Maintaining a strong social media presence is crucial in today's digital world. However, posting just anything on your accounts is not enough. Take Instagram, for example: running a profile filled with low-quality photos will aesthetically displease your consumers and could even hurt your credibility as a brand. On the other hand, posting professional-looking photos to your social media accounts and website is a surefire way to gain a following.
You don't need to be a trained photographer with expensive equipment to up your photo-editing skills; all you need is a smartphone or device with a decent camera and these great (and affordable) apps.
VSCO – or Visual Supply Company – is arguably one of the most popular photo editing apps. Small businesses can use the platform, which lets users create a profile and share photos, to increase their online presence.
In terms of editing, VSCO provides a range of filters and basic editing capabilities such as exposure, contrast, saturation, temperature and fade. The editing control allows you to transform photos into engaging content.
The VSCO community provides users with a marketplace of ideas. You can follow other users and plan content that reflects major photo trends. VSCO is available for both iOS and Android, and it syncs across multiple devices, so you can edit photos from anywhere. VSCO's free version includes 10 presets, basic editing tools, the ability to explore other photos and share photos.
Users can also pay $19.99 per year for a VSCO membership, which includes more than 170 presets, advanced editing tools and inspiring tips and tricks.
One of the main highlights of TouchRetouch is its ability to remove unwanted items from your photos. Everyone has experienced this – you line up the perfect shot, only to see a trashcan or group of people obscuring your shot. TouchRetouch can be used to remove these objects, presenting the subject of your shot as you want it to be seen.
With TouchRetouch, you can remove things like shadows, people, buildings, wires, spots in the sky, shadows and more. You don't even have to do any work– simply highlight an area with your finger and tap Go. This app can be used for perfecting other elements of your photos as well. You can use the clone stamp tool to fill in any gaps, duplicate elements or match backgrounds. The app also comes with some tutorials, so you can learn how to use the program and understand different guidelines for photo editing. TouchRetouch is available for both Android and iOS, and is $1.99.
Snapseed is a Google product that comes with a wide range of tools for creating professional-looking photos. It offers more than 25 tools and filters for editing photos, including healing, brush, HDR and perspective tools. These tools give the power of precise editing. The brush tool, for example, can be used to edit a specific object or area of a photo instead of the entire frame. Users can also save their personal filters and apply them to later photos, which allows for quick editing on similar photos for your small business.
If you don't have a lot of experience editing photos, Snapseed provides an Auto Correct feature that adjusts colors, exposure and contrast to make your photos sharper and more compelling. Other tools and features include, cropping, rotating and tuning, as well creating double exposure photos. Double exposure photos blend two images where the user can choose and edit blend modes. Snapseed is a free service that's available for Android and iOS.
4. Filterstorm Neue
Filterstorm Neue is an ideal app for business owners looking to do advanced photo editing. It comes packed with features for editing brightness and contrast, adding exposure, adjusting RGB and luminance curves, adding text, sharpening photos and blending colors. Users can also apply gradients and color channels using the masking tools. Another notable feature is its 10-step undo history, so if you make a mistake you can easily reverse whatever effects you've applied. Users can export photos to JPEG, TIFF or PNG.
While Filterstorm offers numerous editing tools, it doesn't integrate directly with social media, so you'll have to save them and upload them separately. Filterstorm Neue is available for $3.99 on iOS devices.
Mextures allows users to apply textures, light leaks and gradients to your images. It has a non-destructive workflow, so you can adjust and edit photos at any stage of the editing process and not worry about your file's quality diminishing. Mextures is ideal for more creative business owners looking to create engaging, heavily edited photos. The app includes a robust list of services, including more than 150 textures, the ability to stack infinite filter layers and many standard editing tools, such as exposure, contrast and tint tools.
You can save an edit your own formulas, so it's easy to apply the same mixture of adjustments to multiple photos. Mextures also offers an inspiration feed, so you can curate and view photos for developing new ideas. The app also provides the option to instantly connect with photographers in the inspiration feed on Instagram. Mextures is available for $1.99 on iTunes, and requires some in-app purchases to use certain features.
6. Adobe Photoshop Express
Adobe Photoshop Express is the mobile version of Photoshop, Adobe's flagship photo editing software. Unlike Photoshop, however, Express is a free service. In addition to standard editing and photo adjustment tools like cropping, auto-fixing and brush tools, Photoshop Express can be used to add text to images. This feature allows you to overlay text over your images, so you can create memes, issue announcements or include company information on your photos.
Photoshop Express also comes with other features, such as editing photos in raw formats, saving your own formulas, resizing and blending images. Adobe Photoshop express is available on both iOS and Android devices for free.
Camera+ is an ideal app for business owners looking to shoot and edit photos in one complete program. Camera+ provides a few advanced shooting modes, like stabilization for capturing sharp photos and burst for taking rapid action shots. After you've taken a photo using Camera+, you can edit it directly in the app. The program includes basic editing features, like cropping, adding borders and applying captions. Camera+ also includes so more advanced features as well, like clarity, scene modes and lightbox. Clarity is a tool that analyzes your photos and enhances them, while scene modes and lightbox can be used to capture photos in the right light and select which ones you want to keep and delete immediately after taking them.
Camera+ also comes with built-in social media integrations, so you can quickly upload a photo to Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. It also syncs with iCloud, so you can use Camera+ to edit photos on any iOS device. Camera+ is available for $2.99 on iPhone and $4.99 on iPad.
Superimpose is ideal for business owners looking to create professional-grade photos where multiple images are overlaid and blended together. Users can easily blend two images, smooth edges with smooth tools, add masks or mask out different portions of an image, and adjust the color, exposure, contrast or saturation of both images. This app includes move, scale, resize, rotate and flip tools in addition to blending tools.
This app is a simpler, mobile alternative to working with layers in Adobe's Photoshop – users can easily superimpose and image on top of another, and adjustments can be made on the fly without advanced knowledge of masks or image blending. This app's focus is blending images, but it provides other tools to edit existing photos as well. Superimpose is available on iOS devices for $1.99 and Android devices for $0.99.
9. A Color Story
With more than 8 million installs, A Color Story is another popular photo editing application. This app is perfect for business owners hoping to create fresh photos and videos with colors that pop. Along with basic editing functions such as cropping photos, A Color Story has more than 100 filers available. Once you finish editing your photo, you can save them to a grid and start to edit others. This is helpful for small businesses who want to create a cohesive grid on social media.
While a lot of filters and features are free to use, there are a range of filter packs available for in-app purchasing. A Color Story is available on iOS and Android devices.
10. Afterlight 2
Afterlight 2 is great for both new and advanced photo editors. Users with advanced skills can use its tools to change curves, selective hues and saturation, and tone. Other tools include the option to add overlays, frames, artwork and text. Photo editing basics such as typical color, exposure, sharpness and crop tools are available. Beginners can also benefit from Afterlight 2 because of its regularly updated list of filters.
Afterlight 2 is available on iOS, but only basic Afterlight is available for Android devices.
Additional reporting by Sara Angeles and Matt D'Angelo.