While Instagram is the go-to platform for those who want to share their images online, it’s definitely not the be-all and end-all when it comes to photo editing.
Luckily, there are multiple photo editing apps that allow you to share your edited snaps directly to Instagram. And here are the best Instagram photo editors available.
What Are Instagram Photo Editors?
The main difference between regular photo editing apps and Instagram photo editors is that the latter has built-in sharing capabilities that let you to send your picture to your Instagram feed.
Since sharing has become an integral part of many apps, most photo editing apps will include this feature. This means that you won’t have to physically save your picture to your device before trying to post it on Instagram. Furthermore, many apps with no affiliation to Instagram include this feature, so you’re not just limited to Instagram-affiliated apps.
These apps open Instagram upon sharing, allowing you to apply any additional Instagram filters and a caption (if desired). This is incredibly useful since Instagram often lacks the fine editing capabilities many smartphone photographers are looking for.
Instagram photo editors are different than Instagram repost apps, which let you publish other Instagram users’ pictures on your own feed.
Snapseed is a favorite choice for smartphone photographers thanks to its simple-yet-nuanced tools. In fact, we ranked Snapseed as the best photo editing app on Android.
The major advantage of Snapseed is its selective and brush editing tools. These allow you to edit specific sections within your picture, rather than simply applying adjustments to an entire image. This means that if a specific object is overexposed, you can edit that object and leave the brightness and exposure for the rest of the image unaffected.
Snapseed also includes a variety of filters and other advanced tools.
When you’re done with your image, you can choose to export it or share it to your Instagram feed. This opens the Instagram app so that you can publish it directly to the platform.
2. A Color Story
Despite not being owned by or affiliated with Instagram, A Color Story integrates the platform heavily.
A Color Story includes a variety of tools, including filters and photography adjustments. Many are available for free, but the photo editing app also includes a number of paid filters.
A Color Story allows you to create your caption and schedule a reminder to post your image to Instagram, similar to other scheduling apps such as Buffer and Crowdfire. You can also connect your Instagram app directly to A Color Story with your Instagram login.
This heavy integration means that A Color Story really embodies the concept of an Instagram photo editor. When publishing your images, A Color Story copies your caption to your clipboard and opens the Instagram app.
VSCO is another popular photo editing app that lets you share your images to Instagram. However, the app also features its own photo sharing platform that makes it one of the Instagram alternatives for smartphone photographers.
Among its tools, VSCO includes multiple filters and adjustment tools. The app also lets you save specific adjustment “recipes” if you have a specific set of steps you like to apply to all your pictures. While most of the tools are available for free, VSCO does lock certain features behind a subscription.
Once you finish editing an image, you can publish it to the VSCO platform. However, you are also able to choose to share it with other platforms instead, including Instagram.
The main downside of VSCO is that you need to create an account to use the app. This can deter privacy-minded users and those who don’t want to have a bevy of accounts linked to their email.
4. Adobe Photoshop Express
Adobe Photoshop Express has an impressive range of tools for photo editing, including filters, enhancements, and collage creation. After you’ve applied your various edits, you are able to share them to a variety of social networks and apps (including Instagram).
The app is mostly free, with a few premium features. However, you will need to sign in with a Google, Facebook, or Adobe account in order to use the Photoshop Express app.
One relatively unique feature of the app is the ability to choose the export size of your edited image. This gives you flexibility over how much quality and resolution you want to maintain.
Photoshop Express is a highly capable picture editing app. One setback though is that the Adobe app ecosystem does result in certain features being spread out across other app offerings such as Lightroom and Photoshop Fix. This means that no one Adobe app includes all of the editing features the software provider offers.
However, Photoshop Express appears to offer the widest range of functionality for free when compared to the other Adobe photo editing apps.
Pixlr combines many of the best features of photo editing apps into one central editor that can share to Instagram. Not only can you create collages and use interesting filters, but there are also fun tools like stickers and frames. Another nifty feature is the superimposition and double exposure feature.
The app also includes traditional tools such as smoothing, adjustments, auto-fixing, sharpening, and more. This very robust picture editing app even includes brush editing features like Snapseed, though with more limited adjustment options.
When you are done with your image, Pixlr offers you a range of sharing options that includes publishing it to Instagram.
Another perk of Pixlr is that it has a website that allows you to edit photos on your computer.
Why You Should Use Instagram Photo Editors
Instagram is a great app, but when it comes to really making your photos stand out, dedicated photo editing apps usually surpass the platform’s native capabilities.
If you’re not yet sold on the idea of using a standalone picture editor, here are our reasons to use photo editing apps over Instagram filters.