($1.99 for iOS; $2.99 for iPad version)
What it is: An intuitive photo app that lets you edit photos and add special effects.
How it works: After launching the app, you can choose to edit a photo in your device's camera library or take a new photo, then edit it by cropping, adjusting lighting and adding textures, filters and more. Photos can be emailed or shared across your social network.
Why it's great: You can improve a photo's lighting, sizing, color and contrast or simply go wild adding special effects. These effects include blending two images and adding a neon glow or a ripple or a whirl to an image. The mask effect allows you to leave part of the image untouched while you tweak elements in the background or foreground.
Why you might hesitate: Sharing over social media is awkward. Posts to Facebook go to a PhotoWizard album rather than on your wall, and you can't add a comment. I was unable to tweet images directly from the app. But PhotoWizard's strengths outweigh these social shortcomings.
Photo fx app by Tiffen
($2.99 or $4.99 for Ultra version for iPad; iOS)
What it is: A photo-editing app that's packed with basic and advanced photo-editing tools so you can resize, relight or add special effects to an image after shooting a picture. (Tiffen has specialized in lenses and filters for 70-plus years.)
How it works: After launching the app, you click on the file icon to edit an image already in your device's library, or you tap the camera icon to shoot a fresh photo. Image tools include auto adjust, black and white, sharpen, temperature and paint. You also can layer effects, but Tiffen recommends limiting layers so the image file doesn't get too bulky. The tool setting allows you to adjust the maximum image size.
Why it's great: The app is easy to use, with sliders to adjust the amount of an effect. You can preview a thumbnail of your image with different effects before applying it. I primarily use the image and lens effects. After editing a photo, you can share it.
Why you might hesitate: Though I have small fingers, the paint feature is awkward on the iPhone's small screen. But this is a minor quibble.
Smart Traveler app
(Free; iOS and coming to Android)
What it is: A comprehensive travel app from theU.S. State Departmentthat provides comprehensive info about visiting other countries ranging from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. It details visa requirements, travel warnings and alerts, the location ofthe U.S. Embassyand more.
How it works: If you're not sure where you want to go, you can shake your iPhone to land on a random country. If you know you want to visit Botswana or the United Kingdom, you can either type the country's name into the search bar or search under the starting letter for the name of the country.
Why it's great: It puts State Department travel info in your pocket so you can start planning a trip abroad wherever you may be. Beyond advice on safety and immunization, the app includes info about weather advisories so you can see that the Caribbean deal you want to book is at the height of hurricane season.
Why you might hesitate: You don't travel abroad. Otherwise, this is a must-have app. A version for Android is in development.