By Ann Young 4 days ago Software Reviews
Add favorite effects to your smartphone pics with these filter apps.
Enhance your everyday shots for Instagram with colorful filters even if you don’t have a photo editor. Nowadays, there are a number of really decent and free filter apps.
To save time on finding the best one, I have put together a list of 10 filter apps that are popular this year. Each of these apps is free and can suit both iPhone and Android owners.
Best filters’ app with customizable filters
VSCO is one of the most popular filter apps and best programs for fine-tuning all filters. Instead of the usual “Filters” section, VSCO offers “Presets”. Each collection of Free VSCO Presets resembles a film effect.
In the presets section, you will find a wide range of both color and black and white filters organized into separate collections. After applying the filter, VSCO offers a single slider for adjusting the intensity of the effects.
With its help, you may soften the effect or make it more intense. In addition, it is possible to make additional adjustments, like setting color, exposure sharpness, skin tone, film grain, vignette, etc.
The presence of a built-in camera is also worth mentioning. You can snap a picture directly from the VSCO editor and, in fact, immediately continue editing it.
The camera has some fine adjustments, in the form of a focus point, ISO and white balance.
Access the full range of over 130 VSCO filters as well as additional picture correction tools by signing up for a VSCO’s membership ($19.99 per year).
A wonderful set of filters for portraits which are available for free
Snapseed’s set of filters makes it the best filters app for experienced photographers. Filter categories include black and white, vintage, grunge, grainy film, Retrolux and Glamour Glow.
A part of the Snapseed filters isn’t as delicate as in similar applications. However, they are adjustable so you can lower the effects’ intensity.
Among other things, I often use a portrait filter for my shots. It brightens the face, smoothes the skin and makes the eyes shine.
One of the distinctive features is non-destructive picture editing. It means that you may delete or change any individual edit at any time in the future.
Once you have applied some changes to the shot, tap the "Edit History" icon at the top of the screen. Here you can remove any of the layers.
Snapseed is capable of adding HDR effects and adjusting curves with a designated control point on your shots. In addition, Snapseed provides a brush mask and healing customization functions, just like professional software.
Over 100 filters, including 40 motion effects
Color Story is one of the best free photo filter apps that exceeds Instagram’s integrated filters. Its aim is to improve the shots with vivid colors. The application’s filters increase the brightness and saturation of all colors, including white.
On the whole, Color Story freshens up the shot, making it more original.
This photo filters app offers more than 100 filters, including 40 motion effects: lens flare, bokeh, light leakage, glow and texture. You may move, resize, rotate these effects and adjust the transparency.
In addition, there is the ability to create your own filters and save them for future use.
Aside from filters, Color Story provides 20 additional tools, including brushes, curves, sliders for adjusting shadows, exposure, etc. The batch editing feature lets you apply filters and other changes to multiple shots at once.
This is a great opportunity to save time when you have plenty of similar pictures to edit.
Advanced filters for Insta pics
Darkroom is a powerful, feature-rich editor offering a large selection of filters. An interesting feature is that with the help of Darkroom, you can apply a filter to the "live photo".
Photo filters range from bright and colorful to faded vintage and monochrome. They are organized into categories, including landscape, portrait and black and white. You may adjust the intensity of the filter with the slider.
There is an opportunity to create your own filters and save them as presets for future use. In addition, the free version of Darkroom provides batch editing mode, which lets you apply filters and other adjustments to the whole album of shots at once.
Also, don’t forget that Darkroom has a collection of advanced picture editing tools. Among them are HSL, curves, selective adjustments, shadow settings, exposure, healing brush and more.
Most of the tools Darkroom provides are completely free. But there are only 12 free filters, while the full, premium collection consists of 50 options.
Filters created by famous photographers
Afterlight is the photo filter app that offers plenty of professional filters created by famous photographers.
Each available filter in Afterlight is designed to convey a certain mood in the shot, not just add brightness, contrast, etc. They range from cool and fresh to grungy and vintage, giving you great flexibility for different styles.
You may use the filters separately or in combination with the manual adjustment tools: edit the tone, saturation and intensity of the effect. Additional special effects include selective coloring, double exposure and dust textures.
