Being a phone photographer (yes, that’s a thing), aside from my handy dandy iPhone 6s+ back camera, I enjoy trying and learning about different photo editing apps. Although I don’t do anything too drastic like photoshopping my face to the point where it becomes unrecognizable (heck, I don’t even edit out my acne because let’s face it, no one has perfect skin 24/7 and it’s normal), I primarily use apps for three reasons:
- to fit my dark and moody aesthetic
- to enhance/darken/brighten shadows and pops of color
- to delete things like trash in the background or pesky bits of dog fur
Every year, I get asked what apps I use to edit my photos. As a result, I like to blog about my favorite photo editing apps and this year is no exception. In this short guide, I’ll be sharing with you my favorite 5 free photo editing apps I use everyday. This includes everything from content planning to actual editing apps.
For some of you, you may have already been using this free Instagram grid planner. I used to use Planoly and Layout from Instagram, both of which are also great feed planners, but I fell in love with UNUM with its simple interface as well as the additional features that comes with it. These features include:
- the analysis section
- stickers and filters for last-minute editing
- the ability to effortlessly switch around photos, including the ones you’ve already posted on the ‘gram
The reasons why I love all of these features is because I value simplicity over complexity and that I’m a huge data nerd. I like seeing what photos got the most engagement and the best times to post. This is especially useful if your Instagram isn’t a business account.
If you want to add another account on UNUM, you’ll have to pay for it but it’s not too expensive. 🙂
Totally not something you’d expect on this guide, right?
After all Google Photos is primarily known for photo storage, but after exploring the app for a while this app has some great features like animations (this is where I create some of my GIFs you’ve seen on the social media platforms I use), photo books, and of course, Google Assistant.
The reason why I brought the latter up is because it is so darn helpful! Not only does it sort out your photos in albums, it also creates videos, collages, and animations on its own as long as you have taken enough photos.
For you iPhone users, you may find this app pretty helpful if you suddenly ran out of storage and don’t have access to a USB. Be warned that if you do choose to store your photos via Google Photos for free, you’ll lose that HD quality that’s needed for things like reselling your photos or if you want to print out your photos. The app does have a paid option, however, that does let you keep the quality if you want to do any of those things.
Snapseed is possibly one of my favorite apps EVER. It’s to the point that when I write my next phone photography app guide next year, it’ll most likely be on that guide, too, because it’s such a lifesaver.
Earlier, I mentioned that a few of the reasons why I edit photos is to remove unnecessary things lurking in my photos as well as brighten or darken certain parts of my photos, and that’s where Snapseed comes in to save the day.
With tools such as Lens Blur (the much better version of Instagram’s blur filter) and Vignette, Snapseed takes editing to a much bigger, or should I say, smaller level? With this editing app, you get down to the nitty, ditty details that most apps tend to neglect.
Want to only highlight a certain part of a photo? Snapseed’s got you.
Want to remove an ugly sign in the back? Snapseed will get rid of it.
There are only three cons to using this, though.
Firstly, there’s a ton of learning to do. Since this app has a ton of great features, it will take a while to learn how each one works. Luckily, there are tutorials found inside the app that will make it easier; this is found in the Insights section.
Next, there’s this filter called Face. Essentially a face-type of filter (it brightens the whites of your eyes and can smooth your skin, etc.), based on my experiences, it doesn’t always work, especially if you’re a moody photographer. It can be annoying at times as my face is clearly there, but the app refuses to recognize it.
Lastly, patience is key when working with this photo editing app. If you do what I do, which is highlighting certain parts of a photo or tuning the ambiance, then you best be ready to spend hours editing.
A Color story (formerly Colorstory)
Another favorite of mine, A Color story has some of the best pre-made filters I’ve ever seen. They’re always adding in new ones and they tend to be pretty inexpensive, should you buy one of their packs. I used to use VSCO before discovering this app via Aimee Song’s best selling book Capture Your Style, which you can read about here, and since then, I haven’t stopped using the app.
In comparison to the other apps prior to this, I don’t spend very much time on it (and there’s a good reason for it). While I do like some of the pre-made filters that are available, I’d rather create my own. As a result, I’ve made a few, go-to filters that I use all the time whenever I edit my photos.
Just upload a photo, choose my handmade filter, and I’m done.
For me, it kind of adds my own signature touch, or in this case, filter whenever I edit photos. If you do choose to design your own filters, it does have some photoshop features.
Last but not least is Instagram itself. Over the years, the editing step before you write a caption and all has improved over the years. Not only can you adjust the intensity of the filter you wish to use, you can straighten photos as well as add in some colorful highlights if you wanted to.
But what if you want to save a photo but not post it on the ‘gram?
A trick I learned a while ago is to immediately turn on airplane mode as soon as you send it off to post. Most of the time, it’s worked for me but there have been times when it did post, so act fast!
So, I hope this short guide will inspire you to either check these amazing photo editing apps or give them a try once more. Regardless if you choose any of these free apps or the paid ones, the key to editing some incredible photos is not to download all the apps. Rather, pick the ones you love and know the best and go from there.
What are your favorite phone photography apps? Do you use any of the ones I’ve mentioned? Leave me a comment down below!