrival of Android cameras that support RAW photography have come apps that edit these files and convert them to JPGs.


View at the Google play store.

Snapseed is one of my favourite photo apps: simple, elegant, and powerful. It's made by Nik Software, a subsidiary of Google, who also develop the Android operating system.

Snapseed recently added support for RAW photos, allowing you to develop much better images than you could with the automatically generated JPG. When you open a RAW file with Snapseed, it will be loaded into the Develop menu, where you can adjust the white balance and exposure, and recover details from the shadows and highlights.

Snapseed is completely free.

Adobe Lightroom for Android

View at the Google play store.

Adobe Lightroom is the grand daddy of RAW editors on computers, but Adobe have also launched a version for Android.

As you might expect, Lightroom is extremely powerful, and has several useful editing functions that are missing from Snapseed, such as a tone curve tool.

The catch is that Adobe push you to subscribe to their Creative Cloud subscription plan. At $10 per month, this won't break the bank, and will allow you to sync all your photos to Adobe's cloud, and share across devices. This is great if you also want to edit some of your photos on a computer, and the subscription includes licences for desktop versions of all of Adobe's famous image editors such as Photoshop.

About the author

Jonathon Walker

Jonny got into smartphone photography after his fancy SLR died in the middle of a trip to South America. Now he uses his Samsung Galaxy almost exclusively.