Is Adobe Photoshop Express worth using?

Adobe Photoshop Express
(Image credit: Adobe Photoshop Express)

Our reliance on smart devices has revolutionized photo editing. Photographers are no longer confined to their desktops or forced to carry around cumbersome laptops. It’s never been easier or quicker to edit photographs on the go. 

Unsurprisingly, editing apps are a dime a dozen and Adobe itself offers a variety of options, which can make finding the right one for you a bit of a challenge. We thought it was time to look into Adobe Photoshop Express, which works iOS, Android and Windows phones and tablets.

Even though it's technically part of the Photoshop family, Adobe Photoshop Express is purely and intentionally built for mobile device photography, and for a start this means that its interface is more accessible, and there are more options when it comes to social network sharing.

You won't be able to edit Raw photos with Photoshop Express unless you pay for a premium subscription, but let's see what else this useful editing app has to offer.

Is Photoshop Express the same as Photoshop?

Adobe Photoshop Express isn’t to be confused with Adobe Photoshop for iPad. The latter is a portable version of the famous full-fat desktop software Adobe Photoshop CC and requires a paid subscription once the free trial runs out, whereas many of Photoshop Express’s features can be used for free. It’s also available on both iOS and Android, and can be used on a variety of smart devices.

Designed for on-the-go editing (side note – where are we going all the time?), Photoshop Express’s plethora of filters, overlays and novelties, such as stickers and borders, mean that it’s clearly targeted towards a more casual audience than its beefier sibling. And while complicated edits will still require a more powerful editing suite, Adobe Photoshop Express is packed with all the adjustments needed to effectively edit the majority of your images.

Is Adobe Photoshop Express free?

Adobe Photoshop Express is on iOS and Android. It’s free, but a Premium subscription unlocks additional features and content. This includes the ability to edit Raw images, an Advanced Healing tool, Selective Editing masks, Replace Eye – which opens the eyes of a subject who blinked when you fired the shutter – and more Themes, Looks and Overlays.

If you’re not certain whether you want to invest, Adobe offers a three-day free trial. It’s £6.99/$6.99 per month (or £29.49/$29.99 for an annual subscription). 

One of Adobe Photoshop Express’s most useful features for iOS users is its ability to send PSD files to Photoshop CC, so you can continue editing images on your laptop or desktop computer. 

You can also pair the app with Adobe Photoshop CC to transform your images by rendering some cool three-dimensional effects or artistic filters, such as GlowingEdges, WaterColor and ColorPencil.

Top features of Adobe Photoshop Express

Simple edits 

Photoshop Express allows you to perform all the usual tonal adjustments, such as Exposure, Contrast, Shadows and Highlights. It also features more advanced tools, such as Split Tone, Temperature and HSL. You don’t work in layers but can undo multiple adjustments.

Looking good! 

The Looks tab presents a plethora of presets, which allows you to drastically change the look of your image with a single tap. A slider lets you control the intensity of each Look, and once you’ve settled on one you can return to the Adjustments tab to refine it.

Design cues 

Avid social media users will no doubt enjoy using Text, Stickers, Borders and Themes to add basic graphic design touches to their images. Themes serve as a design template, which you can alter by moving components and changing text as desired.

Craft a collage

Photoshop Express features some surprisingly deep collage templates, which allow you to quickly create a single or multi-image collage. You can edit your creation’s style by altering image positions, the aspect ratio, background color and much, much more.

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Mike Harris
Technique Editor

Mike is Deputy Editor for N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine, and brings with him over 10 years experience writing both freelance and for some of the biggest specialist publications. Prior to joining N-Photo Mike was the production editor for the content marketing team of Wex Photo Video, the UK’s largest online specialist photographic retailer, where he sharpened his skills in both the stills and videography spheres.  

While he’s an avid motorsport photographer, his skills extend to every genre of photography – making him one of Digital Camera World’s top tutors for techniques on cameras, lenses, tripods, filters and other imaging equipment, as well as sharing his expertise on shooting everything from portraits and landscapes to abstracts and architecture to wildlife and, yes, fast things going around race tracks.