Engagement boost Instagram. The 12 Best Photo Editing Apps for Instagram

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There’s no shortage of photo editing apps for Instagram — in fact, there are thousands to choose from.

But when it comes to creating eye-catching Instagram posts, how do you filter the good editing apps, from the not-so-good?

To help, we’re sharing 12 photo editing apps that will transform your aesthetic on Instagram!

Plus, we’re delving into the new “app mashing” trend and revealing how real content creators combine different editing apps to create unique posts for their feed:

Editing Apps for Instagram #1: VSCO for Next-level Presets

With over 30 million users and a cultural phenomenon in its wake, VSCO is one of the most widely used apps in our hit list.   

But there’s a reason why this app is so popular, and that’s because VSCO presets (a.k.a filters) are next-level good

From their hugely popular Analog presets to their Kodak-inspired ones, there’s a cool VSCO preset for everyone.

Plus, users have full control of the preset intensity — which provides a great level of control for each edit:

Alongside cult-status presets, VSCO also has a solid mix of editing tools built into the app, including exposure, contrast and grain. 

Although not quite as advanced as some of the apps mentioned later in this blog, the VSCO editing tools are simple, easy-to-use, and a good all-round package for creating strong social content. 

Summer Fridays’ co-founder Marianna Hewitt recently revealed on stories how she uses the VSCO editing tools to edit her Instagram posts:

Lifestyle influencer and co-founder of the Twice Removed supper series, India Sehmi uses the VSCO A6 filter and editing tools on all of her Instagram posts:

“My usual VSCO photo editing recipe involves the A6 filter, some increased exposure, sometimes more contrast, a change in temperature and tint (up or down depending on the picture), decreased saturation and grain,” explained India. 

PRICING: Free to use with 10 basic presets, $19.99 per year to unlock all presets. 

AVAILABLE ON: iOS and Android.

Photo Editing Apps for Instagram #2: Afterlight for Dust and Light Leak Effects

The Afterlight app is packed full of sophisticated editing tools, filters, and effects — making it one of the most versatile apps on this list. 

Plus, Afterlight has it’s finger right on the pulse when it comes to the latest editing trends. 

The app’s huge tool selection includes both grain and glow adjusters, as well as some of the coolest dust and light leak overlays on the market:

All overlays can be rotated and scaled with a simple “pinch” motion, and the slider can be used to adjust how subtle or extreme you want the color.

Users can also benefit from the app’s “touch tools” functionality to lighten, darken, blur, sharpen, saturate, or desaturate specific parts of a photo. 

All you have to do is “paint” the area with a brush tool to apply the edit. The more you paint an area, the stronger the edit will be applied: 

PRICING: Free to download with a good amount of features, $17.99 per year or $2.99 per month to unlock all features.


Photo Editing Apps for Instagram #3: PicsArt for the Hot New Sketch Trend

Earlier this year, Kim Kardashian West shared a sponsored PicsArt “sketch” edit on her feed, sparking a whole new Instagram trend before most of us had even had breakfast. 

The PicsArt app is most well-known for its variety of sketch effects, which can be repositioned and edited in a variety of ways: 

And in addition to editing the position, color, thickness, and opacity of the sketch effect, users can also use the eraser tool to remove any unwanted lines.

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There’s also a great selection of built-in filters for paid users, as well as a whole bunch of weird and wonderful effects to try out… although some are slightly more useful than others!  

PRICING: Free to download with basic features, including the singular sketch effect. $47.88 per year or $8 per month to unlock all features.

AVAILABLE ON: iOS and Android.

APP MASHING SPOTLIGHT: Content creator and cosmetic tattoo artist Dana Decena used Adobe Lightroom, VSCO, and Beauty Plus to adjust the photo in this creative edit. She also used PicsArt “Sketch” and an F2 Film template from Storyluxe to create a cool collage effect: 

Want to stay ahead of the curve and on top of the competition? Download our free Creative Social Media Trend Report covering the top 20 creative trends shaping the social landscape right now!

