The best mobile photo editing apps


Edited with A Color Story "Venice" and A Design Kit

The list of editing apps available goes on and on. Most photo editing apps on mobile do the same basic things with the ability to edit exposure, contrast, saturation, etc., but the ones that set themselves apart from the rest come with more robust editing capabilities that really help take your images to the next level and make your Instagram posts look awesome. To me, the best apps make it really easy to edit while having really great options for filters allowing for an added level of creativity. Below is my list for the best mobile editing apps that are either free, or relatively inexpensive. Check it:


  1. Snapseed -- Snapseed was probably the first editing app I downloaded after I finally knew enough to figure out there's a whole world of photo editing potential beyond Instagram filters (I still love you, Valencia.) Snapseed has an impressive number of "tools" including healing, selective editing, and curves, which is a huge step up from other applications. What's great is that it's free and pretty simple to use. One thing I don't love about the usability is the way the slider works to increase or decrease edits. It also relies on touch to switch between different features, something that took me a while to figure out, but it's probably just me.

  2. Afterlight 2 - I haven't used this app in a while, it used to just be Afterlight and I think it was like $1.99 when I first downloaded and used it. I really loved the cool color effects that you could use. My typical workflow for editing pictures on my phone was to fine tune the basics in Snapseed and then bring it into Afterlight and add some fun effects. It looks like Afterlight 2 has a lot more functionality than its predecessor that set it apart from other editors. The double exposure and selective color editing features look really cool. I'm excited to give it a try.

  3. A Color Story -- The amazing women of lifestyle brand, A Beautiful Mess, Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman created one of the coolest photo editing apps ever in 2016. As soon as I downloaded this one, I basically stopped using both Snapseed and Afterlight. ACS has all those basic editing functions that I need, but also tons of amazing filter collabs with some talented artists and the mobile version offers free and paid-for filter pack options. If you're cheap like me, it's rare for you to spend money on in-app purchases. However, I've purchased several of their filter packs, as well as the effect packs that they offer, which run around $1.99 - $3.99 (my most-used pack is Mood.) Beyond the editing capabilities, I just really like the usability of the app. It's beautifully designed and simple. Now they have a subscription option called ACS+, where you can use all the packs for $25 a year. I don't think I'll be doing that, but who knows. If it's not already abundantly clear how much I love ACS, there's a companion app with text and elements to create graphics out of your images called A Design Kit, which is also free with in-app purchase options. It's just really sleek and fun and it's what I used to make the title graphic of this blog post.

  4. Lightroom CC for mobile -- The fact that this is free is insane. While it doesn't have the same functionality of it's desktop companion, it still packs a lot of features that outperform other mobile editing applications. The other cool part is that it comes with presets and lots of people make presets to use on the mobile app, similarly to the way you can find them on the desktop version. One of the best parts about the full Lr desktop version is applying the same edits across a batch of images, which is a feature that they carried over into the mobile app. It also has a lot of the same organization options like flags and star ratings, too. I'm slowly becoming more comfortable with Lightroom CC, so I see myself utilizing the mobile version more frequently in the future.

What have you tried that you love? Do you like to jump around to different editors because nothing really satisfies your creative needs, or do you just like to change it up? I'm curious to know.

© 2020 Self-Obsessed Millennial Photography 

Bradenton, Florida

  • White Twitter Icon
  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Instagram Icon