I've never considered myself a photographer but I'm always trying to up my photo game, even if it's on a smartphone, and even if those photos are limited to social media posts. I use my phone 90% of the time for photographing sketches, paintings, BTS and whatnot. I have a point and shoot camera, but my iPhone 7s has a great camera and generally can get the job done for me.
After snapping photos, editing comes next, because it's rare that I'll get a perfect shot that requires no extra fluff. That and I have a weakness for punchy colors. So here are some of my favorite apps and what's so great about them!
A Color Story (iOS & Android)
This is my go-to for editing photos prior to posting them on socials or as product listings. I absolutely love this app, it's so fun and easy to use! ACS also has presets for Photoshop and Lightroom that make it easy to keep your edit aesthetic consistent whether you're on mobile or desktop.
What I like about it : Super easy to use, and it starts you off with a lot of free filters and effects. Editing is pretty advanced (it has curve adjustment!!!) and you can easily save editing steps into a "recipe" to use in the future with just a couple taps. It also has a preview feature and basic scheduling for Instagram users where you can arrange your posts and play around with the layout before posting, which is super handy to have if you care about the over all aesthetic of your feed.
What I don't like about it : most of the filter packs are paid add-ons but from time to time will go on sale. I think they're worth paying for, though. The scheduling and grid feature is basic, and I would love to see a hash tag generator or the ability to save hash tag lists. I don't foresee any advanced features like that happening though, as it's a photo editing app and not a scheduling one.
VSCO (iOS & Android)
VSCO was one of the first photo editing apps I used. It has ready to go filters, and you can really dive into some deep editing. It even has its own little community of photographers if you're looking for that. It's very similar to ACS, but with a more professional feel to it. I don't use VSCO anymore and haven't for some time.
What I like about it : Plenty of ready to use filters and advanced editing features make photo editing on the go convenient. You can also save edit steps for reuse on other photos, and the app camera is pretty good.
What I don't like about it : I found the UX a little less intuitive to navigate and had a difficult time saving edit steps for future use. It also had ads for their subscription service and that kind of got a bit annoying after a while. I think VSCO caters to the more serious mobile photographer and was more app than I needed.
LINE Camera (iOS & Android)
LINE Camera is a fun little app with some of the more colorful filters and effects I've seen in editing apps. I don't use this one often but it does have a nice collage feature that other apps I use lack, so I keep it around mostly for that.
What I like about it : Fun filters and effects, the shop has stickers and more to punch up your photos. I think of it as more of a fun selfie-centric app, rather than a photography app, though. I do like the "paint" feature, that allows you to create some on the fly graphics perfectly sized for InstaStory use. The "collage" feature is also handy to have, for when you want to do...well, collages!
What I don't like about it : The app camera leaves something to be desired. I would also like the ability to upload a background or texture of my choice into the "paint" editor. Advanced editing options are limited, as well.
PLANN (iOS & Android)
Okay, PLANN is sort of a special case. It's not really a photography app, but it does have editing capabilities so I'll briefly touch on it. It's marketed as a "visual planner, scheduler, and analytics app for Instagram". It has some built in filters that aren't bad, but aren't as great as say, the ones A Color Story has. I use ACS and PLANN together for my own Instagram, editing photos in ACS and then importing them into PLANN and scheduling from there. I've used PLANN's filters and editors just for a little extra "something" but I don't primarily use it as and editor. It has free and paid plans, and is worth looking into if you're searching for a more all-in-one app for editing, scheduling, and analytics.
Built-in iOS editor
Sometimes I don't need a lot of fancy editing (because I got lucky that the sun was in just the right spot when I snapped that photo) and a gentle bump from my phone's factory editor is enough. iOS has pretty good built features as far as editing goes for when less is more.
I came up with some A Color Story recipes for you to use! I made a point to stick with only the free filters, so they'll be convenient for everyone to use. You can use them as is, or as a starting point and further customize them! Don't stress if you don't replicate the settings precisely, just have fun with it!
(demo images from pexels.com)