Photo Editing Apps for Instagram #4: Over for Pro Design Elements

Whether you’re sharing tips, inspirational quotes, or want to add a creative twist to your posts, Over is a great app that lets you overlay text and graphics onto your photos and videos!

Over is packed with photos, fonts, graphics, templates and tools to help you create high-quality Instagram content with a professional edge:

And the best thing is, Over is super easy to use! 

It has all the sophisticated editing tools of a professional design program, while still being 100% mobile-friendly.

For example, you can add multiple layers (such as graphics, images, fonts, or logos) to a photo or video, and use the masking tool to remove parts of each additional layer: 

The app is perfect for brands looking for a more customizable experience, with the option to choose colors through the color picker tool or by adding a hex code. 

And with Over Pro, users can choose from thousands of fonts in the Over Library, or even add their own custom fonts.

If you’re looking for an editing app that’s perfect for adding creative layers to your photos and videos, Over is the best place to start! 

PRICING: Free with limited graphics and fonts. $49.99 per year or $9.99 per month to unlock all graphics and fonts (including custom fonts).

AVAILABLE ON: iOS and Android.

Photo Editing Apps for Instagram #5: The Tezza App for Influencer-approved Presets

Influencer Tezza reigns as queen of creative content on Instagram.

So it’s no surprise that her namesake app has built a huge and loyal fanbase, especially amongst the creator community!

The Tezza app has some of the coolest, most atmospheric presets in the game — as well as a simplified set of editing tools that makes it easy for anyone to get creative.

In addition to a small but mighty selection of presets, the Tezza app has some really well-balanced “dust” overlays that are great for adding extra character to photos.

And that’s not all. The Tezza app also has a range of built-in templates that are perfect for getting extra creative with Instagram collages!

The only downside is that users are limited to the 11 colorways available in the app, which could be a challenge for businesses with a brand color palette. That being said, there are over 20 templates to choose from — and some don’t require color at all!

PRICING: $19.99 per year or $1.99 per month for photo editing. $39.99 per year or $3.99 per month for photo and video editing.


APP MASHING SPOTLIGHT: Founder of Gina Goes To Gina Jackson uses the Tezza INSPR preset in combination with the VSCO A6 preset to create her signature feed aesthetic:

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Photo Editing Apps for Instagram #6: Filmm for Vintage Camcorder Effects

Founded by Zoe Sugg (Zoella) and sisters Elsie Larson + Emma Chapman (A Color Story, A Beautiful Mess), Filmm app is our hero for on-trend video filters.

With super on-trend camcorder watermarks, a whole range of vintage filters, and cool moving light flares, the app has pretty much every must-have video edit covered:

And that’s not all! There’s also has a ton of film-inspired frames to make your video posts really standout from the crowd:

PRICING: Free to download with a great range of tools. Filmm+ is $19.99 per year, or individual filter packs can be purchased for just a few dollars each.  


Photo Editing Apps for Instagram #7: Adobe Lightroom for Photo Fine-tuning

Adobe Lightroom has long been heralded as one of the most professional ways to edit photos for Instagram. 

And unlike its desktop counterpart, the Adobe Lightroom app is free to download and use!

There are so many advanced editing tools on offer, from light and color correction, to grain and texture effects:

Plus, there are a number of free Lightroom presets in the app — so you can really develop a style that is unique to your Instagram feed.

PRICING: Free to download with limited tools, $49.99 per year or $9.99 per month to unlock all features (including custom fonts).

AVAILABLE ON: iOS and Android. 

Watch our step-by-step video tutorial for editing with Lightroom by Instagram influencer and content artist Maddy Corbin:

APP MASHING SPOTLIGHT: LIKEtoKNOW.it Social Media Manager Katie Taylor uses Adobe Lightroom to adjust the levels of her pictures, followed by the Tezza “Mood” filter with a dust effect on top to create a high-contrast and visually striking feed:

Photo Editing Apps for Instagram #8: PREQUEL for Fun Effects

Alongside Filmm, PREQUEL is one of the best apps for creative video filters and effects.

