apptastic, blogging

3 Apps for Better Blog Photos

3 Apps for Better Blog Photos |

Remember Photoshop?

Just kidding. As much as I can, I still use Photoshop because I work faster with it. It’s just that I’ve noticed that when I get a blog idea so close to my heart that I can type it up in less than an hour, the only thing that holds me back from hitting the publish button is the lack of Photoshop. Why? Because I have to make a header graphic and all my fonts are on my personal laptop at home, that’s why!

But this is the 21st century and everything you need to do, you can do from your smartphone. From editing photos to make them look like they went through Lightroom (which I don’t have, anyway) to adding text without the help of Photoshop or Powerpoint Art Directing. Today, I’m featuring my three favorite photo editing apps that I think every blogger should have.

And these apps are…

The Best Photo Editing Apps |

1. Snapseed

Here is an unedited photo, taken with my iPhone 5C:

West Elm Estancia Manila |

It’s not so bad but it’s not something I would put on my blog or Instagram. When editing photos, the first thing I do is Snapseed it (yep, totally verbed that thing).

This app is amazing, but I love it mainly for two things: the brightness and ambiance controls. Snapseed’s brightening function is the best and ambiance is some sort of smart contrast function. According to Snapseed Help:

The Ambiance control is a special type of contrast that controls the balance of light in a photo. It can be used to balance backlit photos or to accentuate contrasts throughout your photo. Swipe right for photos where the subject is darker than the background. Swipe left to increase the contrast of dark objects and create a slight glow around darker objects. This is especially helpful in photos that are slightly flat.

Here’s the photo after going through Snapseed:

Snapseed |

I abuse ambiance waaay too much.

2. VSCO (or Afterlight)

After editing my photo on Snapseed, I open it on VSCO aka everyone’s favorite photo app. Did you know that I used to hate VSCO? I got it when it still cost 99 cents on the app store and was disappointed because I only liked 2 filters (04 and 05). Now, I can’t live without it. I don’t even edit photos on Photoshop anymore because VSCO’s filters are just easier and faster to use than Photoshop actions. I have all the presets save for the Alchemy collection, but I tend to stick to just 1 or 2 filters.

Here’s my photo after applying SE3 plus some minor adjustments (btw, what’s your favorite VSCO filter/s?):


I used to use Afterlight (I also have all the filters) but it’s been ignored for a few months now. VSCO’s flow is simpler but I like how Afterlight lets you can combine filters and save this “fusion” for future use.

Here’s the Snapseeded photo with my favorite fusion filters applied:

Afterlight  |

And here’s a collage so you can see the difference:

Best photo editing apps  |

3. Phonto

Gone are the days of having to borrow my art director’s laptop or wait ’til I get home to throw together some text on a photo!

I’ve tried out a lot of text apps before but I always end up uninstalling them because they weren’t what I was looking for. Good thing I found out about Phonto through Corinth! Phonto is great because you don’t need to pay to get more fonts; simply install your own! The ad-free version costs 99 cents, but TBH, the ads don’t bother me. The lack of an undo option is very annoying, though!

My blog header graphics are pretty simple: just a white rectangle with the opacity adjusted and text over it. I think when it comes to blog images, cleaner is better.

Phonto  |

Phonto has lot of basic shapes to choose from but if you need something a bit complicated (like a paint brush), you’re better off with Photoshop.

Those are the 3 apps I use and recommend to anyone wanting to improve their blog photos without having to resort to Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, or web apps like Pixlr (which is a pain to use).

PS: I’m not actually going to blog about my visit to West Elm Estancia. But see that low table in the photos? It’s perfect for Instagramming because you don’t need to strain your back for flatlays. It’s also PHP20,000.

What are your go-to apps for editing photos? :)

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  • Reply Corinth July 7, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    OMG! These apps are holy-grail for me! Haha. Jorge and I abuse the ambiance way too much too! Jorge showed me that bringing the ambiance of a photo down will make a photo dreamier and prettier all the way! But we do VSCO first (m5 all the time!) and then we bring it into Snapseed to enhance it even more!

