Phones offer lots of advantages over compact cameras for taking photographs, they are easy to use, with us the majority of time and take great shots - particularly in sun light.

Apps are a major benefit to using a smartphone to take photographs. They are essentially editing-software programs that let you improve photographs from the palm of your hand.

Apple’s iTunes Store and the Google Play Store have dedicated sections for photography apps. There are hundreds to choose from - allowing you to add filters, crop, edit and beautify.

Here’s a closer look at four of our favourite app: Instagram, Photo Editor by Aviary, YouCam Perfect  - Selfie Cam and Layout by Instagram. All work differently, but each can help make your smartphone photographs even better.

Check out the video above to see them in action.

 

1: Instagram

Instagram app

Price: Free

Operating system: Android, iOS, Windows Phone

At the heart of hugely popular photo app Instagram is an excellent selection of filters to liven up and add atmosphere to even the dullest shot.

Instagram is also a social network which lets you share your creations with family and friends, like pictures and leave comments.

Thanks to its thriving community, Instagram is also great place to discover fantastic pictures and you can even follow your favourite celebrities.

 

2: Photo Editor by Aviary

Photo Editor by Aviary app

Price: Free

Operating system: Android, iOS, Windows Phone

This extremely comprehensive photo-editing app from Adobe, lets you crop, change orientation and adjust brightness, colour, sharpness and focus all from your phone.

It’s great for improving portraits too – its filters can conceal blemishes, whiten teeth and remove red eye.

Make a mistake? Swipe left to redo and right to undo.

Once you are happy with your edit, click Save and share the finished photo with friends

 

3: YouCam Perfect  - Selfie Cam

YouCam Perfect app

Price: Free

Operating system: Android, iOS

YouCam Perfect makes it easy to take and edit the perfect selfie without turning to make-up or surgery.

The app’s ‘Skin beautify’ mode instantly smoothes skin before you apply one of 16 filter effects such as Natural, Gentle and Vintage.

Once that’s done the primping begins. Change skin tone, face shape, eye size, remove bags, blemishes, oil and even add an extra layer of eyelashes.

 

4: Layout by Instagram

Layout by Instagram app

Price: Free

Operating system: Android, iOS

This simple app lets you combine your existing pictures into a collage.

Choose a starting picture, then pick one of eight layouts and replace each picture in the template with one of your own.

You can zoom in to get the perfect crop and experiment with Flip and Mirror effects.

Once you’ve finished your collage, share it via Instagram, Facebook, email or SMS.

 

Do you use any other photo apps to improve your smartphone snaps? Let us know in the Comments section below.