Photo making is one of the most popular activities among mobile technologies customers. Just like people adore making pictures of themselves and things around them – like nature, cities and so forth – they wish all of that seem better than in real life. That is why tools for erasing little drawbacks became so essential and probably is the reason why you want to build an app for editing photos.

Although the idea of photo editing app is not new at all, it does not run out of stream, and new fascinating editors still make sensations today. However, to be really successful in this area, the idea of the app needs considerable thinking before being implemented. Having a great amount of competitors, such app should be not just another aviary or facetune clone, but a unique set of features provided in an exceptionally user-friendly environment. The concept struggles here are also combined with the difficulty of technical implementation, which makes the development of such app to be rather a complicated task.

If you are still firm in a decision to give it a try, here are basic points of how to make a photo editing app.

Why do we need Aviary alternative?

It rises a lot of questions about ‘whether people will like my app?’ or ‘what problem my app solves?’ in case of creating a completely new app that has no analogous implementations. In our case, even more questions concerning why should people use it need to be answered.

First of all, let us discover what benefits such apps as Aviary or Facetune give users:

• Crop/rotate image

• Filters & effects

• Levels editing

• Frames

• Stickers & inscriptions

• New layers addition

• Drawbacks improvement

• Collages creation, etc.


It is not a full list, but this is enough to see how much functionalities are already implemented by the competitors. To be known and successful the new app should overcome its rivals by giving new unique opportunities to the users. So, here is what is wrong with the abovementioned functionalities:

• Some of the features still have poor implementation so the intrusions can be seen

• Only a trivial functionality is free, the most interesting features are monetized

• Due to the number of different features they need preliminary training, in other words, the apps are not as intuitive as they might be

The mobile development world is dynamic and the features of all apps should be improved and added constantly to keep customers engaged and happy. They need photo editing apps to amaze their friends and/or followers. Otherwise, they would turn to something more new and interesting at this moment. It is necessary to be in trend and implement the solutions fulfilling the user’s needs. That is why people constantly need an alternative, that will expand the range of opportunities they already have.

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Steps and challenges of photo editing app development

Whenever you want to invest in photo editing app and grow revenue from it or an inquisitive developer, who thinks of it as of a pet project, you should go through several steps to accomplish your great idea. Despite in each case we will have a different way to success, some points will be inevitable:

Unique idea generation

As it was mentioned earlier, the concurrency on the market is considerable, so the scope of the app should be rather strong and unique. Do not try to list all the features of the future app at this step; find one basic concept, that will discriminate your app from the others. Highlight something fresh in your project and build the whole app around this concept.

App features design

To become an Aviary alternative your app should be more convenient, more user-oriented than the former, and provide a set of features which should not be much shorter. Your app should give the same abilities to users and something more, than aviary or facetune or every other app provide. At this step, list all the features you want to see in your app paying attention to their implementation and interconnection peculiarities.

Work out the structure of your app

At this stage you should consider how exactly these features should be implemented. Break complex tasks into smaller pieces and embrace all of them into a intertwined system.

Investigate tools, frameworks and libraries

The previous stage should help you to overview the basic structure in order to decide what technical tools can be used for its implementation. Investigate what tools were used to create a photo-editing app like facetune or others, what libraries and frameworks will match your project the best.

Start your photo editing app development

Despite it is a common type app used on every device, image processing is not the simplest area in app development. It requires operating with pixels directly, so to create such an app is going to be rather a challenging task. However, there are many manuals and other information in corresponding communities that can help to cope with these problems.

Do a lot of marketing

When you already have an app ready for use, make sure customers can find and download it. Moreover, convince them that your app is better than Aviary, Facetune and so forth. For this, a strong marketing strategy should be performed. Make free some features that are paid in your rivals apps, provide better services and advertising, ‘sell’ your concept to users, and you will see your app thriving.


Success stories of some photo editing apps

To choose the right concept for the app it would not be excessive to read how the fame came to the main competitors in the photo editing industry. As a rule, they all has to find a unique feature to engage users and keep them using the app.


Aviary is a flagship photo editor for all existing phone and PC platforms: iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and the Web. Its unique benefit is an Aviary SDK that gives an opportunity to developers to embed a customizable photo editor. Moreover, it enables to built in its photo editing functionality into any app too. Together with a sophisticated line of creative tools it became number #1 photo editing app for all devices. As for monetization, they recommend users to buy additional effects, stickers and filters.


Today, Instagram is not only a social network for publishing photos but a social engagement leader. It is known to everyone, so that is no need to list all the features of this photo-sharing app here. Unlike other popular photo apps, it provides engagement metrics based on clicks, likes, shares and followings with comments, which are exciting for users and useful for businesses. As a monetization method it uses only paid ads, but the popularity of the resource is so great that it recoups all the money they could have from selling stickers.

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This app is famous by its considerable number of filters and giving equal priority to content creation and content discovery tools. The navigation and interaction with the app became a real sensation, and that turned the app to be known as super intuitive photo editing tool. Also it makes it possible to share photos, synchronize them with all the devices, comment, create profiles, tag friends in a photo and receive the notifications from VSCO. The app make revenue from selling extra filters packs and advertising campaigns.


It is mainly considered as the Photoshop for iOS, due to the vast majority of agile features it provides. Also it is rather good in removing blemishes and smudges. Their uniqueness is in an ability to change small specific areas of the face for better, like reshaping the face, removing grey hair and wrinkles, whiten teeth or making chin slimmer.


Famous by its artistic editing tools collection, this all-in-one photo editor proved to be a real Aviary alternative. Its effects provide the ability to get really creative with the images, and the Mask tool allows to rest selected parts of the image unaltered. Such an agile appliance has brought the fame to this app.

There are also many popular app that invested heavily into the simplicity of interaction, like Snapseed, or on a unique designers’ effects, like Prisma.

Conclusions: how should one build an app for editing photos

Today photo editing app development has became a major trend, especially in iOS mobile development. People demand more powerful and intuitive tools to enhance their photos, share them with friends and attract more followers. But usually they do not realize how much technical effort it costs to implement a simple vignette or other photo editing feature. However, the popularity of such tools worth all the struggles that is need to be bridged over. All you need is an idea that will make difference with the existing apps and enough strength to develop a smooth product, test it and make it known across the world of mobile apps.

How to Make a Photo-editing App Like Facetune or Aviary?
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