    AND YES! The undo is so annoying! And sometimes, when you add the box and then you want to move the words or other graphics, it’s so hard to select them! HAHA. And it’s a good thing you are not bothered by the ads. ADS annoy the heck out of me, napapagastos tuloy ako! HAHA.

    • Reply Corinth July 7, 2015 at 12:12 pm

      the *lack of UNDO.

    • Reply Helga July 8, 2015 at 6:25 pm

      I lower ambiance all the time except when dealing with selfies because it makes skin look so fake!

  • Reply Clarisse July 7, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    SE3 all the way! Plus, I abuse the exposure control wayyyy too much lol I like my whites as white as possible okay! :( will definitely try out Phonto, thanks to this blog post :D

    • Reply Helga July 8, 2015 at 6:27 pm

      I hate when I think the whites are white enough and then post it on Instagram ONLY TO SEE THAT IT DOESN’T MATCH THE WHITENESS OF THE PHOTOS NEXT TO IT hhahaha

  • Reply Elle Strange July 7, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    Yay! Thanks for this. I only know about VSCO because I don’t really explore much in photo editing tools around but I learned something new because of this! :)

    • Reply Helga July 8, 2015 at 6:27 pm

      You’re welcome! :)

  • Reply Ochi July 7, 2015 at 12:57 pm

    Very helpful! I love Snapseed because of its Sharpen feature. Unlike other mobile apps, the sharpening doesn’t look overly done. Using Phonto now!

    • Reply Helga July 8, 2015 at 6:31 pm

      That’s true! LOVE Snapseed.

  • Reply Alex Carpio July 7, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    Didn’t know Phonto could do that! Will definitely download once I get my hands on an Iphone again!

    • Reply Helga July 8, 2015 at 6:31 pm

      No more having to spend extra on fonts with Phonto!

  • Reply Nickle Love July 7, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    I used to just post my IG photos unfiltered. But then the filtered photos I see were just too pretty, so I started using VSCO. I also have snapseed but haven’t gotten used to using it yet, I use Pixlr for text or other adjustments. Thanks for this. I like brightness in my photos and guess I’ll try using Snapseed for that.

    • Reply Helga July 8, 2015 at 6:32 pm

      I hate Pixlr’s web app interface!

      • Reply Nickle Love July 8, 2015 at 10:34 pm

        I downloaded Phonto and read in the reviews that it’s different with iOS and Android. Like it’s not full feature or something. Unfair. LOL. But I like it. I can install fonts!

  • Reply Paoline July 7, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    Basically the same with you, except I use PicsArt instead of Phonto. I had Phonto before but found it a bit confusing (looking at the app now, I donut why I got confused he he he).

    I used to retrolux the shit out of my pictures in Snapseed LOL. But now I love to use it for the transformation tool for vertical and horizontal alignments. My current favorite VSCO filters are A5, HB1 (+ warmth/contrast, + tint), C1 (+tint), E2/3.

    I highly recommend PicsArt — it’s basically an easier to use and free version of Photoshop Mobile. One time I removed an entire person using this app. It has undo, no ads, you can add your own fonts, and do layers.

    • Reply Helga July 10, 2015 at 8:20 am

      I had Picsart before but I uninstalled it, I forgot why na!

  • Reply Aneth July 7, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    I’ve downloaded Snapseed a long time ago but don’t really use it bcos I only use VSCO. BRB, will download Phonto (I hope it has an Android version) and play with Snapseed.

  • Reply Yee July 7, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    I also learned Phonto from Ate Corith’s blog. So helpful, especially for lazy people like me who hates opening my laptop for Photoshop.. and you can also download fonts online. Though Phonto for Android and iOS are different. The features for Phonto in Android doesn’t include adding shapes. :(

    VSCO! <3

    • Reply Helga July 12, 2015 at 11:58 pm

      Oh no, sayang naman na it’s different on Android!

