Photo Editing Apps For Dummies (+ TIPS!)

Hello everyone!

I really love editing photos and videos on my phone and I almost always just do it with a few apps! As someone who likes their Instagram feed to look “balanced”, although I don’t follow a theme, I like the feed to look cohesive. I am also someone who in no way would describe themselves as an editing pro, but I do enjoy editing photos.

I don’t own Photoshop, nor do I pay for any editing apps I use. Everything in this list is free!

PSA – when in my title I say “For Dummies”, obviously I am not calling any of you dumb, it’s a spin off based on the For Dummies series of books that educate people on topics in a very readable, understandable manner, which I love.

All the apps I’m recommending are VERY VERY easy to use and require minimal instruction! 


I’m sure this is not a surprise to anyone. I mentioned VSCO in my What’s On My iPhone 11 Pro Max post and it is a photo editing app that I’m sure most people already have installed on their phones.

My favourite filters are saved above. The filters I choose are usually more vibrant, bright and colorful but yet not overexposed. I find myself using C7 most of the time because I looooove the effect of a blue sky. I will teach you how to add a fake blue sky later on in this post (and I do that quite a lot tbh!). VSCO is very user-friendly and there are some paid filters but you can get good use out of the app without paying. You can also get some free filters by following them on their Instagram page.

VSCO is very self explanatory so there’s not much I can teach you. Just download it and play with it!

VSCO is also a community, so you can upload your edited photos within the app under your account and other people can view them, and you can also see other people’s edits! It’s a cool place to be and to see how people edit their content.


This has to be the most obvious spot the difference game ever.

One thing I love doing is adding a blue sky in photos that are originally gloomy. DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU SEE ONLINE! In the top photo of my boyfriend and I in Brighton, it was a sunny but yet the skies were gloomy. I decided to add some blue sky with clouds with the QuickShot app. What a brilliant app this is. I discovered it from a Disney Facebook Group where people were helping other people ‘photoshop’ skies into their Disneyland photos that didn’t turn out great.

I did it to my own Disneyland picture too as it was a rainy day when we arrived in December.

My personal favourite sky filters are the ones under “Sunny“.

The ones in “Dusk” are very pretty too!

You can get a good variety of skies for free on the app but there are some really beautiful paid ones too! I personally don’t pay for them as I don’t upload to Instagram regularly, but if I do one day, a QuickShot subscription is one I will definitely add.

QuickShot probably makes the biggest difference in my Instagram pictures out of all the apps I’m going to recommend you. It is easy to use, the free functions are sufficient and most of it is automatic.

Lightroom Mobile

As you can see from the photo above, the difference between them is almost like a filter, but all done manually.

Lightroom Mobile is very useful and is the app most ‘professionals’ use. However, it is easy to maneuver. Presets can be downloaded or bought from sites like Etsy if you’re into giving your Instagram feed a theme. I personally do not follow a theme, but I like my feed to look like it belongs to the same page.

My favourite tool in Lightroom is the Colour Mix tool. It helps you enhance any one colour you’d like. For example, if I put in a blue sky using QuickShot and I want the specifically the sky to be brighter, I click on Colour Mix, click the blue palette and increase the hue and saturation. That way, only all the blues in the photo will become more vibrant.

Also a good tool if you want to enhance hair colour, eye colour or even your lipstick colour. Do not overenhance for it has a possibility that it will make the photo look extremely fake. But let’s be real, most content on Instagram is edited to an extent.

I also love the Grain effect in Lightroom – one of the best I’ve used and personally, better than VSCO’s Grain effect.

I don’t currently have any presets that I’m obsessed with (they always don’t turn out like I want them to after I buy them!) and I would LOVE if you could leave your Lightroom preset recommendations in the comments. My Instagram is Marsybun and I would like to follow the current ‘theme’ I have (it’s not a solid theme) where things are colourful and bright and clear.


This one’s for all the creative-photography people out there!

I LOVE PREQUEL! It is such a cool app and you can do so much on it for free. It first became popularised on Tik Tok and I hopped on the trend and downloaded it and it is so incredibly fun.

I used the Prism effect and Miami filter on the Costa photos above and I love how they turned out! I wish I had made my Instagram feed more ‘creative’ so I could add photos like that in, but I’m sure if I did now, it would just stick out like a sore thumb. I do still use Prequel with some of my Instagram stories! I also use this app to edit the ocassional Tik Tok video I do.


I can’t even tell you how USEFUL Meitu is! It is one of the most popular photo-editing apps from China and I’m going to show you some of its features that I use the most.

