Best Free Photo Editing Apps

Smart Phones

In this day and age, we’re at a place where our phones are like mini cameras. And those cameras have built in editing apps.

I’ve been seeing some of the pictures people are taking with the newer iPhones – the iPhone 8 and iPhone X – and the quality is AMAZING. The portrait mode looks like you’re using a DSLR camera like this Canon DSLR SL2, which is the one I use.

I still have the iPhone 6s because I refuse to give up my headphone jack BUT the quality is still great.

Anyways, since we’re all about documenting our lives and sharing it with the world through Instagram, VSCO, whatever, here are the best apps to use to make your photos look more aesthetically pleasing!

5 Best Free Photo Editing Apps

  1. VSCO

    This is probably my favorite because they have a bunch of different presets to fit the vibe you’re going for with your photo. My fave presets to use on VSCO are HB1-HB2, C1, and A5. It’s also one of the easier editing apps to use. VSCO reminds me of like if Instagram and Tumblr had a child: you can edit and post pictures with captions, but the layout is more like Tumblr and the atmosphere is more artsy like Tumblr, not so polished like Insta. VSCO can make a picture that isn’t the prettiest look really good, really easily. It’s also awesome because you can make your own presets! Here’s a before + after using my custom, go-to presets:

    Teresa Barker Phone Editing Apps Teresa Barker Phone Editing Apps

  2. Lightroom CC

    This is basically the free version of Adobe Photoshop. Often times, I’ll edit a photo here, then take it to VSCO for a filter, then post it. It sounds like a lot of work, but Lightroom can really improve a photo’s quality. Lightroom can do things that VSCO can’t – it can change the lighting of the whites, blacks, and overall picture (makes for a crisp, HD looking pic); it can add detailing to certain parts of your picture (like you can make your eyes stand out), and other things that the average picture-taker may not care about, but a more passionate photographer would enjoy. They also have presets, but more like Instagram’s presets, not like VSCO’s presets – however, just like VSCO, you can create + save your own custom presets, too. Here’s a great example of a before + after with what you can do to brighten a picture:

    Teresa Barker Phone Editing Apps Teresa Barker Phone Editing Apps

  3. PicMonkey

    If you want to add text to your images, or little doodles, PicMonkey is good. PicMonkey has the ability to edit photos just like other apps can – exposure, clarity, temperature, etc. – and it’s good. I don’t tend to go to PicMonkey to do that though because I personally prefer using other apps just because I used them first and am used to them. PicMonkey is very user-friendly, easy to use, and it’s popular. I keep it around primarily for the text feature because they have really cute fonts. Also, while the app is great, the web version of PicMonkey is just SO much better in my opinion, and that if you’re just trying to make your Instagram pics look a little better I’d try another app. This is before + after took me like 12 seconds and looks cute just because their fonts are really trendy:

    Teresa Barker Phone Editing Apps Teresa Barker Phone Editing Apps

  4. Snapseed

    At first, Snapseed is overwhelming. I won’t lie. But that’s because it has MANY great photo editing tools. Looking at it, without knowing any of the terms, it’s like “okay I can’t do anything with this.” If you aren’t looking to learn a new photo editing tool, Snapseed isn’t for you. But if you want to create really breathtaking images and are willing to watch a few tutorials or play around on your own, it’s so so worth it. Especially for travel/landscape photos. Some of the highlights from the tool section are being able to change the color curves, lens blur, retouching, and cute text fonts. Sometimes to add text I’ll use Snapseed instead of PicMonkey. I like both. But, to really see what kind of photo editing capacity this app has, just look at this before + after:

     Teresa Barker Phone Editing Apps

  5. Instagram

    This might seem like a kind of weird thing to say, but Instagram does have a lot of good photo editing tools! It can only do so much, so I tend to not use as my only source of photo editing, but it totally depends on your level. But I used to only use Instagram for everything, and it is still great for a quick edit + post. You can literally upload it, edit it, pop on a filter, and post! I strayed from Instragram as my only editing source because I just wanted to be able to do more with my editing, but often it’s still good for a last-minute brightening a photo before you post it. Just to show you though, here’s a before + after of only editing through Instagram:

    Teresa Barker Phone Editing Apps Teresa Barker Phone Editing Apps

Those are all the best apps I know!

Hopefully this helps you guys get all the Insta-worthy photos you’re hoping to create!

For the record though, I never use editing apps to get change the way my body shape looks or anything like that.

To each their own, but I feel like social media already does enough to skew our self images, so I don’t ever Photoshop my bod. Besides, I like the way my real body looks! I don’t want to edit it! And neither should you. Real is beautiful.

I just like making images look more aesthetically pleasing, more high-definition, or more vibe-y with a good filter.

Also, one more thing: I only know how these apps work on iPhones. I’m assuming they’re still good for Android users, but I’m not sure! If you’re an Android user or non-iPhone user, what do you use to edit your photos?

And even if you have an iPhone like me, what’s your go-to photo editing app? Let me know in the comments, I’m always interested to try out new editing apps!

Much love, Teresa

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