5 Photo Editing Apps You Should Be Using By Now

November 3, 2016

We hear a lot of talk about “personal branding” and Instagramaesthetics,” but those buzz terms mean nothing to the average Instagram user. So, what’s the big deal with branding yourself on Instagram?

Apart from Snapchat, Instagram is undoubtedly the visual giant of social media. With its 500+ million active users, hashtags and tagging options it is difficult not to brand yourself on Instagram — even when you aren’t trying to. This harsh reality is why we’re here to give you a lesson on five apps you should be familiar with to stay hip and boost your Insta brand, baby.

We’ve hand-picked some of the most popular secondary apps used in conjunction with Instagram and will show you what they’re all about and how you can utilize these tools to “build your personal brand.”

Since we’re about all the fall things here at CBM, we used our office pumpkins as our aesthetically pleasing still life. Here’s the original photo.

These gourds are gourd-geous. Photo: Jennifer Faynberg. 


What is it? Professional. Very. 

Cost: Free

Best Features: A wide range of pseudo-professional filters which, when properly used, create the illusion that you’ve held a DSLR at least once in your life. VSCO allows for plenty of fun tweaks to be made to your photos and aids in creating the perfect desired vibe for imagery.

Notes: The only thing VSCO missed the mark on has to be a feature comparable to Afterlight’s light leak (see below). Nonetheless, it’s a 10/10.


What is it? Artsy-fartsy.

Cost: $0.99

Best Features: Light leaks, light leaks, light leaks. Afterlight is the only photo-editing tool which allows you to make your iPhone photos resemble tangible film photography. Whether you choose a subtle, dusty look or the intense appearance of damaged film, this feature alone makes the $0.99 worth it.

Notes: Afterlight wants you to pay up if you’re looking for a wider array of filters and editing options, so your choices are somewhat limited if you aren’t willing to dish out the cash.


What is it? Abstract and unique.

Cost: $0.99

Best Features: Glitché is unlike any other secondary photo-editing app. Along with creating an all-new photo, this app also offers the option of turning your image into a .gif. Abstract and tech-savvy, Glitché is ideal for the user who longs to drastically stick out from the crowd.

Notes: This tool is definitely not intuitive and takes quite a while to get used to. A major downside is that Glitché does not allow for a user to overlap multiple filters on top of one photo. Regardless, it is extremely fun to play around with and the end result is typically “rad.”


What is it? Just the right fit.

Cost: Free

Best Features: If you wish to put a fun background around your Instagram post, InstaSize is the way to go. The app was popularized when Instagram only permitted square images on their platform — InstaSize served to aid in posting full images with the user’s choice of framing device (white, black, floral, whatever your heart desires). InstaSize also offers a fairly large array of filters and editing options for the inexperienced Instagram user.

Notes: As of Instagram’s August 2015 update (which allows users to upload non-square images), InstaSize has become somewhat perfunctory. However, the tool still offers a hearty selection of photo-framing varieties and a number of editing options which rival those of the Instagram app itself. Grandpa InstaSize is still kickin’ it.


What is it? Horrible — in the best way.

Cost: Free

Best Features: GLTCH allows one’s inner vaporwave meme lord to truly shine. While filter options are remarkably limited and GLTCH does not offer the option of overlapping multiple filters, users can entertain themselves for hours by tapping away at a photo until they have created their ideally angst-ridden and #vibe-soaked image. Tip: You may also arguably save a photo and re-upload it in order to experiment with the concept of overlapping filters.

Notes: GLTCH is not incredibly user-friendly and takes some getting used to. The limited number of filters and editing options is also a major downside, as well as. Regardless, constructing vaporwave-esque imagery makes this app satisfying and entertaining to use.

Evidently, there are a lot of secondary apps for enhancing your social imagery game. Your favorite may depend on your attitude or what type of persona you wish to communicate to your audience. However, it’s crucial to note that a great photo-editing app isn’t the be-all and end-all for effective content.

Did we miss any of your favorite photo-editing tools? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter.