a person holding a cell phone in their hand using a photo editing app.

6 Most Aesthetic Photo Editing Apps in 2023

If you're looking for a mobile app that makes aesthetic edits, this guide to the 6 most popular options will help you in your quest to creating better photos.

Looking to create some aesthetic pictures on Instagram to boost your Likes?

Aesthetic photo editing apps can help transform your dull images into the best photos on the ‘Gram!

I like playing around with all the filters and tools on free photo editing apps to create aesthetic photos for my Instagram stories.

All the top aesthetic photo editing apps also come with some impressive video editing tools for putting together Instagram Reels or Shorts for YouTube.

Read on, and I’ll break down the photo editing apps you can install today to create aesthetic pictures for your social media platform of choice.

6 Aesthetic Editing Apps to Check Out in 2023

Image Product Features
shk2-table__imageAdobe Lightroom Photo & Video Editor
  • User-Friendly & Accessible
  • Great Selection Of Photo Filters
  • Features In-Depth Editing Tools
  • Live Camera Feature Included
shk2-table__imagePhotoDirector: AI Photo Editor
  • Free AI Avatar Creator
  • Large Selection Of Filters
  • Useful Background Tools
  • Extensive Portrait Enhancement Tools
  • Customised For Instagram Stories
  • Includes A Feed Planner & Post Scheduler
  • Plenty Of Templates Included
  • Video Editing Included
  • Simple To Use Interface
  • Huge Selection Of Presets
  • Geared Toward Social Media Content
  • Great Colour & Exposure Tools
shk2-table__imageTone Studio
  • Instagram-friendly User Interface
  • Capable Video Filters
  • Advanced Adjustments With RGB Curves
  • Gorgeous Vintage-style Photo Aesthetic
  • Over 40 Mobile Photo Filters
  • Comprehensive Selection Of Presets
  • Instagram Feed Planner
  • Instagram-friendly Templates


1. Adobe Lightroom Photo Editing App


  • User-friendly and accessible
  • Features in-depth editing tools
  • Great selection of photo filters
  • Live camera feature included
  • Can generate revenue selling your own presets
  • Pre-created presets could be better
  • Over-complicated for beginners

Adobe Lightroom needs little introduction even for the most casual photographer, and is available as a free photo editing app for iPhone and Android users in addition to the more comprehensive desktop version.

It incorporates several more advanced tools you’ll find on the full version of the app, from basic photo editing tools for adjusting composition to the ability to create masks to fine-tune changes.

Removing unwanted objects from your images is simple, while processing tools such as colour grading and tone curves allow for versatility when creating an aesthetic picture.

There is also a range of photo editing effects you can apply with a simple tap, along with optical effects and other more advanced tools for enhancing your own photos.

Adobe Lightroom also comes with several presets you can use, as well as the option to create – and sell – your own presets to achieve a personalised photo aesthetic in a matter of minutes.

With a host of video features included, Adobe Lightroom photo and video editor is among the best apps available for those willing to invest the time to master its broad selection of powerful tools.

Lightroom for mobile is a free photo editing app, but you can upgrade for premium features – my favourite of which is the ability to share pictures and edits between my mobile and my computer.

PhotoDirector: AI Photo Editor

a series of photoshopped photoshopped on a cell phone.

  • Free AI avatar creator
  • Large selection of filters
  • Useful background tools
  • Extensive portrait enhancement tools
  • Premium version required for some features
  • Pop up ads slow the experience

Cyberlink’s full photo editing suite PhotoDirector for desktop delivers an impressive selection of editing and manipulation tools you can use for your content.

The AI Photo Editor app strips back some of the more advanced features for a streamlined version that focuses on AI-based image manipulation.

There are lots of basic editing tools you can access for quick alterations, including cropping and rotating, as well as blur, denoise, and dehaze.

The option to adjust exposure, contrast, highlights, and shadows makes AI Photo Director a great option for general aesthetic photo editing on the go.

Where PhotoDirector: AI Photo Editor excels is the many portrait adjustment tools and filters it features, making it a solid choice for Instagram content creators.

Removing blemishes, smoothing skin tones, and even enhancing noses can all be accomplished without any technical proficiency.

The range of additional tools for text, stickers, backgrounds, and other theme templates makes AI Photo Editor among the more comprehensive photo editing apps for Android and Apple devices.


a screen of Unfold App home page

  • Customised for Instagram Stories
  • Includes a feed planner and post scheduler
  • Plenty of templates included
  • Video editing included
  • Limited library of photo filters
  • Less useful for non-Instagram content

There are various photo editing apps that are designed for broad applications, but Unfold is targeted almost exclusively toward creatives working on updating their Instagram feed.

