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California-Made Photo Editor Apps To Use For Your Instagram Feed
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California-Made Photo Editor Apps To Use For Your Instagram Feed

Think beyond the built-in filters on Instagram and make your color palette as unique as possible with these editing apps.

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5 min read

July 07, 2021

Nowadays, it’s all about who has the coolest Instagram feed. Are you going for an orange-blue aesthetic or neutral-chic vibes? Whichever your theme, the opportunities to make your feed really pop are endless—this is where photo editor apps come in. Armed with advanced editing tools so powerful they make your head spin, these apps are a must-have for any pro, photography enthusiast, or budding influencer. Think beyond the built-in filters on IG and make your color palette as unique as possible with these editing apps

Photo Editor Apps Made in the Golden State 

As the first product from Polarr, this free application features basic photo editing tools like a color enhancer, text tool, facial retouch, and more.

Polarr 

iOS: Available 

Android: Available 

Cost: Free

If you’re into creating your own aesthetics, the Polarr photo editor app gives you opportunities that go way beyond sample filters. This editing app creates a professional finish to all your photos, boasting dozens of different tools to make your style stand out.

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One of the best things about this app is that the interface is customizable to pretty much anything you want it to be. Just tap on the icons in the toolbar, pick the tools you know you’re going to use, and hide the unnecessary features occupying space. This sort of decluttering might not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of an app, but it really helps get those creative juices flowing.

As for the tools themselves, Polarr boasts an impressive handful of features. Correct the contrast, play with brightness and saturation, subtly change the lighting, apply color overlays, and even create your own filters—that’s right, you can create and save your own filters. Now we’re talkin’!

Previously known as VSCO Cam, this photography mobile app allows users to capture images and edit them using preset filters and editing tools.

VSCO

iOS: Available 

Android: Available
Cost: Free with in-app purchases 

VSCO—one of the best photo editing apps on the market—is a place where expression matters most. The app helps you take your photography to the next level, featuring an Instagram-like interface where you can connect with fellow photographers, enthusiasts, and people with fire aesthetics.

VSCO’s features are practically endless. You have the basic editing tools like contrast and saturation to give your photos that extra pop, grain and fade to spice up the texture, and crop and skew to play around with perspectives. Another fun thing about this app is that you can create a video story or moving collage by layering videos, images, and shapes—a fun and intimate graduation gift if you ask us. And of course, VSCO’s filters are probably one of the best you’ll ever use. 

Just like Instagram, the VSCO app encourages you to browse the discover section—photos, videos, and editorials from fellow creators await you. This is an excellent way to find your new favorite influencer, a photo op you’ve never thought of before, or a challenge that helps you get out of your comfort zone.

Afterlight, headquartered in Sacramento, offers 59 different filters. 27 customizable filters are developed by themselves, and 14 created by users.

Afterlight 

iOS: Available 

Android: Available
Cost: Free with in-app purchases 

Are you one for Instagrammable photo spots but wish to skip all the time spent editing? Afterlight is for you. This is the best editing app if you’re after quick and straightforward results. Paired with a simple design, snappy tools, and easy-to-apply adjustments, Afterlight provides you with the perfect IG post in a matter of seconds.

Afterlight believes that you’re never finished with a masterpiece until you take full advantage of its enhancing potential. Take a pick among 15 unique adjustment tools and edit away. There are also 27 fully original filters, 14 guest filters by various influencers, and a range of natural light leaks for those simplistic and scratchy film textures.

The Best Photo Editing Apps in California 

PicsArt was founded in 2011 by Armenian entrepreneur Hovhannes Avoyan and Armenian programmers Artavazd Mehrabyan. Photo courtesy of PicsArt.

PicsArt Photo Studio

iOS: Available 

Android: Available 

Cost: Free

This easy-to-use photo editor, sticker maker, and creative drawing app is the tool you didn’t know you needed—until now. Millions of users around the world turn to PicsArt for self-expression, magical effects, and millions of community-made features.

Follow and apply trending filters to your photography, erase and replace backgrounds, browse millions of curated images, explore designer fonts, and play around with AI-powered smart selection tools. Whether you’re a pro video editor or just looking to experiment, PicsArt’s video features will help take your IG reels to the next level. You can try glitch video effects, use the app’s smart merger to blend two or more videos together, and add your best moments to a video collage. PicsArt is truly #artistic.

Snapseed users can edit pictures using swiping gestures to select different effects, enhancements, as well as create and save filter combinations.

Snapseed 

iOS: Available 

Android: Available 

Cost: Free

Snapseed is an artist’s best friend. With advanced features and easy-to-use controls, this photo editor makes playing around with images one of your new favorite hobbies. And for pros, Snapseed is the app to use when you want to take your sweet time editing your work.

The interface is easy to navigate and looks pleasing to the eye. Just select a photo from your library or take a new one. Use the “looks” tab and select a thumbnail at the bottom of the screen to make the initial adjustment to the saturation of the image.

Now onto editing—most of this can be done in the “tools” section of the app. The "details" feature magically brings out surface structures in images and the ‘perspective' fixes skewed lines and perfects the geometry of horizons (if you're taking pictures of buildings for example). The ‘lens blur’ adds just the right touch of background softening to your images and ‘glamor glow’ is a great addition to a photo of you in a trendy outfit.

Lightroom's editing functions include white balance, tone, presence, tone curve, HSL, color grading, detail, lens corrections, and more.

Lightroom

iOS: Available 

Android: Available 

Cost: Free

If you’re even slightly in the know about the world of photography, then you know that Adobe Lightroom is an industry-standard. This powerful photo editor and camera app doesn’t change your style of photography. Instead, it helps you enhance the features that make it unique in the first place.

With Lightroom, you can edit and transform raw images on the go by tapping into your creativity and relying on a handful of features. Drag sliders to improve light and color, apply filters on pictures, play around with presets, and experiment and compare photo edits.

Another thing that makes Lightroom one of the best photo editors is its ‘group albums’ feature. By using this advanced photo sharing technique, you’re able to share your work with the users in the discover section—new edits sync seamlessly every time. This is a great way to learn and get inspired by other creatives and maybe even start a trend of your own.

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