  • Reply Grace July 7, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    I downloaded Snapseed long long time ago, but it was soo confusing! My favorite photo editing app is VSCO. My favorite filters are A9, Qs, HBS and SE3 :) and wow, pwede palang mag install ng own fonts sa Phonto. I’ll download that app later. Thanks, Helga!

  • Reply Jamie July 7, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    I used to have Phonto when I had an iPhone 4 but it’s dead now lol so I don’t have it anymore. I loved that!

    Aaaanddd I didn’t know it was SnapSEED. I used to read it as snapspeed. Lolwhuuttttt!!

    Also, I miss Afterllight. I had my sister purchase it for me (and VSCo) because I was so into this red streaks that made my photos look like they’re film. Aahhh I wish I get a hand on an iPhone soon!

    • Reply Jamie July 7, 2015 at 4:12 pm

      These red streaks*

      • Reply Helga July 12, 2015 at 11:59 pm

        I love Afterlight’s texture and light streak layers!

  • Reply Justine July 7, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    Remember when Snapseed was $5.99? Thank the heavens Google bought it and made it free. These are also my holy grail apps, except for maybe Phonto. I used to use it before then I uninstalled it coz I preferred the convenience of Over.

  • Reply Jhanz July 7, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    I haven’t really used Snapseed, but now that I finally see how it’s used (haha such a shame) I think I wanna download it too! I usually use VSCO and Phonto for editing mobile pics tho. :)

    And yes, that table is GORGEOUS. Maybe you could bring a photo of it to someone who customizes furniture and have it done for a cheaper price lol

  • Reply Alissa July 7, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    I should reinstall Phonto, I forgot how amazing that app is! I usually use VSCO and picfx for my photos.

  • Reply Bae Milanes July 7, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    Hallelujah-ing this blog post. *insert clapping emoji that looks like a person praying*

  • Reply Mae July 7, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    Never heard of Snapseed until now, but I am currently downloading it as we speak. :) I just love tinkering with new photo apps. :D

  • Reply Dice July 7, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    I use Vscocam, Phonto, and Afterlight. Easier to use them compared to snapseed. Phonto is very good for putting words on the pictures :D

    Dice | ’96 Wild Heart

  • Reply Lou Castaneda July 8, 2015 at 12:04 am

    waah! So I didn’t know snapseed exists lol idk but the original photo looks so good already haha the lighting is fine! :)

  • Reply Monique July 8, 2015 at 1:02 am

    Holy cow Snapseed! I like how Snapseed made the photo look so so fine but not too bright unlike the rest! (?) I hope it’s available in Android! lol

  • Reply Camille Puche July 8, 2015 at 2:39 am

    I’ve tried Snapseed before but I feel like there’s too many things to click before you get the right look that you wanted. Hmm, maybe I should give it a try again! haha

    VSCO & Afterlight are my go to apps! Always!

    Phonto is wonderful! Sometimes I wish my iPhone6 is bigger so I can work around more when laying out the fonts/shapes. Lol. Tablet na lang! XD

  • Reply Chelsea July 8, 2015 at 11:11 am

    Thanks for sharing!! I love VSCO cam but I have to check out the others!

    xx Chelsea

  • Reply Aiza D. July 8, 2015 at 11:47 am

    I have the same routine for my photos, but I stop at VSCO. And move on to Photoshop. But, Ima try the app you suggested! Boyfie was the one who suggested Snapseed. And I hate to admit it, but I liked it.

  • Reply Janine Fowler July 8, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    I know I should do headers like that to look professional but I’m so OCD (pretty truly, not just being hyperbolic) and it would drive me crazy to change my design and not have everything match up. (It already bugs me that, like, images from much older posts are different sizes, and a bunch of other inconsistencies. Even though no one is going back through those archives except me, most likely, and definitely no one else is sitting around comparing them!)

    I like Pixlr. Not for headers and stuff but for quick editing, like stuff on my phone. Simple collages, and they have way more filters than Instagram for quick posting.

