Favorite Photo Editing Apps & Filters

Lady by the Bay - Mobile Photography - Favorite Apps & Filters

For most of us our phones have become our camera. The quality of the cameras in phones today is so good that it allows us to capture great images on the go without lugging around a full size camera. And of course we want to make our images look their best, so we turn to photo editing apps. There are so many out there though and it can take quite a bit of time to try them out and find which ones work well and that really are worth having and taking up valuable space on our phone.

I get asked quite often what apps and/or filters I use on photos that I post on Instagram. I love the look and feel of soft tones, pastels, vintage tones, film and faded images. I have a handful of apps that I use to achieve this look, that I've used the heck out of and can't live without, and I'd like to share them here with you, along with a few tips for using them to help you achieve the look you want in your images.


To adjust exposure, shadows/highlights, straighten or crop and sharpen my images, I always turn to Snapseed. This is the first app I go to when I need to edit a photo. There is no better app, in my opinion, with as much functionality for tuning your image just right.

Lady by the Bay - Mobile Photography - Favorite Apps & FiltersLady by the Bay - Mobile Photography - Favorite Apps & Filters

Now onto being creative with your photos. Here are some apps with some pretty awesome filters.


Lady by the Bay - Mobile Photography - Favorite Apps & Filters

I love using Hipstamatic for flower and sky shots because I usually stick to one lens and that would be Adler9009. Adler is the perfect lens for making the sky that pretty, "vintagey", aqua pastel tone. I get asked all. the. time. what I used whenever I post a photo like the one above. Give it a try and you'll see what I mean.

And if you have an image you've already taken that you'd like to be able to apply the Hipstamatic lens/film effects to, you can use Oggl for editing those shots.


Lady by the Bay - Mobile Photography - Favorite Apps & Filters

Lady by the Bay - Mobile Photography - Favorite Apps & Filters
Ahh, Mextures... This is one of my very favorite apps when I want to add warm sunlight or glow to my images. There are oodles of filters in this app, from enhancers to light leaks to destroyed film. It can be a little overwhelming at first, but once you start playing around with it you can get lost in the creativity. It's really great because you use layers and can adjust each individual layer, and even move them around in a different order of layering. It reminds me a lot of Photoshop layers. And what's also great with this app is that there are tons of preset formulas created by other photographers that you can use as a base for your photo, or just leave as is. The app allows you to see your image as it would look with each formula as you go along. Sunflower and Sunfelt are my favorite light leaks and create a beautiful warm glow. Polaroid is my favorite vintage gradient and I use it often to get that, well, Polaroid look. ;)


Lady by the Bay - Mobile Photography - Favorite Apps & Filters

 Lady by the Bay - Mobile Photography - Favorite Apps & Filters

VSCO Cam gives your photos that lovely film look. Some of my favorite presets are F2 and S1, which give a soft tone to your images, and I love the 'fade' option. I may even edit a photo in another app and then bring it into VSCO Cam just to add the fade. Another thing that's great to use in this app is the shadow tint and the highlights tint. In the image above I added a slight green tint to the highlights which gave it a more vintage feel.


Lady by the Bay - Mobile Photography - Favorite Apps & Filters

EyeEm is more of a social photo app, like Instagram, but it has some really great filters that I can't live without. A few of them are Ailine (used in the above image), Vanilla and Gee09. They give my images that soft, pastel, faded look that I love so much. 

Rhonna Designs

Lady by the Bay - Mobile Photography - Favorite Apps & Filters
Lady by the Bay - Mobile Photography - Favorite Apps & Filters

Whenever you want to add text, quotes or beautiful hand drawn images to your photos then turn to the Rhonna Designs app. There are so many wonderful fonts to choose from as well as many quotes, doodles, and art. The possibilities are endless.

And on a side note, I edited the above image in VSCO Cam first and then added the quote in the Rhonna Designs app.

Some other apps that I have on my phone and I use occasionally are Faded and Afterlight. I don't use them often but I do like them and thought I'd mention them as well.

Finally, I'd like to add that to achieve a beautiful, realistic look in your images play with the opacity of the filters; don't use filters at 100%. Also, try using more than one filter. Treat them as if you were painting. To create the perfect, unique color you mix colors together. Try that with filters and you'll be amazed at how beautifully they will turn out.

I really hope this helps you with some ideas for apps to be more creative with your photos and enhance them to make them their best. And if you have any questions at all please leave them below and I'd be more than happy to answer them.

What are your favorite photo editing apps?

Until next time...

Lady by the Bay


  1. Thank you for writing this post. I've been slow to try out photo apps, as I've never been sure which ones to download. I will definitely be trying out Hipstamatic in the future.

    1. Oh you're welcome. And thank you for reading. I'm happy that it helped. You'll love Hipstamatic. :)


copyright notice

All images, text, and content on this site are the sole property of Dawn Regan/Lady By The Bay and may not be used, copied or transmitted without the express written consent of Dawn Regan. If you wish to link to this site or to a post from this site, please do, I encourage it! Just please give appropriate credit for content. Thank you!