Aside from ready-made filters and overlays, you may create your own presets and use them in the future. Also, it is worth mentioning that regular presets in Afterlight are grouped by color.
On the top of each filter, you will see a line of a single color – blue, green, red, purple or orange. It indicates that the filter belongs to a certain category. This is made for users’ convenience.
Advanced filters with the mask tool
Enlight is undoubtedly the best filter app for iPhone with a vast selection of remarkable, fully adjustable filters. With the Analog filters, you can create a film-like effect in shots.
The BW filters consist of classy black and white along with vintage sepia presets. The Duo filters add eye-catching duotone gradients featuring two colors.
I like that Enlight enables you to tweak ready-made professional photo filters and save them as separate presets. Among the adjustment tools you will find: brightness, grain, film, adding fade and vignette.
For advanced users, Enlight provides the “Mask” tool. It is used for point correction. For instance, you can use the B&W filter for the sunset (the background of the shot), and for the foreground (the main object in the shot) – a contrasting red color, thereby making the shot expressive, unique.
Just like Afterlight, Enlight Photofox app is free to download. But most filters and tools, including the Mask, are only available in the paid version, priced at $3.99.
Standard photo filter app
Instagram is the most popular social network and basically a basic photo editor. The application offers more than 30 filters that you can use for free. The most popular ones among them are Clarendon, Juno, Ludwig, Lark, Gingham, Lo-fi.
But these filters are used by every other person, so there is no uniqueness in the final shot. For this reason, Instagram occupies the seventh place on my list of top photo filter apps.
The slider lets you adjust the filter’s intensity. Besides, the application can let you tweak exposure, color, sharpness and fade. Adding tilt-shift or vignette effects is possible as well.
The integrated camera deserves special attention. Here you can find not only photo and video shooting function but also other modes, such as boomerang, superzoom, hands-free.
To each of these shooting styles, you may apply a filter, as well as use a variety of “live masks” and overlays.
Unlike other filter apps on my list, Instagram’s features are too limited. You don’t have the possibility to save the filter as a separate preset and use it later. Moreover, there are no layers and the mask tool.
The best camera with filters
Retrica is the best app for filters with a film-like effect, transforming the smartphone into a retro camera. I’ve had no idea that Retrica provides such a vast variety of filters – 80 in total, 55 in the free version.
Besides, the application offers a randomization mode, a timer, interval shooting and a blurring effect. The out-of-focus blur feature is very useful as it grants you the ability to focus only on yourself and blurs the background.
The same as Instagram, Retrica boasts plenty of options for creating shots, videos, gifs and even collages. Aside from a large selection of real-time effects and filters, Retrica offers stamps, stickers, drawings, cutting options and texts for decoration.
However, I don’t like the fact that you have to make an extra in-app purchase in both pro and free Retrica versions to save pictures exported from the library.
The largest number of free filters
Polarr mobile offers an impressive number of filters for photos (including more than 150 paid ones) for your creative experiments. All of the filters are organized into different artistic categories, which greatly simplifies the work.
Similar to other applications, the intensity of the effect may be adjusted using the slider.
Unlike most free filter apps, Polarr offers not only to create your own filters for future use but also share them with other users.
Another benefit of the application is the ability to add weather effects to the shots. You can add subtle light flare, snow and clouds at the touch of a button, create stunning sunsets or raindrops to convey a melancholic mood.
When you buy Polarr Pro for $2.49/month or $23.99/year, you have an option to work closely with the desktop version. You can apply a couple of filters and overlays using your smartphone, and send a shot to the desktop to see the finished result on the big screen.
Beautiful film filters, but frequent delays and crashes
Mextures provides a variety of remarkable film-style filters and the ability to convert to black and white picture. You may add and mix an unlimited number of effect layers to create unique edits.
After applying the filter, use picture post-production tools to adjust the color, exposure and sharpness.
Another interesting feature of the application is a huge collection of structures, film grain effects, light leaks and colorful gradients. They add a wonderful mood and artistic edge to the shots.
All changes that have been made to the filter/texture can be saved as a separate preset and used in the future. In addition, you may install ready-made presets created by other users in the personal store.
Mextures is a paid app, costing $1.99. Make an in-app purchase and get more collections of filters to experiment with.