best iPhone editing apps


Something I get asked about a lot is how I edit my photos on social media. When I’m not using Lightroom, I loving using iPhone editing apps, and sometimes prefer them altogether. These ones are so easy to use and have a lot of features you’d normally only find in Lightroom or Photoshop, so you can customize your photos to look exactly how you want. Here are my top 3 apps:


  1. VSCO


custom coloring

Change the hue + saturation of each color with HSL tab >

VSCO is the one app I’ve used consistently (and probably the most) for the last 5 years. It’s SO easy to use but it also has some of the most advanced editing features.

  • FILTERS: There are tons of filters and a lot of them are REALLY good. I’ve stuck to the same bunch for the last couple years and they never let me down: A series (A4, A5, A6 especially), C4, 05, HB1 and HB2.

  • HSL: The HSL feature is basically your personal color customization tab for your photos. I use the same group of filters on VSCO but that doesn’t meet they work perfectly for every photo- I usually need to tweak the coloring in some way. That’s why the HSL feature is so useful. Say you have a filter that you love, but your skin looks a little too orange and you want to look more tan. Slide down the editing features to where it says HSL, and click the orange circle. Here you will see three lines for Hue, Saturation and Lightness. For hue, this allows you to change the orange to a more yellow orange or a more red orange. For saturation, you can either make the photo more orange or less orange. And for lightness, this basically changes the depth of the orange hue in the photo (aka your MUST-HAVE for looking tanner). Move the white circle on the lightness tab to the left to create a more tan effect to the skin. You can also lower the orange saturation to make it look more brown toned, and less orange. The HSL can be used for all colors in your photo. Don’t like the color of blue in the sky? Slide the hue to the left for it to become more aqua, or to the right for a moral royal blue.

  • GRAIN: the grain feature on VSCO is the best I’ve found compared to other apps. I even like it better than the grain option in Lightroom. Adding a little grain to your photos (especially portraits) is a really cool way to add some edge to your photo. I use it all the time (PS it’s basically also like automatic facetune because it makes your skin look more even. Win win?)

  • PHOTO LIBRARY: VSCO saves all your photos in a grid-like album so you can reference your edits anytime and then copy + paste them to new photos, if you want. This is super helpful for me to be able to look back at edits I loved and see what filters and adjustments I used.



The Tezza App has quickly become one of my favorite editing apps. I don’t know what it is but something about them makes my pictures POP in the exact way I want them to. It’s essential that you play around with the intensity of the filter though, I find a lot of the time the full amount is too much. You can lower the amount of each filter by tapping on the filter button and dragging the sliding bar to the left. I use this app mainly for portraits or photos of people as it makes skin and hair pop and always gives kind of a cool “California” vibe to the photo.

My most used filters:

  • INSPR: this filter is super muted, and gives a kind of washed-out effect, which I love. I usually bump up the contrast to counter act the fade and give it a little more intensity.

  • MOCHA: I love this filter to make skin look super tan while making the background kind of moody.

  • GLOW: this has a really summery, warm, golden feel to it. I usually pull the saturation down a little bit in the editing tabs when I use this filter and add a little contrast (I mean 2-3 max).

  • BLUSH: this gives a slightly pink cast while making the colors punchy but not too bright. See example on left using the Blush filter. It really makes blonde hair and skin pop.

  • *I also love using the dust filters on top as a cool texture effect!



A ColorStory is really cool because you can do so many different things with it. On top of having a ton of amazing filter collections (I like the Golden package the best), it has really fun effects that a lot of other apps don’t have.

  • GLOW: a package of different light flares and different sun casts. Here in this palm photo I used the “rainbow” effect but only used the side that had a sun flare and hid the rainbow part out of the photo. That’s what’s great about these effects, you can move them all around your photo, into corners, blocking out certain parts. And you can bring down the intensity!

  • LIGHT LEAKS: similar to the Glow package, but just different types of effects and lots of neon flares. It’s a little more colorful and fun, while Glow is more natural.

  • TEXTURE: this is a bunch of different dust and speckled lights effects. I used one of the dust filters on the golden palm photo below.

palm trees a color story edit