Gone are the days when we used to edit our Instagram photos with the in-app editor. With users no longer content with simple edits and clunky interfaces, the competition has been set high for high-powered and advance mobile apps that allow you to do some pretty sophisticated photo tweaking.
And really, paying this much attention to your photos makes sense especially in the age of Instagram and social media. In an era where everyone is an influencer and boasts of fancy-looking feeds, it’s time to catch up with these mobile yet powerful photo editing apps. We put together some of the best so you can upgrade your social media content with some serious aesthetic.
1. Adobe Lightroom CC
Adobe Lightroom CC is undoubtedly a go-to editing platform for many serious editors on their desktop, yet their mobile version is nothing to sneer at. The smartphone version of Lightroom is regarded as one of the best mobile apps for editing—if not the best one out there.
A powerful app with a wide range of features, the mobile version only holds back a few functions such as raw editing and brushes, but it’s almost as strong as its desktop version. It’s also easy to find and change exposure, white balance, and other detailed settings.
Even in its free version as a photo editing app, Adobe Lightroom CC comes with generous features, with more editing tools than you’ll need. Apple users will get a kick out of this app the best with its syncing feature, and allows you to share straight to social media.
While the whole trend of VSCO girls may have painted VSCO as basic, when it comes to editing, there’s no denying that the app is anything but. VSCO is a better, more improved version of Instagram’s in-app editing tools, with more bells and whistles when it comes to editing options such as alignment, exposure, contrast, and temperature correction.
It’s no surprise then that VSCO remains to be the favorite app of many influencers and aesthetic chasers on Instagram! Unlike Instagram, VSCO has several filters and presets to choose from, which can all be tweaked to achieve some seriously stylish effects.
Between clunky basic photo editing apps that don’t offer much apart from gimmicky filters, and complicated techy apps that can be intimidating to photography newbies, VSCO is a nice in-between option. It’s perfect for editing with an iPad or a tablet.
Instagram photos are normally all about color and filters, but what about those who enjoy black and white in their photos? Changing your phone’s camera settings isn’t enough, and like the colored images you take, B&W photos could use some tweaking and editing too.
Carbon is a photo editing app developed in partnership with photographers, so you won’t be missing out on artistic presets as they introduce beautiful monochrome filters, like they were shot on film.
Snapseed may not be as sophisticated an editing tool as VSCO or Lightroom, but if you're in the habit of constantly posting picturesque sceneries plus beautiful photos of your face, this just might be the app for your clean and bright Instagram feed.
This versatile editing app includes tools that allow you to beautify your selfies, including face spotlight, skin smoothing and eye clarity, as well as a healing brush and a glamour glow. Get those OOTDs on point!
5. Afterlight 2
Afterlight 2 is another powerful mobile photo editing app that features a whole range of features to create that perfect picture. Aside from containing all the basic photo editing tools you need, the app also has its own filters, frames, local adjustments, as well as RAW support on iOS and Android. Think of it as Lightroom meets VSCO.
Afterlight 2 also introduces some pretty effects that are gimmicky but still tasteful, like overlays that resemble leaks from the film light, a graphics option, and double exposure. The catch? It’s not free for download—but you can get it for a one-time purchase.
Another favorite by photographers, iOS app Darkroom allows for a well-integrated and comprehensive editing app, focusing on necessary features that address photographers’ needs while editing. Darkroom is certainly a workhorse of an app even on mobile: It can do batch editing, and get access to a dedicated library as well as allow RAW files and large camera support.
If for any reason at all you’re looking for an alternative to Adobe Lightroom CC, give Polarr a try. Compatible with iOS and Android, Polarr’s interface and approach to editing is similar to Lightroom with its own innovations, such as showing you a custom layout with the adjustments you choose, along with more intuitive tools like compact toolbars for a wider screen space, and brushes that don’t color out of the lines.
Enlight is a general editing app that offers a wide range of features, including the ability to do double exposures. If you’re the creative type that likes adding all sorts of designs to your images, Enlight may be the app for you. The app allows you to add text, blend images, and include borders and frames among other features. You can also create an instant photo montage!
Enlight also allows you more control on your geometric adjustments, as well as access to a wide range of preset styles and other effects such as light leaks, textures, and collage layout.