Featuring a clean and intuitive interface and a range of templates to use for your next Instagram story, Unfold strips back its tools to focus on those which matter the most to its target user base.

Instagram users can access the story and post templates, and then use this photo editing app to apply aesthetically pleasing effects before scheduling them to post on their account.

Templates range from skeuomorphic templates featuring ripped paper, and film frame looks, with a great selection of template editing options to create your own styles.

There are also many photo filters to choose from, and while these are somewhat lacking compared to more advanced photo editing apps, there’s still lots of scope for creative manipulation.

While those looking for a comprehensive photo and video editing app will be shortchanged, Instagram content creators will find plenty to love about Unfold’s aesthetic photo editor and templates.


  • Simple to use interface
  • Huge selection of presets
  • Perfect for beginners
  • Geared toward social media content
  • Great colour and exposure tools
  • A paid account is required for most filters
  • Lacking dark-mode support

VSCO is an increasingly popular photo editing app that allows users to refine their own editing style and utilise a variety of filters before sharing on their social media platform of choice.

Drawing on their previous experience developing filter plug-ins for Photoshop, VSCO is available as a free app you can download from the Google Play Store and Apple Store.

This smartphone-centric approach to editing photos is reflected in the neat and pared-down interface, which is easy to navigate and apply edits and presets to your images.

Categories for Featured, Essential, and Popular presets make VSCO a great aesthetic photo editor for beginners who don’t have the time and patience to learn complex image manipulation processes.

For those who do prefer a more hands-on approach, tools such as contrast, exposure, dodge and burn, and other adjustments can be easily applied to photographs.

One-tap social media sharing has helped to make VSCO the go-to app for Instagram and Snapchat content creators looking to create aesthetic pictures to share with their followers.

Tone Studio

a screen shot of Tone Studio App homepage

  • Instagram-friendly user interface
  • Capable video filters
  • Advanced adjustments with RGB curves
  • Gorgeous vintage-style photo aesthetic
  • It can be prone to glitches
  • Edits aren’t saved when the app is closed

The creation of Instagram influencers Lauren Bullen and Jack Morris, Tone Studio is one of the latest aesthetic photo editing apps designed for Instagram content creators.

Its selection of creative filters is the real draw, and is capable of delivering a gorgeous vintage look that seamlessly blends gorgeous colour tones for a uniquely aesthetic photo.

These filters can also be applied to video content, making it a fun experience to use when you edit videos compared to other apps in this category.

This means you can easily create classy content that captures a neat retro vibe without going through a steep learning curve to accomplish great results.

While more proficient photographers will be put off by the absence of advanced editing features, Instagrammers looking to quickly create aesthetic pictures will get plenty of use from Tone Studio.

Tezza App

a screenshot of Tezza App homepage

  • A comprehensive selection of presets
  • Instagram-friendly templates
  • Over 40 mobile photo filters
  • Instagram feed planner
  • A premium subscription is required for all features
  • Customer support is lacking

The Tezza App is another great photo editing app with its eye firmly on the Instagram user market, with a broad selection of templates and filters to get results in an instant.

It boasts one of the best built-in selections of presets you’ll find on a photo editing app, from vintage film looks to more contemporary and colourful presets.

Available for iPhone and Android devices, the Tezza App comes in several subscription packages depending on the extent of features you’ll need, making it a great budget option for image editing.

In addition to the many photo templates and filters, there are also plenty of great-looking vintage and decorative photo frames you can apply before sharing the result on Instagram.

It’s also a solid app for applying textures to photos, including dust, plastic, and paper textures that enhance the overall aesthetic feel and brings additional depth to images.

Those looking for a beginner-friendly app for a great Instagram aesthetic with plenty of premium features should consider the Tezza App for their social media content creation.

What Are Some Popular Aesthetic Photo Styles?

a person holding a cell phone in their hand showing Instagram pictures in app

Credit: Jakob Owens

Here are some trending looks on Instagram to give you some inspiration for creating an aesthetic Instagram feed layout.

Hippie Girl Aesthetic:

  • Bohemian-inspired visuals with a free-spirited and laid-back vibe.
  • Flowy clothing, floral patterns, and earthy tones.
  • Embracing nature, peace, love, and harmony.
  • Incorporating elements like fringe, feathers, and natural materials.
  • Reflecting a carefree and non-conformist lifestyle.

