How to make your phone-photography look like a professional photo: an app guide and how-to.

Hello, friends! If you follow me on any sort of social media, you know that making my photos look professional and clean is incredibly important to me (as it should be, I’m a photographer). What some of you don’t know is that a large percent of the photos I post on my Instagram or Facebook are actually taken with my crappy iphone 6S (screen cracked and all!).

Let’s get right to it. I use 3 apps for editing all of my photos taken with my phone: Afterlight, Facetune (when it’s a photo of a face), and VSCO Cam. Let me break them down for you:


I use this app exclusively for the highlight, midtone, and shadow feature. In the photo below of me taking a shameless selfie in the H&M fitting room, you can see the icons below that allow you to adjust the colors within the midtones, shadows, and highlights. This is a great feature to make whites a truer white (I usually up the blue in the highlights section to achieve this). When I enter the app, I go straight for brightness, then to the highlights, shadows, and midtones, and then I sharpen. Because I love my photos to have crisp edges.

As you’ll see in the before and after, the “after” photo has a lot of truer whites, crisp edges, and softer feel to it. Download the app here.


Now, I get that a ton of photographers are super frustrated with this app. It has airbrushing tools, tools to blur the background, detail enhancing tools, and ways to alter the body to look slimmer and more flawless, etc. It took us a LONG time to figure these features out in Lightroom and Photoshop, and most of us don’t really condone altering faces and bodies so they fit into societal expectations. With that being said, it is a very well made app and serves the purpose of enhancing photos when done in a gentle, non-body-negative way. What do I use it for? I use it for buffing out blemishes and sharpening the details in the eyes. The texture of our skin often shows up looking too rough in photos.

My steps in Facetune go as follows: I open the app, use the smoothing tool (it is a                   raindrop icon that says “smooth” underneath), I smooth out the cheeks, forehead                 and  chin. Next, I use the “details” tool (which looks like a striped triangle that says               “details” underneath), and I run my finger over the eyes of the photo to enhance the             shine and details of the lashes. Then, get out of that app and don’t you DARE alter your waist-line. Because you’re perfect. Use this app sparingly…I rarely use it for my photos, but if you must, be gentle with yourself. Download the app here.


If you’re only going to edit your photos with one of these apps, choose this one. VSCO Cam is the app of all photo-editing apps. It is set up similarly to Instagram with a row of filters below the photo you’re editing. In fact, it’s also a social media network JUST like Instagram where you can share your photos with other using VSCO to edit their photos.

What sets VSCO Cam apart from other photo editing apps is the quality of the colors in the app. Yes, you do pay for some packages in VSCO Cam if you want a different look and feel. But they top out at $2.99 and there is one large package of a TON of gorgeous filters that’s $9.99, but let me tell you: it is worth it. You can select the filters, tweak them with the editing tools (sharpen, brighten, highlights, shadows, clarify, temperature, etc.) until it suits your style and photography needs. Seriously guys, this one is a MUST. I swear that this app will make your photos look 10 times better in just one click. So, download it, and watch your photos transform. Download the app here.

As you can see in the photos below, VSCO Cam adds more depth, richness in color, and drama into a photo that is otherwise incredibly ordinary. My coffee and sugar went from being on a crumb covered table in my parents house, to coffee and sugar on a deep, mahogany wooden table in the woods somewhere. And still crumbs on the table (Maybe Facetune can get rid of those? ha!).


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YES, gimme gimme.

3 thoughts on “How to make your phone-photography look like a professional photo: an app guide and how-to.

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