Best Easy Photo-Annotation Apps

If you are taking pictures of your receipts adding extra info is useful. I tested out some free photo-annotation apps to determine which was the easiest to use.

For iOS (tested on iPhone and iPad) my preferred app was PhotoPen.

annotated receipt

example of annotated receipt using PhotoPen

PhotoPen was the most intuitive, especially if you’ve used any type of annotation software before. The resizing and moving worked as expected.  It was the easiest to use on iPad as the menus were more visible on the larger screen. This is a good basic app. There weren’t many options, but I don’t see a need for changes of font size or colour.

For small functions such as adding the date, small amounts of text, or highlighting, PhotoPen was definitely the easiest to use.

PhotoPen initial screen

PhotoPen initial screen

how the screen looks while using the PhotoPen app

PhotoPen in use

The main downside was the tool menus quickly disappeared once I began using the app. Initially I was touching the screen randomly to attempt to get the menu that I wanted. Eventually I realized there was a method to the system, and have labeled the picture below for you.

PhotoPen hidden menus

PhotoPen hidden menus


Positions across bottom of screen:

  • Watermark – toggles on/off
  • Tool bar (hidden) – toggles on/off
  • Camera – take a new picture (remember to save)
  • Select a photo from camera roll (hidden)
  • Share – email twitter, save to gallery

One warning with PhotoPen is that If you take a picture from within the PhotoPen app, you must manually save it to your gallery. It doesn’t auto-save, and I lost a picture by closing the app without saving it.


For Android, Skitch is my preferred app.

Skitch annotations

example of annotated photo using Skitch

Skitch is a little trickier to figure out than PhotoPen, and also has more functions. In my opinion the extra features aren’t a selling point (so to speak) as I wouldn’t do actual photo-editing on my mobile device.

Skitch in use

Skitch in use – colour options

Skitch in use - annotation options

Skitch in use – annotation options

Do you have a different photo app you prefer? Please tell us about it.

Is annotating photos pointless? Let’s hear that, too.