The Five Best (FREE!) Instagram-Editing Apps.

five best instagram editing apps

What started as an app that we all used to run filters over our pictures until they were almost indistinguishable and would then post to Facebook has become everyone’s favorite social channel… Instagram.  It serves as a photo album where we can save our favorite images and moments for safekeepeing and sharing and allows us to connect with friends and draw inspiration from strangers all over the world.

Since we all know and love Instagram, today I’m sharing my five favorite apps for editing my Instagram photos – I use nearly all (if not all) of these for each photo that I post – they’re my tried and true, ride or die apps 😉

1. Snapseed

The magic of Snapseed is the “selective” feature, which allows you to adjust brightness, contrast, and saturation for specific areas of your photo.  This feature is especially useful for photos with mixed light or where you really want to amp up certain colors for added effect.  I also really like the “vibrance” feature which really makes images pop.

2. A Color Story

The best app for filters for anyone who loves color and whimsy.  VSCO has always been too “moody” for me so it was like the heaven’s opened up when I heard about A Color Story.  Similar to VSCO, this app includes a few free filters and then there are additional “packs” available for purchase and all filters are adjustable.  My favorite packs are Blush, Airy, and Candy Minimal.

Update: I’ve come around to VSCO and now use it probably 75% of the time when editing my Instagram photos.  Depending on what the photo needs, sometimes I will run it through both ACS and VSCO but typically I stick to one or the other.  In VSCO, my favorite filters are A5, A6, NC, Q1, Q2, and Q5.

3. Afterlight

I get asked a lot how I add the white borders to my Instagram pictures and this is the app I use to do so.  It’s actually quite simple: once you’ve chosen your image, click on the icon of the square with a circle cutout on the far right, then click the same icon on the far left, then click the outlined square second from the left.  Use the sliding scale to adjust the border to your preference (I set mine at 15).  That’s it!  This app also has some really great free filters.

4. Flickr

This cloud app provides me easy access to my saved images from my computer.  After editing photos in Lightroom on my computer, I always save to my Flickr account.  It’s super simple to then download to my phone and apply any filters to post to Instagram in high-res and bonus, it acts as a backup just in case anything were to happen to my computer!


The absolute best app for previewing your Instagram feed.  If you are someone who obsesses over their feed looking cohesive or keeping to a “theme”, this app will be your best friend.  It allows you to play around by moving photos to different positions within the grid so that you can determine the best order for posting.  It even allows you to save your captions, schedule posts, and even offers analytics!  Did I mention it is free?!  Love this one.

Now tell me: what is your favorite Instagram editing app?!


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