top of page
  • Sambhavi Sinha

5 Amazing Photo Editing Apps to Up Your Instagram Game

What makes a good photograph? Is it a good camera? Technical know-how? An eye for composition? How do you emulate the photographs of the old masters like Henri Cartier-Bresson, or Imogen Cunningham?

There are so many little details that go into an image or photograph that really elevate it. Technology’s come a long way since photography began, so even though fancy equipment was required in 'ye olde' days, those effects and adjustments are available today to anyone with a smartphone. There’s a lot that goes into constructing a good photograph, which you can read about here if you’re into that kind of thing, but our topic for today is how you can create those effects even if you don’t quite know what you’re doing yet. Whatever kind of photo you’re working with, these apps have your back.

Developer - Google LLC

Snapseed is on this list because it’s a professional level tool available for free. While it may have features in common with other photo editing apps, the quality it provides is above most other free options available. If you want that crisp editorial feel, Snapseed is the way to go.

Special Features:

  • Perspective – Changes the angle or perspective of an image, and automatically and intuitively fills in the empty spaces created by warping the image, instead of zooming in as most other software do.

  • Lens Blur - Focuses on a particular part of the image, blurring outward from that point.

  • Healing - Blends the selected area with its surroundings.

  • Expand – Expand and enlarges an image beyond the edges of it by automatically and intuitively filling in the required space with details from the rest of the image.

  • Selective – Selects a particular point of an image from which the brightness, contrast, saturation and structure can be adjusted, radiating from that point.

  • HDR-scape – Increases the resolution of an image.

Pros – No Ads, no premium account required.

Cons – It does have a bit of a learning curve.

Because there are so many options and the UI isn’t intuitive, it can take some time to explore exactly what you can do with the app. That being said, the UI is clean and uncluttered despite all the features it provides.

Conclusion – Great for images that require less major editing and more fine-tuning.

Check out this YouTube Channel here to learn more about how to best use Snapseed.

Buy One Plus Nord 2 on Amazon HERE

Developer - PicsArt

PicsArt is also a free app, but it does have adds. This can get annoying, but the trade-off for the features it provides is worth it. It is one of the few free apps available that will allow you to cut and paste isolated areas of images together, somewhat like the magic wand tool in Photoshop. The fun you had collaging magazine cutouts and photos as a kid? PicsArt is the cleaner, digital version of that.

Special Features:

  • Cutout – Selects portions of an image to isolate. Options include manual selection, as well as intuitive selection of people, faces, clothes, sky, heads, hair, and backgrounds.

  • Stickers – A variety of sticker options rivaling that of instagram. Some of these are only available for premium users.

  • Retouch – Specifically for images of people and faces, this feature allows you to fine-tune a person’s features. The free options include Smoothening (an overall smoothening effect for skin), Face Fix (adjusting specific selected areas), Skin Tone, Hair, Eye Colour, Teeth Whitening, Detail (increasing the resolution of selected areas of an image), Reshape (adjusting body proportions) and Red Rye removal.

  • Add Photo – Allows the layering of images.

  • Brushes – A wide variety of pattern brushes, ranging from sparkles, to florals, to pixels, and everything in between. Other brushes include a marker pen, a Neon pen, and a dotted line pen, each with adjustable colour, opacity and size. This is a separate tool from the ‘draw’ feature, which requires the download of the PicsArt Colour App, also available for free.

  • Mask – Overlays on an image. Options include Dust, Shadow, Rainy, Ripple, Prism, Splash, Lights, Bokeh, Border, Artistic – and many, many others, most of which are free to use.

  • Lens Flare – Several options of lighting effects in various tones and forms. The colours, blending, opacity, and brightness are all adjustable.

  • Shape Mask – Various shape options that can be overlaid over other images. Background images and patterns are also available.

Pros – Unique features of very good quality. Very intuitive design, easy to use.

Cons – Ads.

A Gold membership is available for ₹649/year (₹54.08/month paid in a lump sum), and for ₹199 for 3 months.

Conclusion – This is the app to use if you want to create digital collages, add cool effects and filters, or otherwise creatively play with an image.

Find some tutorials on all the things you can do with PicsArt on their YouTube page here.

Buy One Plus Nord CE on Amazon HERE

Developer - vimage

VIMAGE is a free app, but it does have a Pro version as well. The main use out of this app is that it allows you to add simple animations and dynamic adjustments to photographs, creating live images. This includes animated stickers, selecting specific areas of the image to edit or animate, adding audio, and even text. VIMAGE takes your photographs from static images to living moments in time.