There are heaps of trendy effects to choose from. Some of our favorite packs include “Paper” (a collage effect), “Snapshot” (a cute polaroid style), and “Disco” (for added sparkle).

And the good news is, they work great on photos too!

There’s also a huge variety of free filter packs to choose from in the app, from bright “Fiji” to warm “Toscana”:

So if you’re looking for fun effects and filters, PREQUEL could be your answer! 

PRICING: Free to download with a huge range of effects and filters, $59.99 per year or $9.99 per month to unlock all features.


Photo Editing Apps for Instagram #9: A Color Story for Dreamy Filters

When it comes to having a huge number of beautiful filters, no app quite compares to A Color Story — which has over 300+ aesthetically pleasing edits to choose from. 

And the coolest thing? Most of the app’s filters are created in partnership with some of the world’s most inspirational content creators, like Onyi Moss. 

In addition to filters, the app has over 20 different photo editing tools and tons of different effects. 

PRICING: Free to download with a limited number of filters. $24.99 per year to unlock all filters and features, or filter packs can be bought separately for just a few dollars each.


Photo Editing Apps for Instagram #10: Google Snapseed for Selective Edits

Google Snapseed is one of the most comprehensive photo editing apps on the market, and best of all — it’s 100% free!

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From fine-tuning levels to adjusting the white balance, Snapseed may be a free app, but it has a seriously professional agenda:

And if you’re looking to alter the darkness, lightness, exposure, temperature, or saturation a specific part of a photo, Snapseed’s “Brush” tool is one of the best options out there:

While the app’s “Healing” tool is one of the best ways to quickly hide unwanted items or blemishes:

All in all, this app is a powerhouse for advanced photo edits.


AVAILABLE ON: iOS and Android.

APP MASHING SPOTLIGHT: Our very own Taylor from Later always uses a Tezza filter (usually Glow, Mood, or Vintage) in combination with the Snapseed app to ensure the ambience and brightness is just right!

Photo Editing Apps for Instagram #11: Facetune2 to Remove Unwanted Background Objects

The Facetune2 app may be best known for its beauty filters, but it has some great tools for removing unwanted background objects too! 

The “Backdrop” tool works by auto-detecting objects in the forefront of an image, so users can easily fill the backdrop with different patterns or graphics: 

And if you only want to edit out a specific part of a photo (like a garbage can or electrical line in the background) you can use the select tool on a specific area — such as this line: 

By selecting the area, filling the area with the original photo, and repositioning slightly, the line disappears in seconds!

PRICING: Free to download with limited features. $9.99 per year or $1.99 per month to unlock all features (including “Backdrop” editing). 

AVAILABLE ON: iOS and Android. 

Photo Editing Apps for Instagram #12: Meitu for Creative Frames and Filters

If you’re looking for a fun app with high-impact effects, filters, and frames to try — the Meitu app is exactly what you need! 

The app is packed with dozens of dramatic photo filters, including on-trend film slides and realistic polaroids:

In addition to standout filters, the Meitu app also boasts a wide range of editing tools — including a “Magic Brush” that’s great for adding sparkles to specific parts of a photo.

Some features are definitely more useful than others, but as one of the cheapest apps the list — it’s a fun one to get creative with.

PRICING: Free to download with a huge range of effects and filters. Some in-app purchases available for $0.99 each.

AVAILABLE ON: iOS and Android. 

And that completes our list of the top 12 photo editing apps for Instagram right now! 

Photo editing apps are a great way to be more creative and set yourself apart on social, but it’s also important to keep your overall aesthetic on-brand and consistent. 

The good news is, you can always preview your grid before you post with Later’s planning and scheduling tools! 

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Once you’ve uploaded your photos, you can easily move them around to create your best feed. Or, if a photo edit just doesn’t work in your lineup, you can remove it completely! 

Creating the perfect Instagram grid has never been easier! 

Plan, preview, and schedule your Instagram posts with Later — for free!

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