10 Instagram Photo Editing Apps

As some of you know, I’m a big user of the iPhone photo app which was recently sold to Facebook for  $1B. I’ve been using the service since just after it launched and, along the way, I’ve stumbled across some good Instagram habits. However, in this post I thought I’d let you know about some of the image editing apps I use.

Where it makes sense, I’ll also post an example photo at the bottom


Whilst you can take photos directly with the  Instagram app, I rarely do that. I’ll normally take the photo with another app and then run it through a series of filters (or edits as they seem to be called on Instagram) before it finally gets loaded into IG (IG is short of Instagram).


As I say, I typically don’t capture with Instagram. Nor do I capture with the native iPhone app because that shoots photos in a traditional landscape or portrait format; however, Instagram photos are square. If you don’t want to be cropping every image, you’ll probably want another camera app which can shoot in the square format in the first place. In steps 6X6…

1. 6X6

This is my camera app of choice. It is low on features (good! I like apps to do a few good things well, rather than a lot of things poorly) but it looks lovely and it takes photos in the square, IG ready format. Also, it has gridlines on the viewfinder which means I can get my shot as straight as possible. View in Appstore.

2. Camera+

This is a fantastic all round app but it’s the filters, effects & borders which I like it for. I’d probably not take a photo with this app because of the non-square format (but, in fairness, it does have a square crop tool built into it). As I say, the effects are great – it has lovely tools to help enhance the image. The ‘clarity‘ effect is a favorite of mine as that really helps to lift detail in the types of shot I take. View in Appstore.

3. MagicHour

This is a very slick app which (I think) takes in square format but, more importantly, it has some lovely effects (combinations of filter & border) built in. I particularly like the variety of black and white tools (T-Max Film, Dry Black & White, Ilford Film) as well as the lovely colour filters such as Lite X-Pro & ‘Being Alone‘. View in Appstore.

4. Scratchcam

Another app I use solely for effects. All the effects here are very grungy & grimey in nature. Perfect for roughing up an image! Again, the photo will always be taken with the 6X6 first and i’ll try out an effect here to see if that helps my image or not.. View in Appstore.

6. Picgrunger

Probably my favourite photo effect app. And an app to all too easily overused! This app is great at making a photo look old or to distress it in someway. It has lots of different features which help replicate what the image has been printed on (e.g. parchment) or the type of distress you wish to add in (e.g. acid burn). Love this app! View in Appstore.

7. Squaready

Not a visual effect app but a very, very handy one any road. This app is great at creating a lovely square crop from a bigger image. East to use, just do a little bit of pinch & zooming. You may think why have this with the 6×6, sometimes I may want to crop in (especially if I’ve had to use the following app), View in Appstore.

8. GyroCropper

I love this app! I’m a stickler for trying to get straight lines in my photos and this app is a life saver in helping with that. The strange app name gives the game away a bit; on the iPhone 4 & 4S, it is able to use the in built gyro so you can gently turn the phone to align & straighten the photo (and it has helpful built-in guidelines). A must have app. View in Appstore.

9. Hipstamatic

This was the camera app which made me lust after the iPhone so it always has a special place in my heart. It has an amazing collection of filters and effects and I tend to use it for portraits. Also, it’s the only app (I think?) which can post photos directly to Instagram (normally you have to save to the built in camera roll and then import into IG). View in Appstore.

10. No Finder

I’m a big fan of candid photographer, especially street photography. In those situations you don’t want to look like you are taking a photo! This app is perfect for that; no viewfinder makes this a discreet app indeed. They key to good street photographer is to be nonchalant – this app helps with that. View in Appstore.

There are other apps I use but probably nowhere to the level of the above. Of those other apps, there are some interesting ones & I’ll probably talk about that in another post.

In the meantime, if you have any IOS image editing apps you want to shout about, please let me know :)


Example photos

Here are some shots which show off some of the filters.

The “clarity” filter of Camera+ really helps lift texture in stone etc. And it does so without making the image look too gimmicky.

The MagicHour app has some lovely black & white settings. Here we are seeing ‘T-Max Film’. Also, I’ll let you know a trick. The ‘clarity’ filter on Camera+ (again!) is great for lifting detail in shots which will be converted to B&W. The tint on this image was introduced as a final native Instagram filter.

This photo is showing off some classic moves available in the lovely PicGrunger app.

This type of candid, street photography shot is easier to pull off with the Nofinder app. Also, because such shots are taking very off the cuff, I find I need to use the Gyrocropper app and a crop tool to help get the image back to a decent format.

Whilst this photo will have been through a few apps first, the tell tale signs of a very nice effect from ScratchCam are visible. A great app for adding a bit fo grunge to an image.

A classic type of shot easily done with Hipstamatic.

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