The Best Photo-editing Apps for 2020

From January 2019 to January 2020, there has been a 2.4% increase of unique mobile phone users which is a whopping 124 million. As more of the world depends on their mobile phones to go online and with attention spans decreasing to just 8 seconds, it becomes more important to stand out in the melee of the internet.

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What better way to grab attention than to do it visually? The human brain can recognize a familiar object in just 100 milliseconds through the temporal lobe. This is what makes images so vital in your social media posts. Posts with photos are more likely to get shared and retweeted rather than those that don’t. But not everyone is blessed with skills for graphic design which is why a deluge of apps was developed to help you with content creation – particularly helping your images get the attention they deserve.


1. Instasize
Instasize is the photo and video editing app ideal for on-the-go content creators. The app simplifies editing your photos through a comprehensive toolkit which includes editing tools like contrast, saturation, and exposure. With a number of filters and borders, you can enhance your photos in your particular style while 20+ unique fonts capture the message you want to be conveyed on your posts. Another convenient feature of the app is its built-in collage maker and video editor that cuts out most of the legwork so you can focus on getting creative.

Instasize in action:

Some of the best Instagram accounts out there have a unique look and feel that’s instantly recognizable. But using a single preset throughout your grid might result in a boring and predictable feed. Use Instasize to achieve stellar branding that will help you stand out. Play around with filter collections such as Electric Autumn to give your posts a moody yet vibrant look perfect for the season. Check out @courtneyheaton for some inspiration.

Instasize is free to download on iOS and Android but offers a monthly subscription that allows access to all the features of the app including beauty tools and monthly updates.


2. Snapseed
Created in 2012 under Google, Snapseed is an all-around professional-grade editor specifically for mobile phones. The app offers photo-editing tools and filters like Healing, Brush, Structure, HDR, Perspective, and more for fixing and composing your images. Snapseed includes a range of sliders to blur and control temperature, numerous overlays and effects, and even text.

Snapseed in action

Snapseed is a favourite for professional photographers and all around foodie, Jessica Hirsch of @cheatdayeats. While she relies heavily on natural lighting to pull off her mouthwatering food shots and prefers video as her usual medium, she reveals that the app is her go-to when she needs to make additional changes on still shots.

Snapseed is available for free to download in both Android and iOS.

VSCO as a photo-editing app offers an analogue and film-like aesthetic which features 10 presets, contrast and saturation tools, grain and fade effects, and even crop and skew perspective adjustments. The app lets you save your customized filters to recreate the same effect for your future photos. VSCO also has its own creative community to explore and share content.

VSCO in action

VSCO is arguably responsible for defining what it means to have “Instagram aesthetics” thanks to its effortlessly vintage presets favoured by trendsetters from all over the globe. But beyond being just a photo editing tool, VSCO is also a platform where you can share and get inspiration.

Take a look at this photo series entitled “Inner Demon” by artist and graphic designer @nwabisasn.The series was shared on VSCO’s Instagram account in honour of #WorldMentalHealthDay.
VSCO is available for free on Android and iOS but offers in-app purchases. A membership offers advanced photo editing tools and gives access to joining the weekly photo challenges.

Adobe Lightroom

4. Adobe Lightroom
Adobe Lightroom app is a mobile offshoot of its desktop counterpart that already has a loyal following. The app is powerful enough to edit photos with just a touch through its presets and profiles. The app also has a built-in camera featuring raw, professional, and HDR modes.

Adobe Lightroom in action

Popular food and lifestyle content creator Jen Balisi of @indulgenteats uses Adobe Lightroom presets to adjust the colours in her photos and make them more striking. The app comes with presets that can transform your photos from ordinary to double tap-worthy in seconds. Try it out on beach photos and turn your dull blues into eye-catching turquoise just like Jen.

Adobe Lightroom is both available for free on Android and iOS. and is free to download. A Premium subscription allows access to Creative Cloud Storage and Adobe Sensei.

5. Canva
The great thing about Canva in its mobile form is that it lets you create your own designs and layouts. For photo-editing, the app offers filters, vignettes, graphics, text, and other tools. The app also provides you with ready-to-use designs and templates or opt to make one from scratch.

Canva in action

Canva is a one-stop-shop for all your design needs. It’s a great tool for small business owners and non-designers to produce graphics for their social media pages or presentations.

@designpakecanva was able to create this winning illustration all with elements available on Canva. The #CanvaLove contest is a testament to the app’s dedication to making design accessible to everyone. With its intuitive editing tools and a rich selection of design elements, anyone — design background or not — can create something beautiful.
Canva is available to download for free on Android and iOS. An upgrade to Canva Pro unlocks all other features like access to unlimited photos, icons, and tools. Canva Pro is available for a fee but is free for education and non-profits.


6. Made
For Instagram Stories, your and videos should also be consistent with your profile’s theme. Made is an Instagram Stories exclusive app meant as a storytelling toolkit. The app includes a variety of IG Stories-compatible templates, backgrounds, patterns, font designs, filters, as well as a storyboard so you can construct your Stories from beginning to end effortlessly.

Made in action

Digital creator @lisahomsy uses Made to share her stories on Instagram. As seen on her Highlights, Lisa uses Made’s stunning backgrounds for her still shots and a combination of the app’s fonts and templates to make her Stories pop.

Made is available to download for free on iOS and Android. A monthly subscription offers new templates and features updated every month.


7. PicsArt

PicsArt is not limited to editing photos but videos as well. The app provides various tools for cropping, stretching, cloning, and erasing undesirable elements in your photos, as well as brushes, filters, frames, backgrounds, and borders – and even a doodle tool to draw over your photos. On the other hand, its video editor lets you add filters and stickers to enhance your video content.

PicsArt in action

PicsArt breaks the barriers of creativity with their funky collages and out-of-this-world effects. @marianabaptistaa_ a digital content creator from Portugal uses PicsArt to upgrade her #ootd shots and portraits using the app’s stickers.

PicsArt is only available to download for free on iOS and Android. A Gold subscription unlocks thousands of premium stickers, fonts, frames, collages, and masks.

And as content online becomes a never-ending battle for the audience’s attention, having captivating images to go with your posts should be a priority. According to Social Media Examiner, 80% of marketers already use and depend on visuals for social media marketing. So, the key to getting all those likes and shares to increase engagement really starts with one great image.

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