If you’ve had an iPhone since the early years of the App Store, you might notice the screenshots have changed over time. Apps used to have basic, plain screenshots that anyone could capture, but they’ve evolved for many developers into promotional masterpieces. Developers photoshop the screenshots into an iPhone or iPad, add text and gradients, and really take advantage of a user’s natural draw to solid graphics.
If you want to make your app screenshots pop in the App Store and create an impression of quality, the good news is you don’t need knowledge of Photoshop. A number of tools have come out over the years that easily let you place your screenshots in a variety of devices and professional settings. They’re good for not only the App Store, but even promotional purposes outside of it.
Creating App Store Screenshots with Screenshot Maker Pro
A free app called Screenshot Maker Pro gets about half of the work done right away. It places your screenshots within the display borders of an iPhone, iPad, Mac or Apple Watch. The supported iPhones go all the way as back as the iPhone 4s and include several options for the new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus too complete with jet black colors.
For the iPads you can choose angles of an older iPad or iPad mini, though for whatever reason there are no options with an iPad Air. On a similar note, the app has iMacs and older MacBook Pros but no new MacBooks or redesigned 2016 MacBook Pros.
Still the amount of options extends into the hundreds especially for iPhones. Choose different colors, different angles, portrait or landscape, 2D or 3D or even an enjoyable “gravity” option which floats the screenshot on an angle.
All you need to do is take your app screenshots. Then open Screenshot Maker Pro, tap Photos, and import one to create a professional image. Tap Settings to play with the style — pick your device, how to fit the image, toggle shadow and reflections, and choose the background color.
You only get to save three images for free before Screenshot Maker Pro expects you to cough up $4.99 to unlock the full app. This doesn’t include any additional features, just the ability to save an unlimited amount of screenshots.
If you want to add text to these screenshots, a wide variety of both iOS and Mac apps support this. Skitch is still a popular choice for text and annotation on the Mac or iOS. Quick is another super simple and free app on iOS that takes seconds to add text too. For more advanced editing outside of Photoshop, try Pixelmator universally available for Mac and iOS. It’s been my go-to photo editor and graphic designer for years now.
Whatever you do though, just remember to keep your text captions short and sweet. The bulk of the detail should still go in your app descriptions.
Unfortunately, Screenshot Maker Pro doesn’t include any fun backgrounds to set scenes for your apps, but let’s talk about a service that does.
Using Placeit to Place Your App in Any Setting
If you’re in need of even better mockups, definitely try out Placeit. It’s a library of over 2,500 stock images all with screenshot placeholders in them. Some are basic and transparent like the ones you’ll find in Screenshot Maker Pro, but many feature gorgeous photography.
Browse or search for the perfect one on your computer then upload the screenshot or screenshots you want to use. Placeit will automatically insert them into the placeholder(s). Then you can add text and other effects right within Placeit and download your image.
Placeit even supports video if you recorded your iPhone screen for a demo. You can place that within certain frames as well and even include gestures.
What’s terrific is that with inserting the screenshots, adding text, effects, creating video demos, and downloading in several resolutions, Placeit supports this entire aspect of your marketing from start to finish. Even the editing tools include effects, resizing, cropping, text, focus and more. It’s convenient that while using Placeit, you don’t have to dive into multiple apps to edit and craft your pictures. You will need to do some cropping though to meet App Store requirements. Most of the images here are 4×3 or wide banners.
The service is not completely free though. Downloading small 400×300 images with screenshots is free, but larger sizes cost money. High resolution 1920×1440 images are $8 a piece and super hi-res 3300×2475 are $28 a piece. The videos are $49 and $99 for short and long lengths (over 15 seconds) respectively.
If you’ll need these screenshots on a regular basis, you might consider subscribing to a subscription plan. $29/mo gets you nine hi-res per month, $99 gets you 31 and $199 gets you unlimited videos and three images per month. They require a minimum three-month commitment.
Both Screenshot Maker Pro and Placeit can produce tremendously professional results for your App Store screenshots. (I also recommend either Quick for iOS or Skitch on Mac for text and annotation, both free.)
Professional screenshots with pizazz should create an impression of quality and draw in more customers to your app. Play around with different mockups and have fun with the design process.