Capturing that perfect gram-worthy pic is an art, but some of the most masterful work is done after the photo is taken. For all our fellow Instagram artists out there, we’ve rounded up the best Instagram photo and video editing apps for 2022.
All of the following editing apps have a standard free version, and some of them have “Premium” or “Pro” upgrades that unlock more great features.
In the spirit of the visual platform, we’ve shown examples for each one in action. We tested them all out on a photo of a dog eating a banana—which is already pretty engaging.
The Best Instagram Photo Editing Apps
Here are the best free Instagram apps for editing great photos on your phone.
VSCO is a minimalist social media platform of its own. There are no follower counts, comments, or ads. However, it’s also a simple photo editing app to use. It has about 20 free photo presets and standard editing tools (brightness, contrast, saturation, grain, all that great stuff). You can edit photos in the app and then save them to your Camera Roll for Instagram posting.
The paid version of VSCO, called VSCO Membership, costs $20 a year. It provides you with over 200 photo presets, advanced photo editing tools, and helpful tips for members.
Darkroom got a 2020 Apple Design award for its innovation.
You can “favorite” and delete images from your Camera Roll directly within the app. There are 12 available photo filters in the free version. Moreover, you can also save your own custom presets.
Darkroom Plus gets premium filters, a curves tool, flag and reject, and 4K video editing. It’s $6 monthly or $62 annually, they even have a “forever” membership for $69.
This photo editor app is great for more advanced users (a background in Photoshop is, of course, an asset). However, it’s navigable for beginners.
Photoshop Express was specifically designed for use on your phone. The app has retouching, enhancing, and all that good Photoshop stuff, plus themes, stickers, and overlays.
There’s also a smart healing tool—it took two seconds to complete a very rudimentary erase of the tree on the right side of this photo (you’ll notice the fence looks a bit funky).
If you’re a newbie in this app, there’s a great how-to page for getting information to start.
Photoshop Express is free to download and use. The premium version provides you with multiple layers, auto selection, selective editing, and advanced healing (you know, for fixing fences). It’s $47 a year.
Snapseed is an excellent free photo and video editing app for beginners. It includes standard filters, basic photo editing tools, and a very easy user experience, but a little more advanced than Instagram’s in-app editing.
The app provides a handy tutorial that walks beginners through how to use it step by step.
It’s totally free, so you won’t be inundated with flirtatious “Premium” or “Pro” ads.
When you use Hootsuite to schedule and plan your social media posts, you can edit photos within the app as well.
Focos is a free app that helps in the taking of photos, but you can use it to edit pictures after taking them, too
The app can re-focus portrait photos that have already been taken, create different lens effects, and simulate a quality of photo most commonly associated with DSLR cameras.
Its AI engine can automatically calculate the depth of field.
The ideal user of this app has some background knowledge in photography—the editing tools are geared towards people who understand things like aperture and bokeh.
Along with the standard filters and tools that most photo editing apps have, Lensa gives trendy effects and an adjustment tool that helps you to edit the foreground and background of the photo separately.
Lensa is free for 7 days. After the free trial, it’s $47 a year.
This app provides you with templates for different types of graphics, ranging from Instagram posts to posters to business cards.
Instagram-wise, Creative Cloud express is great for including text and effects to photos.
This app also has a large library of stock images, effects, and design elements for free and animation feature for creating more dynamic content.
Without paying, you can store up to 2GB of photos and videos in the cloud — and for $100 a year, you can resize photos, access to more stock images, one-tap branding, and 100 GB of storage.
Photoleap is a very intuitive app. It features a Quickart function that enables the user to choose from a variety of templates—for example, this color pop template:
The app also gives readymade graphics you can work with, plus the free standard photo editing tools that most photo editing apps have (cropping, adjusting brightness, filters, all that jazz).
Photoleap Pro is $11.49 a month, or a one-time purchase of $105. The Premium version includes access to their complete art and graphics library.
This app was made for selfie editing—there’s a “beauty magic” feature that can automatically change things like nose, chin, and the lip size, and recognize and erase dark circles and acne.
The app also has a one-tap makeup application tool for editing lips, blush, contour, mascara, etc. It’s great for images of faces and hair, but the “smooth” function also works on hand skin (look at the left side of the hand in the image below).
Airbrush Premium includes 120 filters, 20 makeup looks, and 25 retouching tools, all for $44 a year.