You don’t have to be an influencer to have a gorgeous feed. In fact, long before I considered turning social media into a side hustle, I coveted the aesthetic of bloggers like Amber Fillerup Clark and Cara Loren. However, the way major influencers edit their photos seemed like a secret no one was willing to share. If you had to ask, you’d never know…

And that’s why I put together this little guide for everyone out there wanting to take their photos to the next level, but unsure of where to start!

The Best Photo Editing Software

If you’re serious about your aesthetic and willing to spend, you won’t find a better software than Adobe Lightroom. Lightroom has every tool imaginable to correct and enhance your photos, as well as make them look professional quality, even if they were snapped on your iphone. There is even a free app available for smartphones that syncs with the desktop version, making it the perfect solution for full-on editing sessions and editing on the go. The desktop version is a little more user-friendly and I pay only $9.99 a month for both Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop. The best part? There are thousands of Lightroom presets, both free and available for purchase, that make editing easy as can be. With just one click, all your photos can look stunning and cohesive. My favorite presets are from Color Me Presets. I use the preset “Vibrant” on all of my Instagrams and rarely have to tweak much after the preset is applied. Here’s a before and after:

Amazing, right!?

The Best Photo Editing Apps

  1. Adobe Lightroom You don’t need the desktop version to utilize Lightroom’s powerful photo editing tools. The free app is available for download on the App Store and a recent update just made it possible to use presets on the app!
  2. VSCO Unless you’re brand new to Instagram, you’ve probably heard of VSCO. It’s free to download and has some stunning filters available. Some come free-of-charge and others are available for purchase. Pro tip: always reduce the intensity of the filter to get the best results. I normally drag mine down from 12 to about 6.5/7.
  3. Snapseed Even after I was exposed to the power of Lightroom, I still use Snapseed pretty often. It has a lot of the same features, but is much more user friendly. Pro tip: the “Grainy Film” option has some beautiful filters that provide the looks that are super trendy on Instagram right now!
  4. Retouch This app is a game-changer for when you take what would be the perfect shot, but something made its way in the background. You simply brush over the object you want to remove and more often than not, it takes it out seamlessly!
  5. Facetune We’ve all seen plenty of Facetune fails on social media (curvy walls, overly smoothed skin, yikes!), but its lesser known use is brightening up the whites in your photo! If you’re going for a crisp, clean, white theme, the “whitening” tool is fantastic for taking out any yellow-y tones the camera may have picked up. And let’s be honest, I’d be remiss if I didn’t confess how much I love it for teeth as well!
  6. Afterlight If you jumped on the “film” bandwagon, I definitely recommend Afterlight to get some cool grainy effects. It has a bunch of filters and other features as well that make it a great alternative to Snapseed!
  7. UNUM Concerned about curating a flawless feed? While this isn’t an editing app, it’s really handy for planning out your posts and making sure everything looks fabulous and cohesive.

Let me know if you’ve tried any of these and what your favorites are!