October 2, 2014 | Melanie Chandler

The Best Photo Editing Apps to Get Better Instagram Photos

Apps for Better Instagram Photos

In my last post, I talked about how to get more likes on Instagram. This social media platform is all about sharing your life and your interests through photos. New to Instagram? It's super easy to use: take a picture with your smartphone, choose a filter, and share.

To have a successful Instagram account, you just need to create content that's visually appealing. People will respond with likes and comments when they see something that’s attractive to them.

Until recently, the Instagram app only allowed you to add filters to your photos. However, you may want to take the next step and do more advanced photo editing to your Instagram shots.

I took a poll of the VIEO office, and here are our favorite mobile tools to help you get better Instagram photos.

Instagram's Creative Tools

Instagram App

Back in June, Instagram introduced an advanced editor within the app called Creative Tools. You now have the ability to adjust the opacity of the filter as well as the brightness, saturation, warmth, etc. of each photo right in the app.

I like to use Creative Tools for basic photo edits, and it's nice to avoid the extra steps of opening a new app, editing my photo, saving it to my photo library, and then uploading my photo through Instagram. I like things to be quick and simple. Instagram is available for Android and iOS devices.


Snapseed Photo Editing App

Owned by Google, Snapseed has a user-friendly interface and excellent on-screen help. You can keep your edits simple with quick adjustments like brightness, contrast, and saturation to create photos that don't look too edited, and it includes different filters than Instagram does.

All adjustments are made by pinching or swiping across the screen, creating a simple and fluid experience.

Snapseed is available for free on Android and iOS devices. I love free apps, and a free app with no ads is a super bonus.


Afterlight Photo Editing App

Afterlight is a great, cheap app for when you need to do advanced edits. If you love clean interfaces with oodles of options, this is the app for you.

For those familiar with other editing tools like Photoshop, the icons will be easy to figure out. For those new to the photo editing world, this app will take some getting used to, but it's well worth learning.

After capturing or importing an image, you have a wide range of tools at your disposal: brightness, contrast, saturation, exposure compensation, highlights, shadows, temperature, sharpening, etc. You can choose from 59 unique filters, 66 natural textures, and 128 frames.

Afterlight is available on iOS, Android, and Windows 8 devices. In-app purchases like additional filters are available, and the app itself only costs 99 cents.

When you think about it, it's like trading a candy bar for this app, but I'm pretty sure a candy bar won't get you better Instagram pictures.


Filterstorm Photo Editing App

Big fan of Photoshop? Filterstorm is definitely the one for you, and it even provides tutorials on its website so users can get the most out of its functionality.

This app comes with a giant list of features that can overwhelm those new to photo editing. The user interface takes some getting used to, but it's worth it for the features that aren't available in other photo editing apps.

Filterstorm allows the user to mess around with layers, curves, a clone tool, masking, and more advanced features that are found in Photoshop. Unlike most other apps, you can add text to your Instagram photos.

Filterstorm is only available for iOS devices. Yes, this app may cost $3.99, but it's perfect for those who love advanced photo editing.

If you're just getting started, there are tons of good free apps out there. If you want to do a little advanced editing, it's worth dishing out the money (and whichever app you choose, it's less than a Starbucks Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte, my personal form of currency).

My suggestion is that you start with the free apps and see which features you enjoy, and which features you don't have that you would like.

Did I miss a photo editing app that you just absolutely love? Let me know in the comments below!

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Melanie Chandler

Melanie Chandler

As design director, Melanie Chandler leads the design team and works with them to create consistently compelling and engaging website designs, images for digital marketing, and other visual content to communicate corporate identity and drive traffic on websites and social media.

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