After the new algorithm (I’m sick and tired to mention it, but still ) forced us to put way more effort on the quality of the contents to get there – when before just a selfie with the hashtag #followme was doing the job, we’re all to discuss what it’s working and what’s not.

In other words, it’s all about those visuals.

The photo game steps up day by day, and yes, most of the contents nowadays are taken from mobile devices – HANDS UP, PHOTOGRAPHERS!

I’ve been researching for ages, downloaded the impossible, tried my very best in order to get a decent feed with quality photos, visual consistency and a bit of that WOW effect that, if you get lucky, leads to virality.

Ah, FYI, I am using just my mobile (iPhone X) and a 25$ tripod with a remote as hardware.

Sometimes a ring selfie light and a smaller table mobile stand, but, again, just occasionally.

(See more about my budget-friendly equipment in this post!)

 

PHOTOSHOP EXPRESS

Photoshop Express is a wonderful tool for preset editing. More or less like Instagram editing options, interface-wise, but with much more options and way, way more accurate.

There are many filters available, according to the kind of subject and basically, one tap does the whole job. You can also play with pop colors, duo-tones and a ton of different highlight options. Needless to say, you can adjust, crop and heal your photo according to your taste.

Additional functions: multi-text, stickers (which I don’t go crazy for), perspective correction, collages (more sophisticated and versatile than Layout – you can even add the same filter to every single photo!), and the possibility to send your work directly to your Photoshop on your laptop

 

LIGHTROOM

Lightroom App, another Adobe’s ace in the pocket, is a completely free amazing tool that lets you make wonders out of a plain shot. As the name suggests (Captain Obvious was here), it’s kind of the best app out there to play with lights and highlights.

I love Lightroom because even after 15 minutes of fingertip editing, the result looks always natural and sharp.

Lightroom also has another great resource: the presets. On the web, there are a bazillion of downloadable ready-made “filters” to implement in the app.

Perks? Not only they save you time and hassle, but also they give that uniformity!

I am a huge fan of presets: most of the times they are authentic miracle-makers. Many bloggers sell theirs online, but you can download some very nice ones for free from many reliable sources, through a quick research.

 

FACE TUNE 2

FaceTune 2 has many locked functions, but the free version has always served me well, mainly because I use it for 4 reasons:

  • Face Retouch (if necessary) : A very natural-looking smoothing tool that heals lights imperfections (I am against those barbie filters that give that life-in-plastic-it’s-fantastic breeze, if you know what I mean)
  • Selective Whitening : Great to enhance the whites you mean to highlight (eyes-teeth or other surfaces)
  • Selective Details Function : To make the smallest details in a rich context rise or to give a crisp look to eyes and faces
  • Defocus : Make the background disappear or blur – you choose the intensity of the lens! This is my favorite tool of all.

It clearly offers also the standard pack, so crop, adjust, color balance etc, but the above-mentioned options are those that make this app worth a download.

AFTERLIGHT

Hey, this is my favorite, FYI.

Afterlight gives its very best in the PRO version, so I highly recommend to go for the 3,49 $ version that’s going to open a world of possibilities. Afterlight sums up most of the functionalities of the previously mentioned apps, and much more.

Alongside the never-ending choice of filters and presets, the possibility to customize lights and highlights + all the common basic functions, Afterlight offers some irresistible options that ALL THE MAJOR BLOGGERS out there are using.

  • Selective saturation: Choose to boost some colors to make this/that color pop/shut down.
  • Dust Overlay: The Dust Overlay function it’s really all over the place. Seriously, and for a reason. It gives the photo a naturally vintage look to die for.

 

PHOTOSHOP MIX

This is an app that I will probably never use like a pro, but that still saved my a**  a million times.

Let’s say the background has the perfect light and focus, but what you really want to emphasize is blurred and dark… what you do? Two separate snaps and yay- no one can tell! (most of the times :D)

Or you just want to troll your friends by showing a photo of you in Iceland… cut and combine with Photoshop Mix from your mobile!

To use it, I highly recommend a stylus, rather than your fingertips. A certain precision is required.

It’s really as easy as it seems. The smart cut of the app does basically every hard work, but still, sometimes you need to refine the borders or overlay more than once in order to get the desired result. It’s a kind of real-life collage job – no kidding. Back to primary school arts and crafts.

     

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