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Instagram is definitely my favorite social platform, even before I started blogging. I love taking fun, creative photos and sharing them online. When I first started blogging, I focused on promoting Simply Amanda primarily through Instagram and to this day I still do — along with Pinterest.
Instagram is a wonderful way to grow your blog and biz online and to reach people around the world.
But it can be hard to set yourself apart from the millions of other accounts on it. You may have heard of different tips that can increase your following and engagement from so many people.
One of them is having an Instagram theme or “aesthetic.”
This can make a huge difference on whether or not someone will click “follow” on your page or not. Your first 9 photos make a lasting impression on someone when they land on your page so it’s important to make them count!
So what can you do to improve your insta game? To create an aesthetic for your brand, you need to curate your photos into a cohesive theme and use the same (or similar filters) on all them.
I’ve decided to compile a list of my favorite photo-editing apps that I use on my own Instagram photos. These apps will help you create killer Instagram photos to increase your following and build a theme for your account:
1. Afterlight – $0.99
Afterlight is my favorite app. It’s available for iPhone and Android and costs $0.99 to get. I love it because it has SO MANY filters to choose from. It has 74 filters that you can adjust the intensity of — which can make a huge difference on your photos.
It has 15 adjustment tools and 78 textures and presets.
You can add natural light, scratches, beams, borders, and so much more with this app.
And let’s say you chose a filter, tweaked the contrast and brightness and added a border.
You can actually save exactly what you did and with a click of a button add it onto any other photo without having to remember how much intensity you used for the filter or how bright you made the photo!
2. VSCO (free)
VSCO is an amazing app too. I personally found it to have a learning curve, but once you’re used to it you’ll see how many awesome features it has. It has both free and paid filters that you can choose from.
This app also allows you to copy the exact edits you make a photo and paste it to another so all your photos are edited the same way.
VSCO also offers an online community for you to share your photos if you’re into that. I’m not too big on that part. I mainly use the app to filter my photos and brighten them. My favorite feature is definitely the ability to copy and paste edits.
They have 10 filters which you can change the intensity of plus 19 adjustment tools. My go to filter on VSCO is always C1 / Chromatic!
The photo below was straightened and edited with VSCO’s Chromatic filter:
Next up is BeFunky. This app is cool. It has lots of different filters to pick from like many photo editing apps, however, you can touch up photos, add effects, text, overlays, frames and more. This app has a lot more to offer than just regular apps for editing.
With this app, you don’t need Photoshop.
This app is your best bet if you know nothing about working with editing programs on your computer because you can remove acne, whiten teeth, smooth wrinkles, and remove spots of flash with the touch of a button. It does a lot for a free app and I highly recommend it.
It has cool effects like Pop Art and HolgaArt, plus you can add clipart and stickers to your images!
4. Snapseed (free)
Snapseed is also a really great free photo editing app to make your photos stand out on social media. It has all the basic editing adjustment tools but also has things like blur effect, grainy film, vintage and grunge filters.
It has a white balance tool and spot healing tool which you can’t find on a lot of free apps.
The white balance tool is amazing because it brightens up the whole image and corrects any tones that may be too orange. You can crop, rotate, straighten, correct perspectives of images which is really neat. Plus you can add textures!
5. A Beautiful Mess – $0.99
I love this app! A Beautiful Mess is a paid app that is perfect for adding super cute whimsical quotes and frames. In the basic version, you can add doodles, backgrounds, and borders.
It has about 20+ filters in the app so you can edit it and add overlays and phrases all in one place.
There are some additional purchases that you can add on such as font packs, more borders, and quotes.
The filter tool allows for easy adjustment of contrast and brightness, plus each filter comes with sliders to adjust opacity too! It’s super simple to use and is one of my favorites when it comes to making fun images.These 7 photo editing apps will help you create killer Instagram photos! Click To Tweet
6. Phonto (free)
Phonto is great for adding text like signatures to your photos or shapes. I mainly use this app to add my signature watermark to my photos to avoid issues with people stealing images online. It does have some filters but isn’t my go to for that.
I filter my photos using any of the apps above then use this one to add shapes and text because it has a lot of options for gorgeous fonts!
You can add drop shadows to the fonts and patterns which are really fun. I use it also to create photos for my giveaways where I can add in the hashtags for people to use.
Whatever reason you need to add text to photos, Phonto is your best bet!
I added my signature and a white border to this photo:
7. Instagram (free)
Ah, Instagram. Good old fashioned Instagram will get the job done for you easily too.
I’m sure you know that! Most of the time, after editing my photos on other apps I tweak them with Instagram filters and adjustments before letting them go live.
I love using their temperature tool and the Clarendon filter with low intensity.
Instagram has amazing editing features as well so don’t overlook them! They can add the perfect finishing touch to any photo.
BONUS #8: Adobe Lightroom CC – $9.99/month
Since writing this post, I’ve switched over to the AMAZING Adobe Lightroom CC and it is absolutely incredible.
This program is no joke. It has really transformed my feed because now I have more control over my photo editing!
Lightroom is a computer program that is by subscription of $9.99/month, however, you can get the app on your phone and still edit directly with your phone instead of on the computer.
This program is so worth it and has really helped me stick to a consistent Instagram theme by using Lightroom presets (kind of like filters!)
You can make your own filters or purchase a set from some of your favorite bloggers and instagrammers!
Here’s a look at what my theme looks like now vs. what it looked like before I started using Lightroom:
You can check out Lightroom CC here: