8 of the best Instagram photo editing tools

Last Updated on October 8th, 2018 at 10:25 am

Instagram photo editing tools

Now that you know the way to edit Instagram photos in the app itself, you’re ready for the next level of image editing precision—utilizing specialized Instagram photo editing tools designed to edit Instagram photos.

Fortunately, there are lots of choices out there. Having a few of those Instagram photo editing tools in the rotation may help you craft exceptional images and develop a signature look for your feed.

Below are a few of our favorite Instagram photo editing tools that will help you edit Instagram photos.


Ask a popular Instagrammer what Instagram photo editing tools they love the most, and certainly, VSCO will be at the top of their list. This app is well-loved by professional photographers, and for good cause.

VSCO is greatest known for its filters, several of which are included free of charge if you download the app. If you wish to discover beyond the basics and pay, you get access to a huge range of filters—many of which emulate the look of film images, adding character and depth to your photos.

VSCO screenshot

There’s additionally an in-app camera, enabling you to seize images with an added degree of precision. Use it to edit qualities such as white balance, aperture, shutter speed, and focus. These options allow you to take high-quality images, especially when you’re comfortable with DSLR cameras. However, even when you’re new to the concept of an ISO setting, they’re simple to play with.

On top of those Instagram photo editing tools, VSCO allows users to make very subtle adjustments and changes using their editing instruments, for example, clarity, exposure, white balance, skin tone, and more.

Pro tip: It’s both a tool and a social website: you can save and share your images with other customers in the app, and discover other customers feeds.

A Color Story

A Color Story is one of the easy-to-use Instagram photo editing tools, concentrated on making the whites and colors in your images pop. It additionally comes with a selection of results like light leaks, lens flares, and bokeh.

Compared to some advanced Instagram photo editing tools, A Color Story is simple to get began with. It feels intuitive when you’re used to the Instagram editor, with a similar interface. It also provides a nice curves tool for adjusting the brightness and darkness of your image, similar to Photoshop.

The basic app is free, although you may pay for additional particular effect and filter packs. Other add-ons are free, or available upon subscribing. However, even the basics are great for enhancing your images.

Not like many of the filters available on VSCO or Instagram, which lend vintage flair to images, A Color Story’s filters make your photos more vibrant and sharp. You may see the influence of their Palm Springs filter on my picture below:

A Color Story editing screenshot

You may even layer filters to get a really customized effect and create custom filters by saving your edits as you go along.

Pro tip: you can save your favorite filters by tap the heart icon, creating the app in shortcuts.

Afterlight 2

Afterlight 2 is the later version of the popular Afterlight app, another stalwart in the world of editing photos apps.

Not like VSCO, this app isn’t free. It prices $2.99USD to download. However, not like many other paid tools, there aren’t any in-app purchases or subscription fees. And Afterlight 2 adds new options every month, which means avid customers will get a ton of value from it.

Like VSCO, Afterlight 2 boasts a wide selection of filters, including vibrancy or retro appeal to your images. It additionally has dust, light leak, and grain effects that create texture and drama. There’s a full suite of editing instruments so you may adjust tones and curves to create striking photos.

If you wish to get really creative, you may layer photos for a double-exposure effect, use their color shift tool to create a cool look, or add text and graphic overlays.

There are infinite choices with this tool, which is why it’s a go-to for professionals. Afterlight 2 provides a skilled level of customization choices with a beginner-friendly interface.


Snapseed was created by a little firm called Google, and it’s just as good as you’ll expect. Many Instagram photographers call Snapseed their number-one pick for greatest photo-editing app.

That’s because it provides tons of editing tools that permit customers to tweak their images to perfection. Their tone tool contains all the standard editing options you’re familiar with and a flattering set of one-tap filters.

Beyond that, they’ve got a wide range of editing choices and some unique additions too. These include a Face Pose tool, which lets you adjust the focal distance (you know, the reason your nose looks so weird if you take a selfie close-up), and a bevy of flattering portrait filters.

The Stacks brush permits you to apply edits selectively to the photo. When you just wish to brighten or saturate one area of the image, the Stacks brush is your good friend. A nice function of Snapseed is that every edit is a separate picture layer, which means you may remove one without undoing all of the edits you made after it.

snapseed screenshot

Snapseed can take a while to master, however, there are many tutorials that will help you get the hang of it. When you learn the way the editing brushes work (swipe up and down to cycle through them, then left and right to adjust the intensity of the impact), it becomes pretty intuitive.

Adobe Photoshop Express

Adobe Photoshop Express is a powerful editing app that’s surprisingly simple to use. It provides tons of options and one-tap filters, plus tools like blemish removal, red-eye correction, text overlay, and stickers. That makes this tool something of a Swiss army knife—whether you wish to make subtle, refined edits or bold, graphic changes.

You may also use Photoshop Express to make unique picture collages, utilizing single or multiple photos. Helpfully, it also lets you export these colleges in the right sizes for different platforms and purposes, like Facebook Events or YouTube thumbnails.

instagram filters app

Photoshop Express is free, although you should create an Adobe account to use it. If you already have one, it lets you sync up with your other Adobe tools. It’s the right choice for customers who’re already utilizing Adobe programs.


TouchRetouch is a single-purpose editing app that removes blemishes and unwanted objects from your images. It’s not free, however, the price tag is simple to swallow ($1.99 USD) and it’s easy to use.

When you’ve got some wall graffiti or a piece of windblown trash distracting you from an otherwise good shot, this tool is your good friend. It’s a nice one to have in your arsenal for touching up an image before editing it with a more general-purpose app, like Snapseed or VSCO.

Lens Distortions

Lens Distortions is another app that concentrated on getting one task well. In this case, that’s adding light and climate effects to your images.

Make visual interest and appeal with light leaks, fog, rain, snow, and shimmer. These subtle, natural enhancements add a dreamy high quality to your outside photos.

Below, I’ve used Lens Distortion to intensify my seaside sundown.

instagram filters app

Enlight Photofox

Photofox is a departure from the apps above, aimed at making more artistic photos than ones that appear seamlessly, naturally edited. It’s free to download paid add-on options.

Photofox helps you to layer photos, adjusting the opacity to create a double-exposure effect. You may also add backgrounds and effects to transform your photos into all the things from watercolor paintings to typographic posters. The erase and restore brushes additionally allow you to selectively apply effects and filters.

instagram filters app

The app comes with little by little and video tutorials that walk you via applying and adjusting the effects. In no time, you’ll be making unique and dreamy Insta-art.

You may also skip the tutorials and only play around. It’s a fun one to discover!

These are only a few of the Instagram images editing tools out there. There are plenty more Instagram apps—for editing or otherwise—to find.

Now that you know the way to edit Instagram photos, the key is to search out a few apps that work for you and use them regularly to refine and enhance your posts. From there, you may build an inspiring and engaging Instagram presence, one stunning photo at a time. Trust us—your followers will notice.

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