The best iPhone photography filter and effect apps

By , Oct 17, 2013

App Store Fun with Filters Banner

Apple has a “Fun with Filters” section in the App Store now. It is a reminder of how many photo-editing apps there are out there. But, which ones are the best? It mostly depends on what you like to use photo editing apps for.

We’ve taking a close look at Apple’s list and weeded it down to our favorite photo filters and effects applications. Take you iPhone photography a step further with the various effects and textures offered by this selection of apps…

Pixelmator

Pixelmator

This powerful photo-editing app is so much more than just a way to pretty up your pictures. It has rich and robust artist tools so you can paint and sketch right over your photos. You can clear up an image, remove blemishes, distort backgrounds, and more. Plus, with the painting tools, you can make your real-life photo look like a comic book sketch. This app is available for $4.99.

Enlight

Enlight

This app takes photography art to a whole new level. With it, you can covert photos to paintings with overlays, sketch on a picture, or add a sticker, overlay two photos together and mask out a really neat looking effect, and more. Add custom texts, vignettes, light leaks, and a variety of frames to give your picture a finished look. This app is available for $3.99.

Filters for iPhone

Filters for iPhone

With more than 500 filters, including hand-painted graphics, gel overlays, and vintage film themes, you won’t soon run out of creative photo editing options. You can zoom in while editing to see what the overlay looks like close-up, add filters in real time, and adjust the intensity of every filter as you go. This app is available for $1.99.

VSCO

VCSO

If you prefer adding very subtle imaging effects, instead of making it look like you are using a Lomo cam, this app is perfect for giving your pictures that extra something, without just throwing a filter on top. You can fine-tune the temperature, exposure, and contrast to each filter. Then, add filters that offer specific enhancements. This app is available for free.

Repix

Repix

More than just a filter app, Repix is more like an artists app. Users create new and interesting effects on their photographs using nearly 30 brushes to add lighting enhancements, colors, effects, and more. Add borders and share your creations through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more. This app is available for free.

Mextures

Mextures

When you want to add texture, light leaks, and film grain to your pictures, Mextures is your app. You can apply an infinite number of layers to blend effects. Create formulas, similar to the way photographers do in their light room, and export your final picture with lightning speeds. This app is available for $1.99.

Afterlight

Afterlight

This straightforward editing app is simple, but features powerful tools to help you master the art of photo editing. There are 15 adjustment tools to enhance contrast, exposure, temperature and more. Choose from 56 filters and 66 textures, as well as cropping and rotation tools. This app is available for $0.99.

Matter

Matter

Turn your two-dimensional images into a world of 3-D art. With this app, you can add all manner of shapes and squiggles that have reflective properties, making it look like the 3-D ball was in the shot when you took the original photo. Make the shapes shiny or translucent, add shadows for a realistic effect, and blend shapes into the background with the soft masker. This app is available for $1.99.

Pixlr

Pixlr

AutoDesk’s photo app lets you crop, resize, and adjust your iPhone pictures. Remove red eye, whiten teeth, and add overlays and filters to make your images pop. Add lighting effects and a border to finalize your picture for easy sharing on Facebook. This app is available for free.

Photo Editor by Aviary

Photo Editor by Aviary

For a huge selection of filter apps, Aviary has you covered. You can enhance images with a single tap, add lots of effects and frames, crop, rotate, and straighten photos, sharpen and blur images, and more. Add stickers, focus on a subject, and share your creations on various social networking sites. This app is available for free.

These are some of our favorite photo filter and effects apps from Apple’s selection. What are your favorite photo filter apps?

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  • Zhimin BrownEyez

    OMG I WISH I GOT IPHONE 5s!!!!!!!

    • Jonathan

      You have about 2 years left before Apple stops selling them.

      • mobileuser

        Its been 2 years and they are still selling it 😛

      • Jonathan

        Wow, I vaguely remember posting that lol.

  • leart za jmi

    I hate mextures, its a good app, not great, but with the latest version i cant upgrade since i am in 6.0.1 and the app want ios 6.1 and latter…
    This is forcing the users to ios 7 and cant even write a review like this in appstore

    • gagetbOy

      why you still on 6.0.1?

      • leart za jmi

        after i loose the 5.1.1 jailbreak in july, i sold my iphone 4s and i find a new one in 6.0.1, its a new phone 🙂
        i know its a little stupid but i dont want a iphone without jailbreak, especially without my prefered tweak: Zephyr 🙂

      • gagetbOy

        understandable I got a google alert set for ios7 jailbreak and probably wont update my phone after that.

      • leart za jmi

        i hope ios 7 jailbreak come out this year, not like the ios 6 jailbreak, in february

      • And I’m still waiting for jailbreak on 6.1.3 .. I need to upgrade some other phones stucks on it the old 5.1.1 🙁

      • leart

        you have iPhone 4, or 3gs/ipod 4G?
        for the newer devices its impossible to upgrade to ios 6.1.3 now, i think you know that..

        Ios 5.1.1 was the best so far, but the problem is that apps now target iOS 5.1.1 and later to work

  • It’s good that VSCO is on the top 🙂

  • Thanks for the introduction to Aviary. I’ve seen the app in passing but hate to admit the app icon kind of scared me away. It’s a really beautiful app though., and easy to use. I guess don’t judge an app by its icon, huh?

  • Aviary > all

  • Markus Hudobnik

    VSCO cam, Mextures, Afterlight, and tangent are my favorites

  • Bosco

    I love Snapseed and VSCO

  • ✪ aidan harris ✪

    Am I the only person that dislikes filters? The only filters I tend to use are either black and white ones or ones with a sepia tone…

  • anonymous

    Where is Deco Sketch ??

  • Ahlamsalameh

    I GOT THE IPHONE 5s today NSIAMSILAMSJEKRM

  • hemanti

    Instafusion :The best iPhone photography app.
    Instafusion Top iPad Photo-Editing Apps !!!
    Instafusion is Best Photo Editing Apps and Awesome Apps to Edit
    Photographs on iPhone!!! Instafusion – Best Image Blending APP – top
    paid app in US AppStore !!

  • Bert Sandy

    i’m stuck on ios 5.1.1, after upgrading ios 7.0 i dislike it and i restore my phone to 5.1.1 it’s the only ios that cydia have on the server…

  • Jadealyn

    anything else? like really cool apps (editting apps i mean) who agress with me? 🙂 🙁

  • Carmela Jackson

    PicsArt Photo Studio

    loved

    PicLab HD and PicsArt Photo Studio also pixies fun with photos

  • srijan

    i use instaglass app to edit my photos…it works wonderfully..

  • shuvoshri

    Make your image look creative in seconds through photo effects studio effection app… i just love this app…

  • Charity Bets

    Pixlr is excellent. If you’re looking for something different, try Photowhack for iOS. Just released – it’s a free download that allows you top drop in 3D models into your photos to make amazing stuff. The app comes with a 3D sticker store – way better than Snapchat. They also give you some free models to play with on sign-up like Pacman and Morph. Really nice.