Fact: Your Instagram arsenal isn’t complete without a good Instagram photo editor app.
Also Fact: There are a lot of great photo editing apps out there. So many that it’s really hard to choose which one will work for you. I know firsthand… I have 17 editing apps on my phone, and I’m still experimenting with new ones in the name of Instagram research!
Don’t worry, you don’t need 17 apps – or even three! There’s probably one app out there that can help you edit your Instagram photos to perfection.
And that’s what this article is for!
Not only are we rounding up a list of our five recommended Instagram editors, but we’re also giving you personalized suggestions based on your editing experience, preferences, and feed goals.
It couldn’t be easier! Just take the quick quiz below to be matched with one of our five recommendations. Then, scroll down to learn about the app and why it’s a perfect fit for you!
Which Instagram Photo Editor Is Right For You?
Whether you’re looking to make an attractive Instagram profile, advertise your business, boost engagement on posts or just make some minor photo touch-ups, you’ll find your perfect Instagram photo editor below.
Plus you’ll gain some valuable insights about your Instagram style in the process!
1. Adobe Lightroom
- Medium to Expert photo editing experience
- Quick edits on the go
- Editing photos from multiple devices
- Instagram presets
Adobe Lightroom is one of the top Instagram photo editor apps available today, and no list would be complete without it!
Both professional photographers and total amateurs alike use this free mobile app to spruce up their photos with expert editing tools delivered in easy-to-understand UX.
Here’s what makes Adobe Lightroom so great:
- Professional Presets – Most presets for sale on the web are made in Lightroom. You’ll need the app to use them, but once installed they’re a breeze to use. Just apply a saved preset with a tap for one-step editing!
- Easy UX for Beginners and Pros – Beginners and experts alike can use Lightroom editing tools with ease. For example, you can adjust the exposure with sliding bars, or use more advanced Light curves to edit exposure with precision!
- Editing with Selective Brushes – Need to lighten just one portion of your image? No worries! With Lightroom’s selective editing tool, you can pinpoint just a portion of the image with a brush and edit away.
- Instagram Integration – A key reason Lightroom is one of our top Instagram photo editor apps is the ability to export your edit to Instagram. This enables you to capture, edit and post on the go!
- Beginner to Intermediate photo editing experience
- Fast edits with distinctive filters
- Adding texture, fade, and stylistic edits to photos
VSCO has become a household name on social media, and that alone suggests it may be the best Instagram photo editor out there!
After all, how many photo editing apps have an entire subculture of social media style named after them? Only one: VSCO.
If your epic Instagram theme is driven by an overall mood, style and aesthetic, VSCO is a perfect choice for your Instagram feed. Here’s why:
- Dozens of Filters – VSCO has dozens of filters loaded into the app, with new ones added all the time. Plus, VSCO scans your uploaded photo and recommends at least 6 filters tailored to your specific image.
- Easy-to-use Editing Tools – On top of an enormous library of filters, VSCO has a full editing suite. You have the basics like exposure, contrast, and brightness. You also have access to advanced features to skin tone balancing, selective color edits, and fading/ texture.
- Built-in Social Platform – Although VSCO gained fame as a photo-editing app, it’s also an entire social media platform. Add favorite photos to your gallery, create journal entries and curate your favorite content with the Collections feature!
- Free VSCO Preset Recipes – Want the option to use Presets, but don’t want to pay for them? Just Google VSCO filters (or search on Pinterest!) to find thousands of user-created recipes. Save your favorites and instantly edit your photos with one tap!
- Medium to expert editing experience
- Primarily iPhone photographers (or other Smartphones)
- Batch edits to be scheduled to Instagram over time
Snapseed has been making waves since 2012 when Google famously acquired the pro-level editing program. While they were at it, Google also slashed the price from $4.99 to absolutely free.
With a full, hyper-precise suite of editing tools, editing styles and filters, Snapseed is considered one of the best photo editors for an Instagram feed.
That does come with a price however – Snapseed is not as easy to navigate and learn as other apps on the list. To get the full value of it’s editing power, you’ll have to prepare yourself for a bit of a learning curve.
Relying on tutorials and making time to learn each feature has a payoff, however. Snapseed offers amazing features like:
- Varied editing styles to add texture or highlight certain aspects of your photo (like Grunge, Vintage, Glamour Glow or Face Enhance)Add HDR effect to non-HDR photos
- Advanced lens and correction features like Lens Blur (to soften backgrounds for portrait enhancement) or Add HDR.
- One of the best selective retouching interfaces that exist in-app, allowing you to select multiple parts of an image and edit.
- Correcting poses of your portraits with Face Pose (it uses three-dimensional models to make the corrections!)
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Snapseed is the most advanced photo editor on this list, and your efforts to learn your way around it will pay off.
