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After spending several years in social services, Nicole has finally followed her lifelong dream of being a full-time writer. In addition to her work for The Hudsucker, Nicole is also a staff writer for Womanista. An avid comic book fan, BBQ aficionado, professional makeup artist and first-time mom, Nicole can be found exploring Kansas City rich history when she's not blogging about suburban life at Suburban Flamingo.

Best Photo Editing Apps for Your Summer Snaps

Image Credit: Robin Wong

Image Credit: Robin Wong

It’s August, which means that we are deep into the summer season with long warm days filled with golden light. It also means vacations and adventures, and prime photo-taking opportunities! The cameras on our smartphones are always improving, but even with technological advances, we sometimes need a little bit of help taking our photos to the next level—that’s where photo editing apps come in. When sharing our images on social media, there are so many apps to choose from to help enhance our photos, that one may seem to just give up and stick to Instagram’s filters.

Never fear, shutterbugs! I’ve road-tested some of the many apps available and have compiled for you four of my top picks. 

Workflow screen on VSCOcam.

Workflow screen on VSCOcam. Image Credit: Nicole Drum

VSCOcam

Price: Free | Available for: Android, iPhone

Less a photo editing app and more a camera, VSCOcam shouldn’t be overlooked. Once you take a photo in VSCOcam you get to edit it (if you choose to) in the workflow screen. Users have a whole host of basic editing tools, but the real gems here are the color-based filters that allow you to play with the white balance of a photo, as well as maintain control over other elements of the image. The presets in VSCOcam result in subtle, but beautiful adjustments that don’t look like you’ve gone crazy with filters.

Fotograf

Price: $0.99 | Available for: iPhone

You can use Fotograf as a camera replacement on your iPhone, but unlike VSCOcam you can also access your photo library and simply use their editor. Fotograf still gives you the basic tools (crop and other adjustments) but the beauty of Fotograf is the vast library of filters. Did the camera not quite catch the golden light of day well enough to give you that vintage-film feel? No problem! Fotograf has an entire library of filters called “Film Tone” that you can choose from and adjust the exposure levels. The only drawback is that Fotograf is only available for iPhone.

Afterlight

Price: $0.99 | Available for: Android, iPhone, and Windows

With a camera replacement element, filters, textures, and frames, Afterlight is my hands-down favorite photo editing app. As mentioned in 7 iPhone Apps for the Foodie, Afterlight is like having a mini version of Photoshop on your phone. Did you snap a photo where there is no light and you can’t see the faces of your subjects? Not a problem for Afterlight. The app lets you customize every element of the photo so that you can brighten and darken as needed. In addition, Afterlight also has beautiful filters more like what you’ll find in Instagram, but with more ability to customize them. You can also create fun digital photo art using frames. The best part? Afterlight is available for iPhone, Android, and Windows.

Image edited in Snapseed. Image Credit: Nicole Drum

Image edited in Snapseed. Image Credit: Nicole Drum

Snapseed

Price: Free | Available for: Android, iPhone

Probably the most comprehensive of the editing apps, Snapseed is beloved by iPhone photographers for the complete set of tools the app contains. Like with the other apps, you have filters and tools to work with, but unlike the rest of them, you can make changes and edits selectively to individual areas of the image instead of just the whole. Snapseed takes a little bit of practice to use, but it’s absolutely worth it. I use Snapseed on all of my concert photos to help me bring back the details that are often lost in a dark, crowded venue.

There you have them—four full-range photo editing apps. Give them a try individually or layer their effects to create truly beautiful photos. That’s one of my favorite editing tricks: Edit an original image in one of the apps, save it, then open the saved image in another app and continue to play. The options are endless. Happy snapping!

What are some of your favorite photo editing apps? Let us know in the comments below!

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