  • Reply Pia July 8, 2015 at 8:55 pm

    VSCO is life!! HAHAHA. Gotta go check out Snapseed though but your pictures look amazaing, as always! Oh by the way I was looking for articles for my thesis and then I cam across this one that used your picture (they gave proper credits naman) and I was like omg, Helga’s picture made it this far! Hahaha so awesome

  • Reply Trisha July 9, 2015 at 5:46 am

    I’ve been using VSCO lately and it’s my default photo editing app whenever I’d like to add filters to my photos on the go. (I still use Photoshop from time to time and it sure does take a while to do! I spent like an hour editing my Boracay photos for this post.)

    I’m still trying to get used to doing blog post drafts on my phone (I say this because I can’t do the draft directly on my WP dashboard in the office because my website is blocked hahahahaha) but hopefully I’ll get used to it soon! I need to start using my Note 4 efficiently LOL. This post is really helpful! Hopefully they have Snapseed and Phonto on Android! <3

  • Reply Gelleesh July 9, 2015 at 11:33 am

    I don’t have any of those apps in my phone… What a shame. Hehe. I guess, personally, I prefer doing it on Photoshop and wait until I get my hands on my laptop to go blog. Pero I’d like to use these apps for my Instagram posts! Will be checking them out. I only have Cymera and Instabox. LOL

  • Reply Patricia Willa July 10, 2015 at 12:46 am

    VSCO has always been my go-to whenever my photos needed more life or sparkle :D I have yet to try Snapseed!

    Tricia Willa | Eccentric Earthling

  • Reply Mikyu Maglasang July 10, 2015 at 9:08 am

    I think I’ve used Snapseed before, but what I’m constantly using now is, as expected, VSCO Cam. The filters just look so professional! I still experiment though ‘coz the filters provided sometimes aren’t enough to convey emotions through photos. :))

  • Reply Friday’s 10 Happy Things Vol. 3 | July 10, 2015 at 10:08 am

    […] was going to try Helga’s recommendation on using Phonto for editing photos on the go for this week’s Friday’s 10 Happy Things but apparently […]

  • Reply mitzie July 10, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    I have all these apps too! They really are life savers and an instant picker-upper when I’m bored too!

  • Reply Jean July 12, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    Thank you for the gift of sharing! <3

  • Reply Renz Bulseco July 13, 2015 at 9:02 pm

    Haha true! Editing photos for blog posts is easier these days. Although I’m more of an Afterlight user than VSCO because I found the latter confusing. Lol. And yes… Phonto – the life saver! :)

  • Reply Ziba July 14, 2015 at 1:32 am

    I love that you share all these cool resources for blogging. I am trying out Snapseed and I’m really into the dodge/burn brush option like whoah. Playing around more with it to find other features that I like.

  • Reply Janine September 13, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    I remembered you had written this awhile back so I went back to find it…

    Nothing is really making my photos as stunning as yours or other photo pro bloggers’ (duh) but I keep telling myself that’s OK for now. Just need to make my photos attractive enough (to me) that I don’t get too frustrated to blog from that alone! I do have Photoshop on my laptop (where I do all of my blogging even though I do have a WP app on my tablet) but I wanted something less overwhelming. I was happy to discover that Google+ offers the Snapseed editor! Normally I’m a Pixlr girl but I was impressed with Snap – the only downside is that you have to upload your photos to Google first, which kind of sucks, even though you can just delete them after, it’s a bit tedious.

    Anyway, thanks for the recommendation! Now I have a few editors to choose from, which is nice. I’m really neurotic so one-click editors really work better for me than tweaking things manually.

    I’d love a post on making the most of photos with a sub-par camera. I am using just my phone or tablet right now, unless I borrow a nicer camera. I am planning to buy a new camera but it still won’t be terribly expensive. (Oh, and a post with camera reccs for every budget would be awesome! Best for under $200, under $400, etc. As if you’re ever short of blog post ideas!)

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