Cottagecore Aesthetic:

  • Rustic and whimsical imagery reminiscent of a cozy countryside lifestyle.
  • Natural settings, cottage-inspired decor, and vintage elements.
  • Embracing simplicity, traditional crafts, and rural aesthetics.
  • Focus on gardening, baking, and enjoying simple pleasures.
  • Capturing a nostalgic and idyllic sense of tranquillity.

Dark Academia Aesthetic:

  • Mysterious and intellectual visuals inspired by classic literature and academia.
  • Books, libraries, and vintage aesthetics.
  • Embracing knowledge, introspection, and scholarly pursuits.
  • Classical architecture, tweed clothing, and subdued colour palettes.
  • Evoking a sense of romance and intellectualism.

Soft Girl Aesthetic:

  • Light and pastel-coloured photos showcasing a cute, feminine style and delicate aesthetics.
  • Pinks, baby blues, and gentle colour palettes.
  • Embracing innocence, sweetness, and playfulness.
  • Ruffles, bows, and cute accessories.
  • Creating a dreamy and adorable atmosphere.

VSCO Girl Aesthetic:

  • Laid-back and beachy visuals with a focus on eco-friendly and trendy fashion.
  • Beach scenes, sunsets, and outdoor activities.
  • Embracing a carefree and eco-conscious lifestyle.
  • Scrunchies, oversized t-shirts, and natural-looking makeup.
  • Capturing a relaxed and effortlessly cool vibe.

Grunge Aesthetic:

  • Edgy and rebellious imagery featuring raw and gritty elements.
  • Dark and moody colour schemes, and distressed textures.
  • Embracing nonconformity, angst, and counter-cultural attitudes.
  • Leather jackets, band t-shirts, and punk-inspired fashion.
  • Creating a sense of rebellion and alternative expression.

Vintage Aesthetic:

  • Nostalgic and retro imagery capture the essence of past eras.
  • Antique objects, vintage fashion, and sepia-toned edits.
  • Embracing classic styles, old-fashioned glamour, and timeless elegance.
  • Film grain effects, polaroid frames, and vintage filters.
  • Creating a sense of nostalgia and a connection to the past.

Urban Aesthetic:

  • Dynamic and vibrant visuals showcasing the energy and culture of city life.
  • Street photography, cityscapes, and urban fashion.
  • Embracing diversity, street art, and the fast-paced urban lifestyle.
  • Graffiti, neon lights, and modern architecture.
  • Capturing the excitement and uniqueness of urban environments.

Art Hoe Aesthetic:

  • Artistic and creative imagery featuring self-expression, diversity, and artistic pursuits.
  • Vibrant colours, art supplies, and expressive poses.
  • Embracing individuality, creativity, and inclusivity.
  • Mixing art mediums, incorporating self-made artwork, and DIY aesthetics.
  • Celebrating the beauty and power of artistic expression.

What are the best mobile apps for animating photos?

Frequently Asked Questions about aesthetic photo editing apps

I’ve explored the core features and tools you can find in a range of great photo editing apps that allow users to create stunning aesthetic pictures.

In case you still have any queries, here are some answers to the most commonly asked questions about photo editing apps you can use to achieve awesome results:

How to make a pic aesthetic?

There are a few core rules you can adhere to in order to make your images more aesthetically pleasing, from adding symmetry to following the rule of thirds when composing your photographs.

Paying attention to shapes and shadows and checking your horizon line will also help to improve the visual appeal of your images and lend them a more professional aesthetic.

How do you make aesthetic edits on iPhone?

Most of the editing apps outlined in this article are available on multiple platforms and can be installed and used on iPhones and other Apple devices.

Is there a free aesthetic app?

If you don’t have the funds to subscribe to an editing app or purchase one outright, there are free-to-use options available such as Aesthetic, which you can download from the Apple Store.

You can also access a selection of basic editing tools from your camera’s built-in photo viewer and manager, applying filters and effects for free.

Final Words

With an ever-expanding selection of paid and free photo editing apps, the tools to create aesthetic images for hobbyists and professional photographers continue to grow.

The selection I’ve included here should help get you started when choosing the best photo editing app for your needs, whether you’re photographing wildlife or working on your next Instagram Story.

As artificial intelligence continues to develop and impact all aspects of technology, the future of aesthetic photo editing apps looks set to bring new and exciting ways to edit photos in the future.

Content Manager

As the Content Manager of Shotkit, India Mantle brings with her a lifelong love for photography that she developed during her childhood, watching her father document their family moments with his Nikon EM. In her free time, you find her enjoying the awe-inspiring natural beauty of her home, Northern Rivers, Australia.

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