Image is everything on Instagram. You want your photos to look good because you want to look good. Instagram is a photo first social network. Practically, this means that snapping quality photos just isn’t enough anymore. You can capture all the great views, vistas, events, people, or whatever you like and still not get any sort of traction on Instagram. Instead, what you need to do is edit your photos to bring out all the best elements, shades, and lighting effects.
All this means Instagram can be an intimidating place. When they pop up on your Instagram feed the most popular accounts, even the ones not run by celebrities, look they have hired a professional photographer to snap everything they do for their Instagram posts. The truth behind the lens though is less intimidating. What they’ve really done is downloaded any of a number of photo editor apps that then help them turn their basic photos and selfies into high-quality social media gold. This is what we’re here to do today. Walk you through all the best apps you can download that will help you edit Instagram photos. You’ll still need a good eye for a photo but with any of these apps on your phone, you’ll be able to take things to the next level and post your best Instagram photo yet.
Best apps to edit photos for Instagram
VSCO is available for both Android and iOS phones and offers some very user-friendly photo editing features that will have your smartphone pictures looking excellent in no time at all. What’s very cool about VSCO is that as well as a simple user interfaces on your phone, it also offers a Lightroom plugin that will make it possible to work with the same filters on your desktop PC. This is an extremely effective trick to have up your sleeve when trying to break through on Instagram. Most successful accounts will be pulling off desktop edits of their shots before posting them on mobile. VSCO offers you a path to the big leagues by making it easy to do so yourself.
VSCO also has a great in-app camera feature which works very well alongside all the regular edit features you’d expect to find on a photo editing app like this. You’ll find filters, lighting effects, vignettes, tinting, and more all easily controlled via slide bars that will show you your edits in real-time.
Another great app for all you budding Instagram influencers is PIXLR, which works on Android smartphones and tablets, iOS iPhones and iPads, and a whole host of other platforms including Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac, Linux, and web browsers like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.
Again, like with VSCO, PIXLR has a very user-friendly interface so it won’t add an extra layer of complexity to your social sharing process. In fact, PIXLR has some specially designed social sharing features built right into the app. Editing features here include making collages, adding text, blurring or sharping your images, and even more outlandish edits like making your photos look like hand-drawn sketches. There’s a lot to master with PIXLR meaning you’ll really be able to develop your images, if you commit the time it’ll take to master the tools the app will give you.
Google’s Snapseed app puts a lot of very powerful photo editing tools into your hands for free. Like with PIXLR, Snapseed also makes it very easy to instantly share your edited and optimized masterpieces to social networks like Instagram and Twitter. Snapseed is a mobile-only app that is available for iOS and Android phones.
All in all, Snapseed has an impressive 26 different editing tools and features including the likes of blur, vintage filters, white balance, lens bokeh, HDR optimization and more. For a mobile app, there is a lot here that can help you take a high level of control over your Instagram photos. Quite rightly, Snapseed is considered one of the best mobile photo apps available today and, accordingly, is the preferred choice of professional photographers and serious amateur snappers alike. You could say that there is somewhat of a steep learning curve to Snapseed but if you really want to try and make your Instagram sing with great photos, this is the one app you should download above all others.
When it comes to graphic design and photo manipulation, Adobe Photoshop is the top dog and has been for years. If you’ve ever edited an image you fall into one of two categories. You either have Photoshop or you want it. Fortunately for mobile users, Adobe has developed a rather handy mobile app in Photoshop Lightroom CC that is available on both Android and iOS. What’s even better is that the basic version is available for free.
Obviously, there are certain sacrifices you’ll make using a mobile app compared to the full desktop version. There’s still a lot here though including the tonal curve, exposure edits, and contrast and sharpness. Adobe has also built-in social sharing features that you can access from the free version. If you do decide to stump for a full Adobe CC subscription though, you’ll be able to seamlessly switch your edits from mobile to desktop.
Our final app today is Layout, which has actually been designed by Instagram itself. Layout is free and available on both iOS and Android and works as both a camera app and a photo editing tool. Layout isn’t a serious photo editing tool like Snapseed or Lightroom CC, but it has been optimized to work with the dimensions of the social network and to create visually appealing photo creations.
The main aim of Layout is to help you make cool collages and then run them through Instagram’s myriad filters and editing tools. You’ll then be able to quickly and efficiently share your work directly to Instagram.