The Erase Tool

Spot the difference in the photo above! I’ve removed the lamp post with this awesome tool.

If you love taking pictures with cool backgrounds for Instagram, you’ll find that sometimes there will be people, objects or random things in the background you want to get rid of. The erase tool in Meitu is one of the best free ones I’ve used, and it basically helps you get rid of anything you want in a picture. You can even use it to erase eyebags!

The Acne Tool

As a person who suffers with acne, I admittedly have always edited my acne out of my selfies. I will never shame anyone for doing this, as someone who does it themselves, I understand. Their acne editing tool is so great and can really make a difference in your skin. Overdoing it can make it appear very fake, so try not to make it too obvious!


If you enjoy posting more creative, colourful and edited photos on your Instagram stories, the frames in Meitu are great for that. They have HUNDREDS of free frames to choose from, and they’re all heavily customizable.

They seem to update the app with new frames every few days so there’s always lots to choose from.

They’ve even got square frames for an Instagram post instead of a story.

You can pick and choose which to download so your library won’t be completely crowded with frames you don’t like or rarely ever use. Since there’s so much to choose from, you can always have a great variety on your feed.

I personally love using Meitu for my Instagram stories as they really help with making them look interesting and vibrant. I hardly use them for Instagram photos itself but I do sometimes like to play around with the app as there’s so much to see. Apart from the stuff I’ve mentioned, there are other cool tools like The Magic Brush where you can add automatic graphics by drawing with your finger, some video editing effects as well as their very own filters.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my pretty lengthy post about my favourite photo editing apps for mobile. These apps are all available for both iOS and Android phones and they work exactly the same in both.

Do you use any of these apps and if so, what are some tips and tricks you’ve found within them?

If you already know of these apps, what are some great ones you’d recommend that aren’t in this post yet? I’m always looking to play with new editing app, so please leave your suggestions below!

Have a good week ahead and stay safe x


62 responses to “Photo Editing Apps For Dummies (+ TIPS!)”

  1. I really appreciate you sharing these apps! I usually use Lightroom and have Meitu but don’t really use it (will use it more now). VSCO free presets are very limited for me :/ how unfortunate. I’ll also check out the others you recommended. Thank you again for sharing!



  2. Thank you for this! I’ve only just downloaded Lightroom and bought some presets and I’m loving experimenting with my photos at the moment. The erase tool is SO handy and I’ll definitely be downloading Quickshot too! xxx


  3. Those were some really helpful apps. I just don’t like the Iphone filters and prefer Samsung over it.
    I’ll try some of these apps for sure 🙂


  4. Super helpful info for me! Photos are definitely a weakness of mine and I’m very confused on where to turn. Will be trying out some of these app for sure!


  5. Wow these are all new to me except VSCO and Lightroom! The cloud thing feature on Quickshot is super cool. I’ll def check that out. Thanks for sharing these apps! 🙂


    • Quickshot is one of those ‘secret’ apps a lot of people don’t really talk about because of how much it can manipulate a photo, but I needed to share it because of how useful it is!


  6. I love your photos and I love seeing before and after photos. These apps sounds really good!


  7. All these apps look awesome, Marsy! I just use Pixlr cause i couldn’t handle that many apps! You’re so GORGEOUS and a brilliant photographer ❤


  8. Wow there are so many great options on this list! I had only used VSCO and Lightroom before, but Quickshot and MeiTu look SO useful! Thanks for sharing this!


  9. I have been using Lightroom lately but was looking for some more apps with additional features. Thanks for sharing your feedback on all these. And yes, your pics are beautiful!!


  10. It was so great to see the side by side before and afters of what you can do with the apps. This was really helpful. I am not a good photographer so these are great to know about!


    • QuickShot is honestly a GREAT app and one of the biggest secrets of the photo-editing community and I have no idea why! Hope it makes your photos more fabulous than ever x


  11. This is such a useful post! It’s crazy how much of a difference editing a photo makes. I’m normally too lazy to take the time to edit photos but clearly it’s something that I need to start doing x

    Roni |


  12. Great post. I am looking forward to trying some different apps that you have mentioned. I use lightroom mostly right now but want to try out others. Thank you for sharing.


  13. I’ve only been using quickshot at the moment and I do love how the blue skies effect really brightens those gloomy cloudy day photos. I will be sure to check out some of the other apps, they look great! Thanks for sharing 😊 ✨
    Chris –


  14. Some great apps, I’m the same I actually enjoy editing photos. Sometimes just for fun rather than for a purpose such as Instagram or my blog. I use picsart a lot which is also a free app.


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