Unlike other social media and online platforms, Instagram relies almost entirely on your aesthetic, which means your photos — and what you do to them — mean absolutely everything.
But luckily you don’t have to be a photography pro to edit photos like one. App stores are teeming with third party editing apps that make cleaning up photos both fun and easy. The downside? There are so many of these apps that it’s difficult to know where to start. But have no fear — we’ve made a list of the 8 best third party editing apps that are sure to up your Instagram game.
There’s a good chance you’ve heard about Facetune before, mostly because it’s become the go-to app for editing thirst traps and selfies. It’s great for smoothing skin, whitening teeth, and removing blemishes, though it also offers a variety of filters and other editing tools for adjusting, blending, and replacing photo backgrounds. It may not be the most nuanced of photo editing apps, but it definitely gets the job done, which is why this is a fan favorite among amateur phone photographers.
Prisma is one of the more out-there editing apps, which is perhaps why it’s so fun to play with. Instead of offering regular filters that manipulate the color and exposure of your photos, Prisma allows you to turn your pictures into a work of art, quite literally. Using a combination of neural networks and artificial intelligence, Prisma transforms your snaps into artwork in the style of Picasso, Munk, and other world famous painters.
Snapseed is an easy-to-use editing app that allows users to manipulate their photos with a wide array of professional editing tools. As a photo editor, it takes care of all your needs — you can adjust the sharpness or exposure of the image and use a variety of brushes and curve tools to completely transform your work. It’s also great for smoothing skin and brightening eyes, promising a fire selfie nearly every time. The best part? The app is absolutely free.
VSCO is perhaps one of the artsiest photo editing apps out there, with the best selection of filters to boot. This app allows you to give your photos a beautiful and understated look, while also allowing you to crop and adjust the sharpness, exposure, and color manually. What makes VSCO truly unique is that it also acts as a camera on your phone, allowing you to alter shutter speed, ISO and white balance, making it a photographer’s dream.
5. Serif Affinity Photo
Affinity Photo is usually considered an alternative to Photoshop, and it’s no real surprise. The app allows you to alter your photos through brushes, filters, and layers, offering users a nuanced system to edit photographs right from their phone. Of course, this level of complexity comes with a cost: the app currently goes for $19.99, attracting only the most serious of photographers.
6. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC
While this app is suitable for beginners, it’s perfect for photo editing veterans who prefer full control over the editing process. Like other apps, it offers one-tap filters and quick editing tools for manipulating the color and exposure, though it also includes in-depth tools for selective editing, healing, and perspective correction. Luckily for all, the app is free, though you will have to pay to use premium features.
Like other third party editing apps, Pixelmator offers templates, filters, and simple one-touch editing tools that help you enhance your photographs right from your phone. But Pixelmator doesn’t just let you touch up images — with its built-in painting feature and graphic design options, it lets you create them. The best part? It’s free!
8. Camera+ 2
This app is definitely best used by photography veterans for its more technical aspects, as it’s a professional camera app with an integrated photo editing suite that allows users to play around with filters and other tools. Camera+ 2 is more sophisticated than the built-in camera app on your phone — it offers manual controls of shutter speed, ISO, white balance, and focus, as well as gives users the opportunity to blur backgrounds and expose different parts of the photo. Camera+ 2 runs for $2.99 in the app store.