Enhance Your Instagram: 7 Editing Apps to Know About

Ah the most frequently asked question on Instagram : "How do you edit your pictures??"

This is such a complicated question because there are SO many things that can go into editing an image. Sure, my easy response is typically "I use Jessica Vickers Photography Presets" BUT it's actually so much more detailed than that.

Before I even apply my preset, there are a few editing tips I use to enhance my image. Then, you can always add light effects, grain or a vintage filter; and when it comes to Instagram stories, there are even more fun things to do!

It has taken me over a year to discover these apps and learn how to apply different editing techniques in the most useful way. All the apps I will be discussing in this post are ones I personally use. I know there are TONS more out there, but these are the ones that I love and use regularly!

7 Editing Apps to Know About :

1. Facetune

I feel like this app gets a bad rap because you can alter the image in a negative way: i.e. changing your body size, face size, etc. I personally love this app for a completely different reason... it is GOLD for enhancing the look of an image!

Here is a before and after just using the Facetune app :

From the first image to the second, you can tell it has much "cooler" tones versus warm tones. Additionally, it looks sharper. Just editing the lighting, color and minor details of a photo using Facetune can make a major difference in my opinion.

This photo started off with great lighting, but when a photo is shot in less than ideal lighting, Facetune's "brightness" feature can transform an image.

Once I take a picture, I love to put it into Facetune first, from here I'll make adjustments to improve the image before adding my preset. With any adjustments you make on the app, you can decide how much you want applied by sliding the level at the bottom.

Facetune tools I love :

Smooth : I'll use the smooth tool on my skin ( I think it can make the photo look higher quality when I do this actually) or anything I want to look more even in texture ( like clothes that have wrinkles ).

Whitening : I love the whitening tool. I use it on so many things in my images: background, eyeballs, teeth, shoes, highlighter, etc. It's sooo good. I am definitely more of a "cool tones" girl so I love to whiten away!

Details : The “details” tool is amazing for jewelry, patterns on outfits and even eyelashes! Amazing for making something "pop" in an image or enhance.

Adjust : Then most of the time I will turn up the brightness and saturation.

Paying attention to the little details can really help bring the photo to life. Also, Facetune has some filters you can try out! I used to use Facetune filters before I purchase my current preset.

2. Unfold

I'm sure you've probably noticed neat little vintage filters starting to pop up on your IG feed. These are thanks to the "Unfold" app. It offers tons of filters for IG posts and stories. Once downloaded, you have to purchase the "FF1" filter to get the vintage and polaroid options, but it's only like a buck or 2. See below :

3. Afterlight

If you ever wondered how to edit an image to make it look grainy or dusty, your answer is Afterlight.

Use the "dusty" tool to filter the image to add grain / dust to any image if that's something you're interested in. I like to use it on images that seem kind of dull to give them a little something extra.

Additionally, you can use the "light leaks" tool to add a light flare to be extreme, or add subtle light to the sides of any image to brighten it up, again adjusting how much you want to add.

Photos using grain : ONETWOTHREE

Photos using light flare : ONETWO THREE

4. KiraKira+


I love using KiraKira for Instagram story videos, it makes anything even slightly shining sparkle like crazy and look super glam.

You basically just record in the app and it makes everything sparkle and look amazing. Then it saves to your images so you can upload it to stories. You can also take pictures using the app!

I've never posted a photo using this app before, but I love using it for video and adding it to my Instagram stories.

Here is a great example of it being used on Instagram in an image.

5. Lightroom CC Mobile

Most people are familiar with the desktop version of Lightroom, but this Lightroom Mobile app is pure gold.

Under "color" then "mix" you have complete creative freedom over the colors in any image. I'm not a huge green person, so I'll tone down green in an image and maybe enhance the blue or pink to make them come across better. It's also incredible for lighting, saturation, shadow, etc. You name it and this app has it.

This app is what just about every blogger uses to apply their presets on the go. I resisted the whole "preset" thing for a very long time, but trust me when I say it is well worth it. Finding the right preset that suits your vibe will totally transform your IG.

How to find the right preset for you :

I have a ton of favorite bloggers, but just because I like their vibe, doesn't mean it's my vibe, ya know? I found a few accounts that I really felt showcased the color scheme and vibe of my personal brand. I purchased the presets they use, tried them out on my images and found one preset that I truly feel represents me and my own personal vision.

6. Over

I use this app for all my graphic design needs. I recently downloaded it and just started using it more regularly. You can erase image backgrounds with your finger and overlay images and be a little graphic designer from your phone!

This is what I used to create the graphic for my newsletter and also this blog post. It takes a while to create a really neat graphic but this app gives you tons of creative freedom and is very easy to use.

7. Layout

This is great for putting images side-by-side without having a boarder between the images ( see Facetune image example above ).

These are the only apps I use!

I’m sure there are plenty more awesome ones out there but these are my go-to. Unfold & KiraKira for stories ( even posts ), and Facetune, Lightroom and sometimes Afterlight or Layout for posts! Then Over to create more unique pieces for stories, my newsletter, blog, etc.

Hope this helps! If you having any specific questions at all, don’t hesitate to reach out : )

xo Caitlin

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