Special Features -

  • Effect – Multiple animated stickers to choose from. Unlike stickers on most other platforms, these are realistically rendered, including images such as flames, animals, butterflies, and many more. A lot of them are free.

  • 3D Camera – Isolates the foreground and background of an image, and add animation details such as blurs and ‘camera’ movement. The in-app AI, Ainiko automatically finds the edges in the image, but there is a manual selection option as well.

  • Camera Movement – Creates various kinds of panning effects for an image.

  • Magic Sky – Auto-selects the ‘sky’ portion of a landscape image, or any similar areas of other images, and adds cloud-like movement to it.

  • Flow – Creates movement in an image, typically for flowing water, but can be used in more creative ways as well. The ‘Flow’ and ‘Freeze’ options allow you to select which parts of the image you want flowing.

  • Audio – VIMAGE also has a set of free to use sound effects, ranging from ambient noises to vehicles. There is also the option to add custom sounds.

Pros – VERY unique features, most of which are free to use. Convenient and easy to use layout. No Ads!

Cons – Saved images are watermarked, which can only be removed with the Pro version.

Pro Version is available for ₹190/month, ₹1100.4/year (₹91.67/month paid in a lump sum), and ₹1900 for a lifetime subscription.

Conclusion – There’s a lot you can do with the free version of the app, especially if you’re creative about layering the different effects. Possibly the only app of its kind.

Vimage hasn’t yet picked up steam outside of East-Asia, so there aren’t a lot of (English) tutorials for it out there. That being said, the UI is intuitively designed and quite easy to figure out.

Buy One Plus Nord 9R on Amazon HERE

Developer - lensdistortions

Also a free app, though it does have a pro version – LD Unlimited. The free version allows you to add various kind of overlays and lens effects to an image, similar to PicsArt but with more variety and adjustability. Lighting is the key to creating good images; and now that key is yours.

Special Features -

  • Light Hits – Lens flare effects.

  • Overlays – Many different options for lighting and overlay effects, such as refraction, bokeh, eclipse effects, shimmers, fog, rain, and snow, all of which are adjustable.

Pros – Varied and specialised effects with more precision and adjustability than any other app provides at the moment. Images are exported with no watermarks. No Ads.

Cons – A fair few of the features are paid, including exporting images as PNGs.

LD Unlimited is available for ₹240/month, and ₹2100/year (₹175/month).

Conclusion – There's still a lot that can be done with the free version. Again, the level of adjustability it provides is unique to this app. Not a one-stop-shop, but very useful if you know exactly the kind of editing you want to be doing.

Again, Lens Distortion is an app that hasn’t yet become popular globally, so there are not a lot of tutorials for it. But, again, the UI is intuitively designed and quite simple to figure out.

5. Pixlr

Developer – Inmagine Lab

Pixlr is a free app with ads. Several of the features it has are common to most other image editing software such as filters and effects, and various other finetuning options, but it does have a few that set it apart. If indie aesthetic posts are your cup of tea, Pixlr is your one-stop-shop.

Special Features -

  • Collage – Pixler has various collage templates that are very easy to use.

  • Overlay – Various overlays, not limited to lighting effects. These include Metal, Paint, Neon lights, Scratches, Fire, and many others.

  • Stylize – Transforms the image from photographical to various other styles such as pencil sketching, watercolours, posters, litho, among others.

  • Borders and Stickers – Various border and sticker options, of which the borders are most unique to the app. Some of these are paid, but quite a few are free. Options include patterns, nature effects, several kinds of textures, ripped edges, fun frames, film reels, etc.

  • Templates – The app also has 28 templates in multiple styles. These range from collages, and magazine layouts to pamphlets and posters.

Pros – Several unique overlay and collaging options. UI is neat and uncluttered, easy to use, and clearly shows which options are paid vs. free.

Cons – A lot of options are only available through the paid membership. Has ads.

Premium Content is generally available for ₹2040/year. As of July 2021, there is a discounted payment plan that is ₹720 for the first year, and ₹1000 for the next year. 3 Day free trial.

Monthly subscriptions are available for ₹170/month, also with a 3 day free trial.

Conclusion – Great for creative collaging and graphical layouts.

Check out some tutorials on how to do cool things with Pixlr on their YouTube page here.

Think of these apps as a magic wand, and the features they provide are the spells you need. Now, go forth and transform your social media!

For more amazing content, feel free to follow Skyshot Media on Instagram, facebook, and youtube.


Written by Sambhavi Sinha, Content Writer at Skyshot Media.


bottom of page