In the last few years we've seen smartphone cameras progress so much, and now with the iPhone's portrait mode, taking good photos is easier than ever. But the lighting, time of day, angle, and subject often vary so it can be difficult to create photos that are consistent in their look and feel, especially on a platform like Instagram where the images are side by side.
Thankfully, there are some amazing photo editing apps to help us with all kinds of things from depth of field to touch-ups and special effects. Below are my favorite photo apps to help you create a stunning and consistently Instagram feed.
As a graphic designer and avid user of Adobe products, I love this mobile version of the desktop application. I actually use the desktop version to edit images in bulk, but the app is super convenient when you're on the go or pressed for time. It comes with presets that can give your photos a professional, high-quality aesthetic. It's easy to autocorrect color, temperature, brightness, and contrast, among other things to make your images consistent.
Price: FREE, although a subscription will unlock more features. If you have a subscription to the Adobe photography package, you'll also have access to the Lightroom app at no extra cost.
Here are the free features as listed in the App store:
PRESETS: Make dramatic changes to your photos with our single touch photo editor
PROFILES: Use these one-tap miracles to create visually striking changes to the look-and-feel of your photo edits
CURVES: Make advanced photo edits to change color, exposure, tone, and contrast
COLOR MIXER: Refine and tweak colors on your photo to make them pop
CLARITY, TEXTURE & DEHAZE: Breathe life into your photo edits with these industry-leading tools
INTERACTIVE TUTORIALS: Get inspired and learn how to make the photo edits you want by completing step-by-step lessons curated by fellow photographers
PRO-LEVEL CAMERA: Unlock your phone’s potential with unique controls such as exposure, aperture, wide or telephoto lens, instant presets and more
CUTTING-EDGE CAMERA MODES: Get more detailed shots with advanced capture modes such as raw, professional, and HDR
ORGANIZE & MANAGE: Use folders, albums, star ratings and flags to highlight your best photos
The premium/paid plan will take your photography to the next level with tools and features like the healing brush, selective edits, geometry, storage, Adobe Sensei, and more.
Made for creators by creators, VSCO is my absolute favorite for editing my photos AND videos for Instagram! If you enjoy the retro look or moody tones, you will love their range of filters and editing tools. The app gives you the ability to create light and bright images with rich colors, or muted, grainy images to mimic analog film if that’s more your jam. You can also crop, rotate, and skew photos to correct perspective when needed.
Price: FREE for the first 10 filters or a $19.99 for an annual subscription at this time (for less than $2 per month it is totally worth it in my opinion!)
My favorite filters for my home decor Instagram feed are A4, A6, and M5, (I usually use on of these at about 50%) with an increased exposure of about 10%.
VSCO is pretty unique in that as it has a creative community within the app itself. Here's what they say about it:
"Explore inspiring photos, videos, and editorial in Discover. Find people you know and connect with friends already on VSCO. Create with Journals. Try something new with weekly photo Challenges exclusive to your VSCO membershipShare your photos and videos with # VSCO for a chance to be curated by VSCO".
Prior to writing this post, I hadn't used Google's Snapseed app, but heard so many great things about it! Once I read about all the features and the fact that it's FREE, I downloaded it and am impressed with its capabilities!
Here's the complete list of features as listed in the App Store:
29 Tools and Filters, including: Healing, Brush, Structure, HDR, Perspective (see list below)
Opens JPG and RAW files
Save your personal looks and apply them to new photos later
Selective filter brush
All styles can be tweaked with fine, precise control
Tutorial cards with tips and tricks about Snapseed and general photography
TOOLS, FILTERS AND FACE
RAW Develop – open and tweak native camera files; save non-destructively or export as JPG
Tune image – adjust exposure and color automatically or manually with fine, precise control
Details – magically brings out surface structures in images
Crop – crop to standard sizes or freely
Rotate – rotate by 90°, or straighten a skewed horizon
Perspective – fix skewed lines and perfect the geometry of horizons or buildings
White Balance – adjust the colors so that the image looks more natural
Brush – selectively retouch exposure, saturation, brightness or warmth
Selective – the renown “Control Point” technology: Position up to 8 points on the image and assign enhancements, the algorithm does the rest magically
Healing – remove the uninvited neighbor from a group picture
Vignette – add a soft darkness around the corners like a beautiful, wide-aperture would do
Text – add both stylized or plain text (38 predefined styles)
Curves - have precise control over the brightness levels in your photos
Expand - increase the size of your canvas and fill up the new space in smart ways with content of your image
Lens Blur – add a beautiful Bokeh to images (background softening), ideal for photographic portraits
Glamour Glow – add a fine glow to images, great for fashion or portraits
Tonal Contrast – boost details selectively in the shadows, midtones and highlights
HDR Scape – bring a stunning look to your images by creating the effect of multiple exposures
Drama – add a hint of doomsday to your images
Grunge – an edgy look with strong styles and texture overlays
Grainy Film – get modern film looks with realistic grain
Vintage – the style of color film photo from the 50’s, 60’s or 70’s
Retrolux – go retro with light leaks, scratches, film styles
Noir – Black and White film looks with realistic grain and the “wash” effect
Black & White – classic Black and White look straight out of the darkroom
Frames – add frames with adjustable size
Double Exposure - blend two photos, choosing from blend modes that are inspired by shooting on film and by digital image processing
Face Enhance – add focus to the eyes, add face-specific lighting, or smoothen skin
Face Pose - correct the pose of portraits based on three dimensional models
This all-in-one design tool is fantastic for creating all kinds of graphics for Instagram and other social media channels. You can browse their huge selection of free templates to add interest to your posts, or add some text to highlight sales, add product details, outline services, or share an inspirational quote or tip. And it doesn’t end there - you can create email marketing graphics, media kits, flyers, business cards, even logos with their desktop or mobile app.
Price: FREE with a paid version for saving time and simplifying your workflow
Note: This app is only available on the App Store for the iPad and iPhone at this time
5. Adobe Spark
There are many similarities between this app and Canva, and I've been using it a lot in the past few months for clients' Instagram posts. I just love how easy it is to find or create images, add text, stickers, filters, and simple animations, whether you have design experience or not. Making use of the convenient duplicate feature and pre-designed templates, allows me to create graphics and animations for posts and stories quickly and easily, and I can sync between devices whenever I need to.
Price: FREE with paid versions that include more templates and features, one of which allows you to add your own logos and branding colors to everything in a matter of seconds - a total time saver!
Here are some of the specific ways you can use Canva or Adobe Spark for social media:
Level up your IG stories with the Instagram story editor
Create IG story highlight graphics with the story highlights maker
Make eye-catching sales announcements
Design Pin-worthy images with text overlays for Pinterest
Create Facebook posts
Design Facebook profile and cover images
Design Twitter banners
Create Youtube thumbnails
I’m sure there are many more, but as you can see, the possibilities are endless!
That's my roundup! What do you think about these apps? Do you have any other favorites? Link them below!
And if you have any questions, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org