The Best Photo Editing Apps You Didn't Know You Needed

modeled by Alina Jones; photographed by Ashley Armitage; modeled by Beija Flor; modeled by Claire Joko Fujimoto; modeled by Jessica Taylor; produced by Lorenna Gomez-Sanchez; produced by Megan Madden.
Nowadays, iPhone cameras are as good as any, but when it comes to photo-sharing, most rely on third party editing apps to give their photos that extra Instagram oomph. But there are a lot of options out there, and if the selection seems overwhelming, you're not alone.
So where to begin? Ahead, we rounded up the best photo-editing apps you can use to up your selfie game, take your nature photos up a notch, and overall transform your camera roll into a professional influencer's 'gram grid. Filters, colors, and effects, oh my!
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This app has a great offering of drawing and collage tools to take your photos to the next level. Either use one of hundreds of free in-app templates, or do your own thing and freestyle using a variety of brushes, layers, and other drawing tools.

Best For: The Collagist
Price: Free with in-app purchases
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This app has an easy-to-use interface with fewer frills than its competitors, which makes for a less intimidating experience for those who aren't super familiar with photo editing. It's easy to undo and redo all edits, which means you can mess around without worrying about ruining a photo for all of eternity. Great for both landscapes and portraits of people. It's as simple as scrolling through until you land on a filter you love!

Best For: The Editing Newbie
Price: Free
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In addition to all the standard fixings, this app allows users to create recipes and presets based on their personal editing aesthetic. Plus, there's a social component that connects photographers and a curated Discover feed of great photo inspo right there in the app. If you're looking for something more heavy-duty, there's also VSCO X, a paid membership with even more resources and tools. Using this app and its minimalist interface will make you feel like a legit creator.

Best For: The Editorial Photographer
Price: Free with optional in-app purchases, or $19.99/year for a VSCO X membership
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Afterlight 2

This one wins for coolest effects, and will straight up turn your photos into art with its selective hue, saturation, and lightness adjustments. It comes at one price including all add-ons, rather than charging for add-ons on an otherwise free app. With its Overlay feature, you can give your photo a prism effect, superimpose images together, or go for a vintage look with dust leaks. If you're after a dreamlike aesthetic, this app is for you.

Best For: The Digital Artist
Price: $2.99
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Polarr is great for a variety of skill levels: If you're a novice, you can rely on its auto-enhance tools to do the editing work for you, but if you're a pro, you can use one of the app's countless local and global adjustment options to tweak your photo exactly to your liking, with impressive detail and control.

Best For: The Group Photo Photographer
Price: Free, with in-app purchases
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A Color Story

If you're looking to make your photos pop, this app will be your new best friend. It comes with a great assortment of free filters that will make even the dullest photo stand out, though you'll have to shell out a few bucks for any of the add-on filter collections. Each filter comes with a recommended use: i.e. lifestyle and beauty images, portraits, or fashion photos. Also, A Color Story's Instagram page is just, well, beautiful.

Best For: The Color Aficionado
Price: Free with in-app purchases, which you will likely want, because the filters it comes with aren't as cool as the ones you have to buy.
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This app is best known for its curve and color tools, plus its batch editing, which lets users apply global edits to a group of photos at the same time. Create dramatic B&W photos or bring a photo to life by enhancing its color and tone, and you'll get pretty close to the quality you'd get from developing a photo in a darkroom – except you can do it on the couch.

Best For: The Moody Photographer
Price: Free with in-app purchases

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