Quite a few people have asked what I use to edit photos, so I thought I'd share some of my favorite apps. While I still use my desktop computer for most client work or bulk editing, I have found that I've been using my phone more and more for things like editing for Instagram or shortcutting certain effects that would take much longer to do manually in Photoshop.
This is what I use for most of my photos. Many of the settings might sound familiar if you use other photo editing apps (highlights, shadows, exposure, temperature, saturation, clarity, etc.), but are broken down in ways that give you much more control and sensitivity over fine details. For example instead of being limited to just changing the overall saturation, you can actually control the hue, saturation, and luminance of a particular color in an image, such as only the blue tones. What really changed my life, though, are Lightroom presets. It's essentially like saving all of your go-to photo editing settings and being able to apply them to a new image with the push of a button. With Lightroom you can create your own presets or import presets that others have created. My personal favorites at the moment are Mandi Nelson's. Presets save so much time and are a great way to ensure consistency if you're editing multiple photos. Lightroom on the app store may look deceiving because it's a free download, but you do need an active Creative Cloud account to log in. If you don't have an existing account, I believe it's a subscription fee of $9.99/month for the Lightroom & Photoshop package, which is quite expensive unless you're going to use those apps a lot. Like a lot, a lot.
If you can't swing Lightroom, Afterlight is a solid runner up. I have the original app from a few years ago, which appears to be no longer available. Instead they've since released Afterlight 2 ($2.99), which has been described as a complete overhaul and looks like it has some pretty cool new features like selective color editing, double exposure, and color shift. What originally drew me to Afterlight were the wider range of filter options (back when Instagram was more limited) and interesting film/dust textures.
If you've been wondering how people on Instagram Stories have been creating those layouts (you know what I'm talking about), they've probably been using this app. Unfold is free to download — though there are some additional layout packs that you need to pay to access. I'll be honest though, I mainly downloaded the app because I was interested in the vintage film layouts and wanted to use them as design elements outside of Instagram Stories (see the Charleston City Guide or July Journal).
This app was a spontaneous free download that I ended up really liking. I was looking for something that would emulate the look of old film and came across Lomograph. It's pretty basic — there are a few different filters and you can tap through for slight variations on each. You can't really customize settings beyond that, but not too bad for a free app!
I actually discovered this app for work — a client needed to create watercolor images but didn't have the time or resources to do the real thing. Waterlogue may be on the pricier side at $4.99, but their watercolor renditions are pretty good considering it's all digitally generated. I could seriously spend all day importing images and watching them transform.