The Only 3 Photo Editing Apps You Will Ever Need

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One of the most popular questions I’ve had over the years on Instagram is regarding how I edit my photos. If I had to guess, I’d say I am asked at least a couple of times a day on average! But the reality of my Instagram editing process is impossibly easy, straight forward and most importantly minimalist. So if you want to know the only three photo editing apps you will find on my phone to edit my Instagram photos, here they are!

Best Apps to Edit your Instagram Photos

1. Touch Retouch

This magical app (and I really mean it, it is magical) was first introduced to me by a photographer friend who insisted I download the app immediately as it was the answer to her prayers. She was taking photos out the plane window and mistakenly getting a shadowed blur in the frame, when I asked her what she was taking the photo for (it really was that bad for the level of quality I’m used to seeing in her work). She explained to me that she would later edit it with “Touch Retouch” to remove the blur and turn it in to a cloud. Confused, I questioned her about the app and she couldn’t believe I had never heard of it before!

Essentially the app is a magic tool that allows you to highlight (in red – middle frame) the part of the picture you wish to remove/blend in to the background. Personally I like the greenery in this photo, but I thought it would be a great example to show you how well it blends in! Magic!

Best Apps to Edit Photos

2. VSCO Cam

Now I know this is one of the most popular photography apps on the market, but I’ll be honest and say that I do use this sparingly – though as it is an app I still use regularly, I thought I’d better include it. Firstly I only use the VSCO Cam filters on the odd occasion that I don’t like the colours of a photo I’ve taken and want to get playful with it in the app. The filters are much nicer/softer than in Instagram, so its a great quick fix to any photo.

However mostly I just use the app to layout my photos and see what looks good where or on the contrary, what does not work when placed beside one another. In other words, its a great way to see your Instagram feed before you upload!

Best Apps to Edit your Photos

3. Instagram

Finally, the photography app I use most and actually every time I upload is the Instagram app itself. While I never (ever, ever, ever) use the filters on here, I will always tweak photos a little to enhance the colours, brightness, decrease the highlights and raise the sharpness. As you can see in the middle frame, I also use the app to straighten photos so that they are completely straight (a little unhealthy obsession of mine). They are small changes but they make the difference!


Other FAQ Photography Questions:

What camera do you use?

I use an Olympus OMD EM5 Mark II for almost all of my photos.

What vlogging camera do you use?

I use an Olympus PEN EPL7 for vlogs.

Do you use Photoshop?

Never (I’m just not any good at it).

Do you use any photo editing programs?

If I’m patient, I’ll do a bit of editing in “Photos” on my iMac.

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    May 30, 2016 at 2:31 am

    Hey Brooke,

    It is not always possible to get the perfect image as we may need. So editing our pics is very much essential. You have shared some really handy photo editing apps here. And Touch Retouch seems to work flawless. Thanks for the share.

    May 25, 2016 at 8:13 am

    I’m equally terrible on Photoshop! I do most of my editing on Iphoto on my Mac for shoots taken with my camera (its so easy to use and can do most of the simple editing I like to do), and on the Snapseed app for iphone photos. But I’m definitely going to check out this Touch Retouch app now!

    May 20, 2016 at 2:28 am

    These are so good!
    I use the VSCO A filters for all of my photos before posting them, but it is so fun to experiment with all of their presets. I love the way that you can get your camera to behave like a manual camera in the VSCO app. On my desktop, I also use the Fuji VSCO presets in Lightroom.
    Touch Retouch YES. This has been such a lifesaver for photo bombers. I take a lot of beach pictures, and Touch Retouch makes it so easy to cover up random people and trash from the beach. I wrote a post about it here:

    Jennifer Clydesdale
    May 18, 2016 at 8:12 pm

    Life saver! need to start using these apps

    Kaili Willows
    May 18, 2016 at 5:02 am

    I primarily use Instagram, but I’m interested in trying VSCO. Thanks for this post!

    May 18, 2016 at 2:35 am

    New blogger here ! Thank you so much for sharing !

    May 18, 2016 at 2:32 am

    Great tips! I only use Instagram editing and just like you, I NEVER EVER use the filters. I haven’t caught onto VSCO and I just really don’t like the filters as much. I do want to try touch retouch though!

    Marta Sierra (MartaMademoiselle)
    May 17, 2016 at 10:09 pm

    Great tips! I will try out the Touch Retouch app!!


    May 17, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    Retouch sounds like exactly what my life has been missing! Thanks for the tip 🙂


    April | April Everyday
    May 17, 2016 at 6:20 am

    I’ve never heard of that retouch app before! It sounds amazing! I love VSCO Cam – I’ll usually do a little editing and add my usual filter then finish it off in instagram. I’ve just downloaded A Color Story, but I miss the pre-instagram like layout to see which photos work together or not. I definitely try things out on VSCO first haha!
    xo April |

    May 17, 2016 at 5:28 am

    Instagram and Vsco are still my favorites!

    Amanda @ Positively Amanda
    May 17, 2016 at 3:08 am

    VSCO Cam is the best! I use it all the time

    Hannie Blaise
    May 17, 2016 at 2:26 am

    I use Instagram but ALWAYS use VSCO to edit my photos! The filters are heaven.

    Hannie Arden from.

    Mariah Jo
    May 17, 2016 at 2:12 am

    The retouch app is my favorite app! Seriously is magic 🙂

    R M KING
    May 17, 2016 at 1:03 am

    Ditto on Snapseed!!! The BEST!

    Dia Bianca Lao
    May 16, 2016 at 11:39 pm

    Thanks for this! I’ve been hunting for an app that can remove unwanted spots in my pics! I’ve downloaded Touch Retouch right after reading this! I also use Snapseed and Facetune. Foodie has the best filters for food.

    May 16, 2016 at 9:50 pm

    I love VSCO but I also love the vintage kind of looks! How how clean your photos always turn out :]

    May 16, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    Snapseed is the best app ever!

    Amy Jet Mags
    May 16, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    Mil gracias for these filters and tips!
    You, and your audience, may also like GIMP (free, open source software) and a plug in called G’MIC.
    Lawrence at FindingTheUniverse just emailed those names with instructions for using filters to create “dreamy” effects. The results are spectacular and unusual.

    Sharmistha | That Girl's Life Stories
    May 16, 2016 at 7:17 pm

    I have always drooled over your pictures. Thanks for sharing these apps. I didn’t know about Touch-Retouch till now – off to check it right away 🙂

    May 16, 2016 at 7:00 pm

    I’m surprised A Color Story app isn’t on your list. I deleted other photo editing apps and use only that. It’s very helpful for taking indoor pics, especially when taking food pics. Makes white looks crisp and bright colors pop.

    May 16, 2016 at 6:54 pm

    I still use snapseed – it’s very useful, I would add it as the 4th 🙂

    but yeah, I agree now all the apps becoming more multi functional and you need less of those apps.



    May 16, 2016 at 6:44 pm

    Awesome post

    May 16, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    Thankyou so much for posting this, Brooke. I’m always swooning so bad over your instagram (& general life), and wondered for so long how you make your photos so beautiful. I use VSCO all the time, but will now try touch retouch, I can’t believe I’ve never heard of it before. Thankyou for introducing me to it. Sending love to you & I hope your enjoying your amazing travels ^_^

    Katie |

    May 16, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    Such a useful post, I can’t get the hang of VSCO app. I love Fotor and Pics Art. Thanks for sharing, saved! I really need to invest in a cool camera but they are so intimidating to me, I would be scared to break it xxx