Over three years ago I wrote a post about the best editing apps for Instagram, and it’s still one of the most visited pages on Coco’s Tea Party. However, a LOT has changed since then. Our camera phones have got better, editing trends have developed and Instagram Stories has absolutely exploded.
So I thought it was about time I published an updated list of the best image editing apps for Instagram and Instagram Stories. Here are 5 downloads I couldn’t live without.
VSCO has long been my app of choice when it comes to Instagram filters. I used to apply T1 to all of my images, but I switched to A5 about a year ago. The photography app is free to download, but certain filters require an in-app purchase.
You also have the option to subscribe to VSCO X ($19.99 for a year). VSCO X unlocks 130+ presets for your images, and allows you to edit and apply filters to videos (which has been a game-changer when it comes to Instagram Stories).
VSCO: A before and after
Snapseed is the first image editing app I ever downloaded, and it’s still a firm favourite.
I use the ‘tune’ function most often, as it’s a great way to adjust the brightness, contrast and saturation on images. The ‘brush’ tool is also super-helpful, as you can edit the exposure, saturation, darkness and temperature on small sections of a photo (I often paint my arms and legs with the temperature brush if I’m looking a bit pale).
And the ‘heal’ function enables you to patch over and erase small marks or blemishes. It’s a great way to get rid of unsightly cigarette butts or fallen leaves that might have slipped into your photo.
Facetune often gets a bad rap, because it allows you to edit your entire appearance, so has therefore become synonymous with the unrealistic beauty standards displayed across Instagram. However, when used in moderation Facetune will definitely help elevate the look of your Instagram images.
Generally I stick to the ‘smooth’ tool, which basically allows you to airbrush your skin. I try not to smooth my face too often, but regularly smooth my legs if I have patchy fake tan, bruises or “strawberry legs” from shaving.
The ‘details’ tool is fantastic if you want to sharpen print, text or texture. And the ‘whiten’ function allows you to whiten your teeth, if you wish.
I use all of the image editing apps listed above for both Instagram and Instagram Stories. But I typically only use Unfold for Instagram Stories.
The free app provides stylish templates for Instagram Stories – including vintage film, torn paper and minimalist collages. You do have to pay between 99p to £1.99 for some of the layouts, but there are plenty of free options to play around with.
Unfold: Layouts for Instagram Stories
I use the Mosaico app to plan the look of my Instagram grid/quilt before I share new images. You can import your edited photos directly into the app, then drag and drop them around until you settle on the perfect flow of images. This essentially gives you a chance to preview your grid before uploading anything to the gram.
Mosaico is my go-to planning app, but Planoly and UNUM also allow you to plan and schedule your Instagram grid. Every content creator I know has a preference when it comes to these three apps, but they all do the same thing.
Do you have go-to editing apps for Instagram and Instagram Stories? Feel free to share your favourites in the comments section below…
P.S. Have you listened the Let’s Discuss episode about photography and image editing yet? If not you can download it on Apple Podcasts or stream it here.
Photo by Lydia Collins