An important aspect of photo editing is retouching, specifically where you can remove unwanted objects from your photo. Maybe you want to remove a pimple, a wrinkle, or even an object in the background. This can be done with a tool usually called a heal brush, or a clone stamp. I have personally used all of these photo retouching apps at some point, so I can give my own insight into each one.
TouchRetouch is a great photo retouching app, and the one I use the most. Editing falls under four categories: object removal, quick repair, line removal, and clone stamp. Object removal lets you remove multiple objects from an image. You brush over the areas, then tap the Go button. Next, quick repair lets you make small, fast repairs one at a time. Line removal lets you quickly swipe over fences, power lines, or other straight elements to remove them. Finally, clone stamp lets you select a part of your image as a source, then brush over another area. Think of it as a copy and paste. It matches the area you selected, and is usually more subtle. For such a power app, TouchRetouch is US$1.99.
Pixelmator is an alternative to Photoshop, and it has great editing tools. In my use of it, Pixelmator’s repair tool is excellent. There is a basic repair tool that lets you brush over unwanted things in a photo. And there is a clone stamp that lets you copy a certain area of an image and brush that area over a different area. Pixelmator is a great app for graphic designers, artists, and photographers. On iOS, Pixelmator is US$4.99.
Snapseed is a great multi-purpose photo editor by Google. Among a big selection of tools, Snapseed has a healing brush. Now, in my experience, I’ll say it up front: it’s not very good for removing large objects. If you want to remove a small pimple, piece of dust, or anything else, it’s fine. But for bigger things, you’ll find that the heal screws up the image. Thankfully, there is an undo button. There are no advanced healing tools either, such as a clone stamp or lasso. But Snapseed has other good tools, and that’s why I’ve kept it in my iPhone. Snapseed is Free.
Enlight is another multi-purpose editing tool. I’ve moved away from it over the past year, but it’s still a great app to edit your photos. It combines Photoshop-esque tools with the filters of a more basic editing app. I didn’t find Enlight’s heal tool particularly great, but it is a bit better than Snapseed’s tool. Enlight has a heal brush, and a patch tool, which is essentially a clone stamp. The heal tool is awkward to use. You don’t brush over an element. Instead, there is a circular window that you can resize and place it on the image. It doesn’t match the surrounding area very well; it’s more like a blur. So each heal is noticeable unless they are small. The patch tool is only slightly better. Enlight is US$3.99.
Adobe Photoshop Fix
Like TouchRetouch, Photoshop Fix is a dedicated retouching tool. Adobe knows photos, and that experience shows in each app. I would rate Photoshop Fix’s healing tools on par with TouchRetouch. You can adjust the size and hardness of the spot heal, and brush over unwanted elements as you’d expect. Additionally, there is both a patch tool and a clone stamp. Adobe Photoshop Fix is Free, although you’ll have to create an Adobe ID to use it.