My Top 3 Must Have Photo Editing Apps

I love taking photos with my cellphone. I equally love taking photos with my “big” camera, but sometimes my phone is the easier one to grab. Point at me and call it shameful, and I will shrug and say “eh, such is life.” 90% of the time I will double fist my phone and my camera. I love getting shots with both. I love to edit, so waiting until I can get to my computer, transfer my photos, then cull and edit, is like waiting for Christmas morning. This is where my photo apps step in.

I can’t help but notice the quality of cellphone photos has gotten extraordinarily better since the days of the Razr, or the first Blackberry. And with that, the amount of photo apps is overwhelming. Which is why I like to keep it simple, and have narrowed my photo apps down to 3.

I never post any of my photos to social media without some sort of edit. Even cell phone photos posted to my personal page always have an edit. I want my photos to look their best. Call it a quirk, call it the curse of the first-born. Perfectionism is in my blood, so sue me. lol. (please don’t sue me :) )

I’ve put together a quick review for each of my favorite FREE(I’m cheap) photo apps I use for my mobile editing. These are purely my apps of choice, and what works best for me! None of these reviews have been paid. I’m just in love with these apps!
*Click photos to view larger.*


So, let’s start with the app that everyone needs!

1. VCSO Cam. The best of the best for all your detailed editing! This is no lie. With all the photo editing apps I’ve gone through over the years, this one has everything I need within ONE app. With options like adjusting shadows, highlights, exposure, tint, temp, crop, rotate and more, you can pretty much fix any photo. Not to mention, enough customizable filters to make your photos look their best. Once you have this app, everything else is icing.

Here’s a shot of my niece I edited with VSCO. I was able to bring enough light back into her eyes on the B&W edit just by lightening the shadows.

Here’s a before and after shot of my neighbors kitty when we were babysitting. The intense back lighting was no match for the VSCO editing capabilities! With control over the highlights, I didn’t entirely lose the background when I lightened the image. I’m obsessed.
ranger I love this app so much. It can really make your mobile photos look like a million bucks if you tweak them just right.


2. White Balancer. Simplest app ever. Select your photo, and use the bar at the bottom to adjust your white balance. Done. A lot of my photos end up too warm when taken inside at night because of the lighting and surroundings in my home. This is the perfect app for getting the correct WB before putting your photo into your main editing app.

Here’s a shot of Ruby I took the other night. She is brown, my carpet and the dog bed are beige, and the energy efficient light bulbs we use cast a warm hue. Nightmare.
ruby I’m still amazed at how easy it is. 


3. Studio Design. For those who love to add beautiful text or shape overlays to photos, this is the app for you. Think of Instagram, but BETTER. It has your filters, and your square crop, and your ability to share to social media. But let’s dream bigger for a second. Add on the ability to add shapes, custom text, pre-made overlays, lines, borders, and you’ve got yourself a party! You can also “remix” other users photos by being able to take their overlays and apply them to your photos, and visa versa. danae I added my own text and slight filter to the first shot. I changed the second photo to B&W in app, and added a pre-made overlay. Oh, how I love simple.
Photography + Design = Love.


I realize Instagram isn’t on this list. Instagram is just not my thing. But I do love these above apps, and they’re the only ones I currently use. They do the trick for my perfectionist eye.

A few paid apps I’ve been eyeing… the pictapgo photo app from Totally Rad, which looks awesome! But I haven’t made that $1.99 commitment yet. Same with Afterlight. I’ve heard nothing but good things about these photo apps.

Share your favorite photo apps with me! Maybe I’m missing out on some greats?! I’m always up for new things.