9 Favorite Photo Editing Apps

Tired of lackluster, so-so photos on your phone? Here are 9 best photo editing apps for your phone that will take your mobile photography up a notch.

As you may know, I’m slight obsessed with Instagram. By far, it’s my favorite social media channel. I’m a visual person, and I love the way that pictures can tell a story.

The majority of the photos that I post to Instagram are yoga photos as part of yoga challenges, and it’s through those challenges that I’ve discovered some of my favorite photo editing apps. I try to keep most of my photo edits simple, but I have been known to spend 20-30 minutes playing around with a photo.

I’m often asked what apps I use to edit my photos so I thought that I would share there with you all.

Tired of lackluster, so-so photos on your phone? Here are 9 best photo editing apps for your phone that will take your mobile photography up a notch.

These are my 9 favorite photo editing apps, not counting Instagram of course:

ShakeCamera: I use the self-timer function on ShakeCamera all.the.time to take photos when I don’t have a willing photographer. It’s often a race – human vs. timer – which makes for interesting photo outtakes. You can set the number of seconds before the camera starts taking photos (from 3-15 seconds) as well as the number of photos to take (from 3-10 photos).

There are a number of self-timer apps out there, but this was the first one that I came across that worked well for me so I’ve stuck with it. And it’s free.

Tadaa: I usually start editing every photo in Tadaa. It’s a HD photo editor and has a lot of different functions. I use it to brighten the photo, adjust contrast and color saturation and add definition. I also use this app to blur the background in my photos. It also has a number of fun filters. Also free.

SnapSeed: I started using SnapSeed a few months ago and am in love with it. You can do all your regular editing with this app (crop, straighten, brighten, etc.) but there are a range of options available to manipulate your photos and really make you pictures pop. Drama adds just that – drama and definition to your photos. HDR Scape makes the photos really pop and adds texture and grain to the photo. Retrolux adds a vintage-y light and glow to the photos. Also free.

I use these first three apps on almost every photo that I post to Instagram, including the photo below. They are by far my favorite of the photo editing apps.

I took this photo using ShakeCamera. The photo was dark, and it was hard to see me. I used Tadaa to brighten the photo and then SnapSeed – Drama to make the bricks and columns more defined and then HDR Scape to add texture and additional brightness and color saturation to the photo.

crescent lunge

Over: This is my favorite photo app for adding text to photos. I like the variety of fonts available. It’s also easy to use and to find the fonts that I want. You can add multiple fonts and change the color of the font. With some of the other apps, I was overwhelmed by the choices. The app costs $1.99 but worth it for me.

I used the app to add text to the photo I posted on National Running Day.

national running day

ColorSplash: ColorSplash is a fun app. You can use it to selectively color certain areas of your photo while making the rest of your photo black and white like the photo below. It’s a cool effect to play with. The app costs $0.99.

For this photo, I first used Tadaa to brighten and sharpen the photo. I also used Tadaa to blur the background. Then, I used ColorSplash to selectively color my leggings.

mermaid pose

Eraser: Eraser lets you remove the background of any picture and maintain transparency. This app is free.

Superimpose: Superimpose lets you take one photo and superimpose it on top of a another. So, if you cut something out with the eraser app, you can place it into another picture. The app is $0.99.

Like the picture below. I was NOT crazy enough to do this pose while standing on top of a rocky ledge. I cut out my image from another photo and then placed it into this photo from Hawaii. The one trick is that the image that you cut out has to be about the size of what you want it to be in the final image. I also used SnapSeed here (do you see a theme?).

bound half moon

Picfx: I think that Picfx was the first photo app that I used regularly. There are a ton of great filters. The great thing is that you can stack filters on top of each other to get a richer effect. I especially love the bokeh effect and the space filters.

SloPro: I don’t often post videos to Instagram, but when I do, it’s a challenge to get everything down to 15 seconds. Thank goodness for SloPro. It will speed up your videos and, as its name suggests, it will also slow down your videos. There is a basic version that is free but I paid $3.99 for the upgrade because I often need to speed up my videos two separate times to get it down to 15 seconds. At least I’m pretty sure that’s  why I upgraded.

What’s your favorite photo editing app? Have you used any of these?


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    • says

      I don’t use anything really. I just try to prop it up against something and hope that the wind doesn’t blow it over (which is does…often). It’s probably not the safest way to go. Sometimes, if it’s a yoga photo, I’ll use my sneaker and prop my phone up in there. I’ve heard other people use heavy bottom glass which works if you’re at home.
      Christine Yu recently posted..9 Favorite Photo Editing AppsMy Profile

  1. says

    I use VSCO Cam like CRAZY. But it’s the photoshop-user in me that loves the control with all the adjustments. I usually pull it into that first, then if I need to add text, open it in Pic Lab.

    I love that you use multiple apps on a single shot… me too! I need to start playing with the timer one… something other than a selfie. LOL.
    Pavement Runner (@PavementRunner) recently posted..Running for PawsMy Profile

    • says

      ShakeCamera has worked fine for me and I don’t really have any complaints about it. I didn’t really think that people would think that I was actually standing on that ledge until I started seeing people’s comments! Then I started to feel badly that I was tricking people :-)
      Christine Yu recently posted..9 Favorite Photo Editing AppsMy Profile

  2. says

    going to check out every one of them.
    I’ll be back in a few hours (LOL) and I’ll ummm…see you on Instagram. 😉

    thank you for these, what a great review of all these great apps.
    Kir recently posted..PairedMy Profile

  3. surfmama101 says

    Awesome post Christine! I was seeking to download an app on my iPhone. Perfect timing! and I can see that Kelly is still in your heart and on your wallpaper 😉 Cheers from Cali!

  4. says

    OK. 1. I love you for this post. Like big, red, puffy heart kind of love!!! 2. I love your insta feed. Like LOVE. 3. I thought you were absolutely freakin nuts when you posted that picture on the rocky ledge. It blew my mind.

    I am heading off to download the apps but the real trick is actually using them.
    Tara Newman recently posted..Adrenal Fatigue: My StoryMy Profile

  5. Ellen says

    I appreciate the info as I am just getting started with photo submissions. Your directions and recommendations are especially clear for us newbies. Thank you so much.


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