My Favorite Photography Apps + How I Edit Instagram Photos!

2 years ago

Hello lovely Luuuxers!

Some of my favorite apps to play with on my phone are for photo editing! I am by no means a good photographer, but with lots of different apps, you can make really cool looking pictures anyway! I thought I would come on here and share with you some of my favorites!

If you look at the second and third pictures of this blog post, you will be able to see the icons of the apps that I use. I will also give a little tutorial at the end of this post telling you how I created the first picture with some of these apps!


1. Snapseed
This app is a nice all-in-one photo editing app. Most of the fixes involve changing the color saturation and tones, sharpness, shadows and contrast, and things like that. The interface makes it extremely easy to adjust colors with the swipe of a finger. The thing that makes this app unique compared to other apps is the variety of filters and effects you can add. I also really like how you can adjust the blur of certain parts of the photo, and it allows for a lot of customization. Everything you could want to do with your photo, you`ll find it in Snapseed. Snapseed is FREE on the iTunes App store.

2. ABM (A Beautiful Mess)
This is such a fun app to add little doodles, text and borders to your photos! I love the whimsical designs that you can use, and the selection of fonts for adding text. They are all very girly and fun! You can adjust the opacity of all of the doodles and borders, which is nice for customizing your picture`s look. This app also has a few filters that you can use, and options for creating collages. Overall this is a really fun and girly app that I use all the time! (It`s a favorite for adding text onto my Luuux pictures too!) ABM is $0.99 on the iTunes App Store.

3. Real Bokeh
If you`ve ever seen picture with those cute little light reflections on it, that`s an effect called bokeh. I tend to use bokeh effects on my pictures a lot because I think they`re pretty! There are a lot of apps that can add bokeh to photos, but my favorite by far is RealBokeh because it allows you to customize the effect the most. You simply choose the shape of light you want to use, use your finger to swipe the lights wherever you want them, and then you can change the colors and opacity. You can also add really pretty filters and light leaks, which I use a lot. Real Bokeh is $0.99 on the iTunes App store.

4. Picfx
Picfx is yet another app that can add fun filters and effects. Although it sounds like it would be similar from the other apps I`ve talked about, but this one is special it it`s own way. The grunge and light effects that you can add are really pretty, I love the filters, and you can also add borders and things like that. This is another app that adds really pretty bokeh effects to pictures! Picfx is $1.99 on the iTunes App store.

5. After Focus
This app is really unique! Basically, it lets you customize the blurriness of the background and/or foreground of your picture, so that you can achieve a similar effect as a DSLR camera. You can use your finger to designate what part of your picture is the background and what is the foreground, and it automatically makes the background look slightly out of focus, which makes whatever you are photographing look a lot more focused and vibrant. This app is super user friendly and the effect it creates is really cool! After Focus is free on the iTunes App store.

6. Over
This is a simple app that allows you to put text on pictures. It is really easy to use and gives you a ton of fun fonts to use. It also lets you customize the size, opacity, and spacing of your words. I really like this app because it doesn`t add a watermark on your pictures when you edit them! Over is $1.99 on the iTunes App store.

7. VSCO Cam
Although I am listing this app 7th, this is actually my all-time favorite camera app! I am obsessed with VSCO Cam and how easily it lets you edit everything about your photos. And the filters are amazing and created with photographic quality in mind. I would say this app is the most `mature` of all of the ones I have--it seems like the effects are made to mimic a real camera and the effects are understated but completely stunning. The app comes with a few built in filters, but it allows you to purchase more, and this app is so amazing that I have actually bought some of the filter packs and I don`t regret it! VSCO Cam is free on the iTunes App store, with options to buy more filters

8. Insta Booth
This app reminds me of the Photo Booth app on MacBooks, but for your phone! It allows you to do all of the distortion and reflection effects, just like on the Macbook, but also lets you add the fun color effects. This is a really fun app for taking selfies and I love playing with it with my little cousins who love to make silly faces into my phone! Insta Booth is free on the iTunes App store, with options to purchase more color effects

9. Pic Stitch
There isn`t much to say about this app, other than it is awesome for making collages. You just add the pictures into the various collage layouts, and it lets you do some basic editing and color-adjusting before saving. I like how you can make the collages in several different aspect ratios! The app is super easy to use too, if you are okay with watching a few annoying ads every once in awhile. Pic Stitch is free on the iTunes App store.

10. Lumie
This is another bokeh app! This one, in contrast to the other bokeh apps, creates a sort of bokeh `overlay.` I don`t use this app often, but the effects it adds to pictures are so pretty so I hang onto it because I never know when it will come in handy! The app is super simple and easy to use, which is very nice. Lumie is $1.99 on the iTunes App store.

11. Mirror Camera
This app has a pretty straightforward purpose for me. I really can`t stand how the front-facing camera on the iPhone flips your picture around after you`ve taken it. If I`m taking a selfie or a group picture with that camera, I want it to turn out exactly how I see it in the preview! So I just stick it into this app and it flips it back around, so I can save it that way. Mirror Camera is free on the iTunes App store.

12. Squaready
I like using this app to re-size pictures so that I don`t have to crop them in Instagram! I think that`s the most annoying part of Instagram because you often end up losing a big part of the picture. This app resizes your photos so that they have a border around them, meaning that they still fit into the square shape but you don`t have to lose any part of the picture. It is super easy to use and really quick too! There are also a lot of re-sizing options, which is nice. Squaready is free on the iTunes App store.

That is the list of the photo editing apps I currently use! I know that some of them cost money, which stinks, but if you`re really into editing pictures like I am, then they are completely worth it! The only app that I wish I didn`t spend money on was Lumie, but that`s not to say that I don`t still like it. I`m just not sure if it was a necessary purchase.

Anyway, I will now give a quick tutorial on how I took and edited the picture that I featured with this blog post!

1. I took a picture of some tulips that were planted on the sidewalk on my way home from work. It was a beautiful day--the first day of the year that I didn`t have to wear a jacket!

2. I uploaded the picture first into VSCO Cam and applied a hazy filter, and used some of the editing tools to create the faded, sun drenched look that I wanted. I then saved this version into my Camera Roll.

3. I opened up the edited version of this photo into Real Bokeh, where I added a light leak to the top of the picture and adjusted the opacity so it was medium strength. I saved it to my Camera Roll once again.

4. I opened up the most recent edited picture in ABM and applied the heart border, sliding the opacity down to about halfway. I then went into the text tool in this same app and added the words `hello spring` using the font Tall-n-Skinny. Once again, I saved it to my Camera Roll.

5. I went back to my Camera Roll and deleted the intermediate pictures, saving just the final product.

With all of these photo apps, the possibilities are really endless for what you can create. I am always amazed at how powerful the iPhone camera is, and the quality of pictures it takes. Furthermore, these apps always bring out the absolute best in iPhone photography. I hope this list of my favorites was helpful to all of you!

Are any of these apps favorites of yours? Are there some that you want to try? Let me know in the comments below!


(images are all mine, taken originally by me and exclusive to

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