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5 Best Photo Filter Apps for iPhone and Android (2021)

Last Updated on Sep. 30, 2021 – by David Morgan
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Best Photo Filter Apps

Whether you're a blogger, vlogger, content creator, or simply enjoy using social media to share your life with friends, the perfect lighting, color grading, and filters can transform your photos from ordinary to extraordinary.

That said, learning how to edit Instagram photos to capture a consistent look can take years of practice. Or you could let a photo filter app do all the work for you.

The best photo filter apps allow you to add styles or apply a quick fix for photos such as automatically adjusting your images' color, lighting, and tint to capture your vision. For the best result, it’s critical to find the right photo filter app to suit your needs.

Today, we'll be comparing our favorite photo filter apps. One of these is sure to fit your needs.

Top Instagram Photo Editing Apps

1. PhotoDirector

PhotoDirector Logo

After downloading PhotoDirector for iPhone or Android, you'll quickly realize why the app is our top choice. PhotoDirector features one of the widest selections of photo filters. With more constantly being added with its constant updates.

Even better, PhotoDirector can do so much more than applying filters to photos.

The app includes all the editing tools creators of different skill levels need to make stunning images. From guided modules to advanced AI-powered functions like sky replacement and photo animation, PhotoDirector places limitless creativity in the palm of your hand.

Experiment with trendy Instagram effects like bokeh lighting or dispersion or create themed collages that make photo-sharing simple. No matter how you use PhotoDirector, you can count on the powerful app for all your photo creation needs.

PhotoDirector Filters Banner

Key Features:

  • Thousands of photo filters, collage templates, and stickers
  • AI-powered sky replacement, object removal, and animation tools
  • Advanced visual effects like dispersion and bokeh effect


  • Beginner-friendly editing interface
  • Basic and professional-grade editing tools
  • Little to no learning curve for beginners


  • Contains a wide array of options that may overwhelm first-time users

2. Canva

Canva Logo

Canva comes with templates and lots of design elements. Users can access creative elements, including stickers, collages, and fonts.

The app also includes additional tools that make it easy to establish an aesthetic and create shareable content. However, Canva's premium platform lacks a wide range of photo editing tools and filters like those found in PhotoDirector's library.

Key Features:

  • Free templates and design elements
  • Beginner-friendly creative hub


  • Comprehensive branding and design tools
  • Pre-made graphic templates


  • Limited photo filter options



Instagram users worldwide love VSCO's simplified, user-friendly mobile editing app for a variety of reasons. The app includes all the essential editing tools you need to customize photos, plus a few advanced features. You can create and save custom filters to suit your taste, too.

Even so, like Canva, VSCO's collection of free filters is limited compared to platforms like PhotoDirector. The app also comes with a learning curve that may confuse or frustrate beginners.

Key Features:

  • Dozens of customizable filters and presets
  • Beginner-friendly layout


  • Endless filter customization options
  • Easy color grading and lighting adjustments


  • Free plan does not include most filters

4. Adobe Lightroom

Adobe Lightroom Logo

Adobe Lightroom has been known for color correction for years on Windows and Mac. The mobile version editing platform keeps that trend going. It has dozens of filters and editing tools that transform your images' colors quickly and easily.

If you want to make advanced edits, though, you may feel somewhat limited by Lightroom. Unlike PhotoDirector, the app focuses on basic adjustments rather than providing users with a full range of editing tools.

Key Features:

  • Precision editing tools
  • Simplified, intuitive interface


  • Comprehensive array of photo presets
  • Solid lineup of beginner to intermediate functions


  • Limited editing capabilities

5. Snapseed

Snapseed Logo

Snapseed's lightweight photo editing and filter app makes it easy to alter photos on the go. It features a number of editing features, filters, presets, and auto-adjustment tools that take the hassle out of editing. Despite all Snapseed's tools, its Tune Image function may be the most impressive.

The feature fine-tunes photos with customizable scales that allow you to capture the perfect balance of warmth, light, and color. On the downside, Snapseed does present a moderate learning curve and lacks the guided modules found in PhotoDirector.

Key Features:

  • Dozens of editing features, filters, and templates
  • Intuitive editing and visual effect tools


  • Free editing interface
  • Automatic lighting and color grading tools


  • Moderate learning curve


Whether you prefer to create custom color corrections or make quick edits with a preset, a filter app can elevate a snapshot into a professional-quality photograph. That said, finding the best photo filter app isn’t easy.

Only PhotoDirector combines limitless creativity with advanced editing tools and dozens of filters. While even beginners can dive in with PhotoDirector, the interface packs a powerful punch of functionality. You’ll never feel limited by the app’s editing tools. You can expand your creative horizons with AI-powered Instagram photo effects and intuitive tools that take the hassle out of editing.

Download PhotoDirector for iPhone or Android today and start creating professional-quality images you’ve always envisioned.


What is a photo filter?

Photo filters act as a one-tap fix for many images. The software automatically applies a preset overlay to images that alter specific aspects, including:

  • Color
  • Lighting
  • Exposure
  • Saturation
  • White balance

What are the different kinds of photo filters?

Photo filters vary widely in style and function. Some photo editors use filters to subtly tweak images, while others use dramatic overlays featuring vivid colors or dramatic lighting. Examples of photo filters include:

  • Vignette filters
  • Grayscale overlays
  • Polaroid filters
  • Pastel filters
  • Grunge filters

What is a RAW file?

RAW files are uncompressed images that come directly off a camera or scanner. The uncompressed files contain unprocessed or minimally processed images in their original quality. Because of their size, photographers usually convert RAW files into a smaller format before editing.

What is a JPG?

Unlike RAW files, JPG files contain a compressed version of digital photographs. The image format has become the most popular due to its adjustable compression ratios, consistent quality, and small file size, allowing easy transferring, uploading, and editing. You can upload and edit a JPG file on virtually every editing platform.

What is a PNG?

PNG –or Portable Graphics Format – files are nearly as commonly used as JPG files. However, PNG files maintain their lossless quality. In addition, PNG files work well for graphic and web design due to their transparent backgrounds.

Can I use photo filters on my Windows PC or Mac?

While each platform varies, you can apply photo filters on your Windows PC or Mac when working with high-quality editing software. Our top choice on this PhotoDirector has both a Windows and Mac version.

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