Gone are the days of snapping a photo with your iPhone and simply using Instagram’s built-in editing features when you post. Set yourself apart from the sea of content with one of these programs available now in the app store.
A Color Story
Price: Free with in-app purchases
If you’re just getting into photo-editing applications, A Color Story is a great place to start. You can buy preset filters or venture into adjusting your levels (brightness, contrast, saturation, etc.) on your own for free. Presets range in cost from $2 to $4, depending on the set. You can also insert light flares, adjust bokeh, and overlay color fog to add a creative touch on your photos. What’s more, this app allows you to save your own settings so you don’t have to do it manually every time.
Live it up like it’s 1998 with this virally popular photo-editing app. Huji makes any photo look like a film print you found in a shoebox in your parents’ attic. Although you can’t manually adjust any levels, this app automatically adds random effects to mimic natural light leaks and even time stamps your photo with any date you’d like to add to your street cred.
Snapseed has too many preset filters to count. Along with being able to adjust the normal color and brightness levels, you can choose from over 28 effects, like Glamour Glow, Grainy Film, Vintage, Grunge, Black and White, and Noir. And if there’s a person in the photo, you can even change the tilt of his head, how wide his smile is, and how far apart his eyes are—if you’re into that. There’s also a double-exposure option that lets you overlay two photos to create some cool images.
Price: Free or $20 per year for advanced options
VSCO is half editing software, half photography community. Inside the app, there’s a screen where you can find other users to follow for inspiration. The wide breadth of filters are subtler and more toned down than those of other apps on this list, plus VSCO has retro settings to make your photos appear as if they were shot with different types of film, from Kodak Portra 400 to Ilford HP5 to Fuji Pro 400H.
Adobe Photoshop Express
If you’re plugged into the Adobe ecosystem, you’ll be right at home with Photoshop Express. Edit your photos on the go and send them via the app to Adobe Creative Cloud, Lightroom CC, or Photoshop CC on your desktop. You can remove blemishes on faces, create natural-looking bokeh, add text overlays, and choose among seven preset filters.