Keep in mind that this app is best for organized Instagrammers and businesses.
There isn’t an Instagram integration in the tool, which means your best workflow will be batch editing and pulling down those images to load into your favorite Instagram scheduler (like Tailwind’s publishing tool!)
4. A Color Story
- Beginner and intermediate editing experience
- Using creative effects in their edits (doodles, light flares, texture, etc.)
- Highlighting vibrant or distinctive color palettes or moods
Although A Color Story is a fairly new app, it packs a serious punch. Launching in 2016, this social media photo editing app has already snagged ‘Best New App’ awards on major platforms. Here’s why:
- Limited-edition filter packs designed by pro photographers and influencers. If using user-created recipes on VSCO seems hit-or-miss (true story, it is!) you can trust the preset packs on A Color Story. Some are free, and some only cost a few bucks, but they’re designed by professionals who get it.
- Precise- touch editing and 20 correcting options. A Color Story isn’t just about pretty light flares and vibrant filters. There are over 20 tools available to edit your image, from adjusting brightness to saturation and more!
- 120+ movable light and image effects perfect for the playful ‘Grammer. If you express your creative side with dreamy light leaks, bokeh, this one is for you. You can add a light effect, adjust the intensity, and move around and rotate it on your image.
- Save your custom filters and edits as you go to make your own custom presets! Add filters, adjust the intensity and layer more on top of your image. Like what you’ve created? Save it, and boom – you have an easy-access preset for all your images.
If you love to doodle, A Color Story has a sister app called A Design Kit that allows you to resize your images for multiple platforms, add effects, stickers, doodles, and text!
5. FaceTune 2
- Any editing experience level
- Posting selfies, portraits, and pictures of people!
- Keeping it cute while not worrying too much about color, mood and aesthetics
FaceTune… you love to hate it, hate to love it, am I right?
While this app inspires some controversy and even fear of ending up as a #photoshopfail, I recommend you try it out.
My stance is: less is more when retouching photos of yourself and other people, but let’s not kid ourselves. We all have things about ourselves we don’t like to see in photos and might be self- conscious about.
For example, I have keratosis pilaris on my neck and arms, and a little swipe of the softening brush on that texture is usually the difference between me posting a fun photo or being radio silent on social.
You should always be working towards loving your body and loving yourself unconditionally, but if a little swoosh of the healing brush until you get there makes you feel confident, radiant and beautiful, I say do it.
It’s your life, and more importantly, your Instagram!
Anywhoo, Facetune 2 isn’t just about photoshopping your selfies. It packs a surprising array of editing tools and filters to make your photos stand out, like:
- Fun and funky editing effects like background removal and replacement, glitter and makeup brushes, prism effects and neon filters.
- Pro retouching features that don’t take precious time to use. Have you ever tried to contour a jaw in Photoshop? No, honey. One swipe of your finger will help you whiten teeth, smooth skin, contour and reshape. Plus you can adjust the intensity with ease!
- A relighting tool that acts as a magic ring-light. You can move it around a face or object in your image to magically brighten and cast shadows as if a ring-light was right by you in the picture. So cool!
- A Suite of flattering image filters. Facetune wouldn’t be one of the top Instagram photo editor apps in the world if it didn’t have a tidy collection of ready-to-go filters built-in. You can snap, edit, filter and post in a matter of minutes. So cool!
Check Out Our Photography Webinar For More Tips!
If all this talk about editing apps, effects and lighting has you overwhelmed… don’t worry, we have ANOTHER cool resource for you!
The Tailwind team recently joined up with Kayla Marie Butler of Ivory Mix to create a FREE one-hour webinar! In our Smartphone Photography Pro course, you’ll learn:
- How to work with lighting for the best social media photos ever
- Framing, angle, and composition tips that you’ll never forget
- Step-by-step final editing in an Instagram photo editing app (Lightroom is our example!) to correct poor lighting and color
And a ton of other tips! You’ll leave the webinar ready to step up your smartphone photography game… and the best part is it’s FREE!
Click below to view our webinar. You can thank us later!
Start Scheduling Your New and Improved Instagram Posts
Now that you’ve snagged your dream photo editing app, make sure you have a handy tool to schedule all your beautiful photos with! Tailwind’s publishing tool allows you to:
- Upload your beautifully edited images right into your Drafts from mobile
- Pen the perfect caption and find the best hashtags (ranked by competitiveness!)
- Visually plan your feed by seeing all your posts together in our 9-grid preview tool
- Schedule at the best times based on your unique engagement history
- Auto Post your images to your feed so you can set them and forget them!
Want a free trial to check it out? Sign up with Tailwind for Instagram today for a 30-post trial and access to all our scheduling tools, insights and more – no credit card required!