Jun 29, 2016


The world of photography has changed vastly since the days of processing film in a dark room, particularly since the development of the smart phone. Whether you’re using an iPhone or an Android, these devices now manage to combine great picture quality along with the ability to fit into your pocket — giving you the opportunity to create some truly amazing photographs!

As with shooting with a traditional camera, it’s always great to be able make the most of your photos through editing. Enhancements to colour and composition can not only give your photo a lot more impact, but can even be used to create something different altogether.

I personally use my iPhone a lot when I’m shooting for Instagram and have explored many new apps in the search of the best set of filters and features. If you’re looking to give your mobile phone photography a bit of an edge, then I have a few personal favourites that I’d love to share in order to help you achieve that. Each of these apps are great for different aspects and I always find myself reaching for one or even a combination of a few of them to do a quick edit before I post a photo!



Selling Point: The Filters, Price: Free, with in app purchases

Visual Supply Company is one of my favourites to edit with purely because of the range of filters on offer. A lot of the filters on other apps can end up looking quite harsh and a little too processed, whereas VSCO offer a range of subtle and professional grade photo filters with varying moods which lets you find the perfect fit. However other than the handful or so original filters, other filter bundles do need to be purchased in the app — but VSCO do often have sales on these so it’s worth holding out and getting a few if you can. Some of my absolute favourites include the minimalist and analog collections! VSCO is also hugely popular for the range of film emulation filters available for both desktop programs and the mobile app. Some of these like the Classic Chrome bundle are great for creating that retro film look!

VSCO | Mobile Photo Editing App

Left: Unedited Image, Right: Image with J2 filer from the Minimal bundle.

VSCO | Mobile Photo Editing App

Left: Unedited Image, Right: Subtle differences with J2 filter in Minimal bundle

2. Snapseed 

Selling Point: Ease of Editing & Detailed Edits, Price: Free

Snapseed is the Google owned completely free app hailed as one of the best by a lot of photographers. As well as the usual abundance of cool filters, my favourite thing about it is that it’s so easy and quick to use. The swiping motion for adjustments means you can quickly amend clarity, exposure, contrast etc. avoiding the urge to over edit the photo or spend too long with it. Another awesome feature is the ability to spot correct and adjust certain points of your photos (most apps require you to apply edits/filters to the whole image) which means that you can colour correct specific areas or even remove things from your photos using the patch tool — so it’s great for those detailed adjustments!

Snapseed | Mobile Photo Editing App

Easily edit photos on Snapseed with quick swiping motions.

3. Afterlight 

Selling Point: Light Leaks & Grian, Price: £0.79

One of my favourite things about Afterlight on top of the wide selection of filters is the light leaks feature. Light leaks in real life are hard to achieve (unless you’ve popped open your film camera by accident) so this is a great way to add a natural looking light leak effect over the top of your photo. Another favourite is the grain or dust options, again a natural looking set of filters which transforms your image into having that retro film look but not in an over processed way.

Afterlight | Mobile Photo Editing App

Left: Colour corrected image, Right: Image with light leak effect 17 using Afterlight

4. Instagram

Selling Point: Easy & Simple, Price: Free

I feel like Instagram itself doesn’t get enough credit for its editing features. It’s come a long way from the OTT Valencia filter craze, with a lot of its new filter releases being a lot more subtle and easy on the eye (Juno, Ludwig and Clarendon being the ones I gravitate towards the most). I also find myself using the distortion tools a lot to straighten out the perspective on my images, as shooting with an iPhone can often leave things looking a little skewed. Whereas other apps also have this feature, Instagram’s perspective tools are a little more subtle allowing you to make minimal adjustments.

Instagram | Mobile Photo Editing App

Left: Unedited skewed image, Right: Image with adjusted perspective in Instagram

5. Facetune 

Selling Point: Great for Selfies & Portraits, Price: £2.99

Coming in as the most expensive out of the bunch, Facetune is definitely one for the serious selfie taker or equally the on the fly portrait photographer. Facetune has an awesome smoothing tool which instantly airbrushes any blemishes and even a brightening tool to fix those dark circles. If you love taking pictures of people, then it’s a great way to post these on social media quickly without rigorous editing in Photoshop beforehand. It’s also got some great adjustment features, making it all the more easier to look like you have those Kylie Jenner lips if that’s what you’re after!

Facetune | Mobile Photo Editing App

Left: Colour corrected image, Right: Image edited with smoothing and whitening tool on Facetune


If you like taking photos, then I’d love to know which apps are your favourites for editing — so please comment down below and let me know!

Also follow me and my picture taking journey on my Instagram and VSCO channels —  and don’t forget to hit that recommend button below if you found this useful, I’d really appreciate it!

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