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6 awesome free photo editing apps every social media manager needs on their phone

Estimated read time: 7 minutes

Over the last couple of weeks here on The Native we’ve talked plenty about the importance of good images for your social media feeds.

Guess what? We’re carrying on with that theme today.

Yep, you’ve seen our tips for taking better photos using your smartphone, as well as our guidance on how to better edit those shots, but we didn’t want to leave it at that.

What follows is a selection of really great photo editing apps that will turn your phone into even more of a content machine than it already is and will allow you to make fab images on the go.

Even better, all the apps listed below are free – and we all love free stuff!

So, head over to your app store of choice and load up on any of this selection…


If you only download one app after reading this article, make it Snapseed. The Google-made photo editing tool is a beast and offers a wealth of controls for you to adjust and tweak. It even offers things that most others don’t – such as a healing brush and a Face Enhance tool to work on specific areas of a face. Not only that, it also has a load of artsy filters and weird effects – it really is the Swiss Army Knife of mobile photo editing.

Oh, one last big plus point of Snapseed – it remembers your last edit! So, if you want a set of photos to look the same, just get the first one how you want it and then hit ‘last edits’ for all the others – hello a load of saved time!

Download: iOS | Android

Photoshop Express

As you’ve probably guessed, this is the mobile version of Photoshop. But don’t be fooled by the inclusion of Express in its name – this is another behemoth of a photo editing app and will be packed full of familiar features to anyone who uses the desktop version regularly.

An added bonus – Photoshop Express can handle RAW files, so if you’ve shot something on a DSLR, pop them on your phone and open them up here for editing on the fly. Also, if you an Adobe ID you can use it to unlock extra features.

Download: iOS | Android


Keeping in the Adobe family here with the Lightroom mobile app. Another workhorse, this offers an almost identical set of tools to its desktop version. It also comes stocked with filters, presets and a pretty neat in-app camera that allows you to shoot through preset editing modes – we’d still generally advise shooting on your phone’s native camera and then editing afterwards, but it’s useful to know if you do plan on using Lightroom.

Download: iOS | Android


Perhaps you like what Photoshop and the Adobe apps have to offer, but you’re too hipster to bow down to such a corporate giant. Fear not, we’ve got you covered – you want to check out Pixlr. It’s free to use both on mobile and on the web, and again offers a load of tools matched up with a simple interface.

Pixlr also lets you create collages, add text and stickers to jazz up your images even more, should you wish.

Download: iOS | Android


If you want to make your images look seriously cool then VSCO (short for Visual Supply Company) is the one for you. VSCO makes Photoshop and Lightroom presets that emulate the looks of hundreds of classic and modern photographic films and their nifty app offers the same service.

You can purchase additional sets of ‘films’ to your heart’s content within the VSCO app, but even the ones it comes equipped with look great. Top tip; one you apply a look, tap again on the film name you’ve just chosen to bring up a slider to adjust the intensity of that effect – you’ll often get the best results by scaling it back a little.

For inspiration and to get an idea of the kind of looks achievable with VSCO, check out #vscocam on Instagram.

Download: iOS | Android


Lastly, perhaps you want to give your pictures a different look all together. Perhaps, when you say you want them to look artsy, you mean you want them to look like art. Well, Prisma could be the app for you – you’ve probably seen photos edited using this app on your own social media feeds…they’re the ones that look like paintings. Prisma allows you to turn your photos into a whole load of different paintings, mimicking the styles of various famous artists.

It’s not all for quirky effects that you’ll get bored of after a few days (trust us, you will) – Prisma also has a suite of editing tools including a very fun ‘background removal’ tool, so you can take your subjects and pop them somewhere else – you know, like it Wayne’s World when Wayne and Garth try out a green screen and end up in Delaware?


You don’t know Wayne’s World? Get out – we can’t be friends.

Download: iOS | Android