Smart Creative Technology: My 8 Favorite Photo & Video Editing Apps

A creative business person has to get pretty... well... creative, sometimes. Not just the inspired sort of creative that generates innovative ideas and beautiful artwork. You need the type of creative that can make something look amazing for $1, take your work to the next level without having to take out a loan, and use what you already have to get what you want. Today I'm sharing how I'm getting by without an expensive DSLR or fancy video camera, and using 8 free photo & video editing apps on my iPhone to produce quality images for my blog and Instagram.

 
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8 Favorite iphone apps to edit photo & video

A Color Story: This is the app I use the most, for photo editing! There are so many photo editing apps out there, but this is the one I find myself returning to every time. Most photos I take from my iPhone are for social media purposes, such as Instagram, and A Color Story feels like it was designed just for that! Created by the bloggers of A Beautiful Mess (who are certainly Instagram famous) it not only has a variety of free filters that go oh-so-well with Instagram, the editing tools themselves are pretty robust! I do have Adobe Creative Suite, so any photo editing that is going to a client or used for marketing is edited there. However, a quick shot taken with my phone can be significantly brightened and the colors made bolder by 30 seconds of work in A Color Story. You can even save your editing so you can apply the same steps and tools to other photos, to achieve a consistent look.

 
Choosing from the free filters in A Color Story

Choosing from the free filters in A Color Story

Using the A Color Story app curve function

Using the A Color Story app curve function

 

Canva: I have heard from so many people that Canva is a lifesaver. Oddly, I use it much more in my day job as a college administrator than I do in my work at danielle & co.; having access to Photoshop and Illustrator, I've created templates for blog post images and other marketing that I can use every time for an efficient and consistent result. Canva has a lot of advantages, though, and occasionally it's nice to be able to generate something already sized perfectly for each specific social media platform. I especially enjoy the variety of fonts and that you can add little "design elements" so easily.

 
Canva has templates for a variety of social medias

Canva has templates for a variety of social medias

A peek at Canva's extra design elements

A peek at Canva's extra design elements

 

iMovie: This is the app I edit 99% of my Instagram videos with. It's free, easy to use, and offers features I haven't found anywhere else. Most of my videos are taken using an iPhone mounted on a tripod, and in order to have it turned to where there is decent lighting, I need to rotate the video later. Instagram wants your videos square and centered, but the iPhone doesn't shoot video in a squared format. So, I use iMovie to rotate and zoom in the video so it is just-right for Instagram. I also use it to speed up the video and to cut out parts that no one wants to see (like a pause where I stop to talk to one of my kids, or the cat jumps up into the screen). It took me awhile to figure it out, so here is my pro tip: If you want to speed the video up more than the max iMovie allows, speed it up to the max, save it as a finished movie, then speed it up all over again! It doesn't let you go all the way to the max again (that I can figure out, at least) but I've done this process with a video up to 3 times to achieve the speed I wanted.

 
Adjusting the speed in iMovie

Adjusting the speed in iMovie

Editing clips within a video in iMovie

Editing clips within a video in iMovie

 

Layout: This is a free app created by Instagram to create collages of photos. The ease of use is amazing (it is just so intuitive), and of course it turns out results perfect for Instagram. That being said, it isn't my actual favorite app for collages. That is...

Fotor: This is my default collage-making-app. I appear to make a strangely large amount of photo collages. Sometimes it's personal, such as photos of my kids on the first and last days of school or before and after photos of weight loss I wouldn't show anyone but myself. It can also be great to whip up a collage of different projects or art supplies I recommend to share on Instagram. Fotor has a few advantages over Layout, such as being able to adjust the thickness of the borders. It's a small thing, but I appreciate it.

A peek at the Layout app

A peek at the Layout app

Choosing collage templates in Fotor

Choosing collage templates in Fotor

Adjusting the border width in Fotor (one of my favorite features)

Adjusting the border width in Fotor (one of my favorite features)

ImgPlay: This app is a must for showing a good "before and after". It takes a series of still photos and turns them into a GIF showing each step. I love it for looking at my own house project before and afters, but also for showing the different steps in a work of art (such as sketching it out, inking it, painting it, etc.).

Hyperlapse: This app offers a way to take videos for Instagram that are sped way up right off the bat, without having to use an editing tool like iMovie. The app can take up to 45 minutes of footage (assuming your phone is charged enough!) and can speed it up to 40x the original playback speed. Recently, I've mostly used iMovie as I'm still figuring out lighting and camera angles, and enjoy the extra editing ability. Hyperlapse saves time and energy, however, and produces a smoother video since it has an image stabilization algorithm to get rid of the jitters.

Boomerang: This is a "goal" app for me. I have tried it out, and it is so fun! It takes a little bit of practice to get the timing down just right, so I'm hoping I can practice with it more in the future. It takes a very quick video, and shows it as a fast and fun repeat.

Of course, the starting place is the standard camera app. The iPhone camera has come a long way in terms of quality, but the other function I use the most is to choose the "square" option prior to taking photos. This feature has saved me a lot of time cropping photos for use on Instagram! I know many people use the "live" photo feature, but I find it uses up too much space on my phone and hasn't had a lot of practical purposes.

If you’re hesitant to start a creative endeavor because of lack of resources (money, time, a subscription to Photoshop), I encourage you to see what you can get done with what you have! What free apps or resources do you use for photo & video?

- Dani

 

 

Photo in blog post main image by Jordan McQueen on Unsplash