How to Edit Your Photos Like a Pro Top 4 Editing Apps

Portrain pic edited via Snapseed

There is a newly found trend among authors and artists that they want their photos to look professionally edited. The audience is also more attracted towards HD, VSCO-edited photos. And why not? After all, they are pretty to look at and visually satiating.

Every day, millions of Instagram and Pinterest users share photographs that are edited as though by a photographer. But are they? Maybe 50% or 60% but definitely not all. After all, on an average how many of us own a DSLR or have learnt photo editing skills? Then where do those photos come from?

Let me tell you this that editing a photo like professionals is no silver bullet. It’s easy and anyone can do it at home using their smartphones. All you need is a good camera, be it in your phone, point and shoot camera, or a DSLR. The applications listed below are available in both, Android and iOS platforms. Some of them are really popular. You can Google and click on any “Top Editing Apps” article and they’ll be mentioned.

Before learning about those applications and how to use them, let’s quickly know about some common terms in photography world.


By adjusting exposure you decide how much light you want in the photograph. Less exposure means darker effect (like at night) and more exposure means brighter effect (like that in the noon).


Saturation decides the intensity of the color. Lower the saturation and colors begin to fade out into a black and white effect. Increase the saturation and the colors become more vibrant.


Contrast is the tool you can use to direct the viewer’s attention to the subject. Increase contrast for a silhouette effect that helps subject stand out by creating sharp difference between high and low tones. Lower the contrast to blend the entire picture. This is helpful when you want it as a background image or for sheer visual effects.


Many photographs try to use this sharpness to create a make-believe HD quality. But actually, the tool is to amplify the little details in the photograph for a lifelike look. Experience photographers manipulate clarity of an image to allow a feeling of warmth or movement. This tool is helpful when you are shooting in low light or using grain effect.


[bctt tweet=”Many photographs try to use this sharpness to create a make-believe HD quality. But actually, the tool is to amplify the little details in the photograph for a lifelike look. ” username=”kaayafaye”]



Highlights are the brighter areas of a photographer. Many make the mistake of over-exposing the image in order to get better highlights but in the process, the photo loses details. It’s called burn out and does not seem very appealing.


Shadows are the darker areas of a photographer in which you can still see details. Shadows is different from darkness.

Both highlights and shadows help in recovering over- or underexposed areas of a photograph.

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Now that you know the basic vocabulary, let’s head to the list of 4 editing apps that I use. They work on both Android and iOS smartphones.


Snapseed – Free

This photo editing application offers multiple presets that you can use to give your photo a wonderful effect. Plus, it’s free of cost. Yay!

My favorite presets that I use very often are in Tools > Grainy Film > L02, X01, and X03.

If you have been following my blog, you will find many header images that are edited using these presets.

Snapseed lets you save the most applied edits so you don’t have to go into different tools, adjust the exposure, saturation, etc. Just one click and you are done.


VSCO – In-app purchases required

There’s much hype about this editing app already and it’s not for nothing that photographers seem to pay hefty amounts for it. With its 50+ presets, the VSCO app is truly addictive. It offers multiple possibilities of editing a single photo into many different styles – modern, sepia, vintage, polaroid. You can copy and paste these edits from one pic to another without having to remember all the steps.

If you look at my Instagram feed, I have used VSCO to edit all my latest pic posts.

You don’t have to buy presets unless you really need them. Just go to Pinterest and search for “VSCO coffee filter free” or “VSCO blue filter free” to find the best possible edit options for the photo you want to edit.



AppforType – In-app purchases required

This is relatively a newer find for me. I just came across this app from “suggestions” by Play Store and it was amazing. I had been looking for a satisfying text over photo app for a long time. This app does not offer presets or editing filters. It has stickers that you can use to personalize your photo, add quirky backgrounds, or fonts.

None of the sticker sets are too expensive either. You can afford the entire collection of this application. The only turn down is that after a recent update, the application requires you to purchase the fonts. In short, it no more offers anything for free.


PicsArt – In-app purchases required

Yet another photo editing app that tops the list of many related articles on Google. Recently PicsArt updated a vintage filter collection, which I use to edit my pictures. My personal favorites are VHS, 1994 and Drama. Unlimited choice of stickers let me personalize any image.


There are many artistic filters too but I don’t use them, mostly because I find they make the photo look overly done.


I hope the information helps you create amazing, Instagram-ready photographs. If I left something out or there’s a doubt, question, query – feel free to ask in the comment section.


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