How To Edit Photos With Afterlight (Beginner’s Guide)

This guide will teach you how to get started with the popular Afterlight App, so you'll be editing your smartphone photos with incredible results in no time.

Afterlight is an editing app for mobile phones where you can create stunning effects.

It offers filters, overlays and film effects, while advanced editing tools help you adjust the light, exposure, shadows, and more.

The Afterlight App is one of the more popular photo editing applications available for iPhone and Android users.

Knowing how to use it can help you create stunning images and get the most out of your smartphone photography and editing experiences.

I’ve used various photo editing apps in the past and experimented with the many filters and features of the Afterlight App. I want to share the tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way.

Continue reading to discover more about how to edit your photos using the Afterlight app.

Related: How to use the Hipstamatic app

What is Afterlight?


  • 130+ unique features
  • 20+ advanced tools
  • 60+ textures and light overlays
  • Free filters and presets
  • Unique frames and borders
  • Easy to customize
  • User-friendly
  • Easy-to-create photo filters
  • Community filter sharing
  • Text overlay tools
  • Selective hue adjustment tools
  • Selective lightness
  • Membership fees for full access
  • Lack of frame options
  • Unnecessary features and tools
  • Frequent bugs and errors are still being worked out (especially on Android devices)

Afterlight is a quality app providing many user-friendly tools that help you create unique images. For example, you can control the saturation, contrast, exposure, and shadow tones. 

Additionally, Afterlight has many tools and filters to create a different aesthetic appeal to what you find in other photo editing apps or social media apps such as Instagram. 

In the app, you can stack filters or combine editing tools to make beautiful compositions and create the image you’re looking for. 

The best thing about the Afterlight app is you have complete control over your image, being able to fully adjust it as desired until you get the final product you want. 

The Afterlight app is free for the general version, but you can buy a full version for $2.99 per month, $17.99 per year, or $35.99 perpetual from the Apple App Store. 


Key Features of Afterlight


1. Filters


The Afetrlight filters are fast, easy to apply and look great.


The Afterlight app has impressive filters, including one of the most popular filters, “Vintage,” which adds a retro look to your photographs. 

2. User-Friendly Interface

Afterlight is a beautiful program that is very user-friendly, offering many tools and features any photographer can use, regardless of their skill level. 

3. Upload Photos from Camera Roll

The Afterlight App connects directly to your iPhone camera roll, allowing you to click on the desired image from the camera’s image or photo library. 

Additionally, like Adobe Lightroom, Afterlight allows you to import and edit JPEG images and RAW photo files as large as 6144 x 6144 pixels. 

4. Built-In Camera


Using the camera is the quickest way to get images into Afterlight.

Afterlight app users can access the application’s built-in camera, which contains various manual settings, including shutter speed, white balance, and ISO. 

The built-in camera also has tools for modifying grids and a self-timer. 

5. Social Media Integration

Posting our photos on social media is a great way to demonstrate the work we can provide as photographers as well as sharing personal moments with friends and family. 

After post-processing in Afterlight, you can share your photo or image on different social media platforms by tapping the desired logo. 

 6. Preset Filters

This app features preset filters that are helpful and easy to locate inside the menu or the application. 

Several of the preset filters in Afterlight are similar to those on Instagram but provide more opportunities to edit and manipulate the final image. 

Preset filters are organized by color, categories, and intended use. 

7. Easy-to-Create Filters

If the app does not have the desired filters you need to edit your original image, the Afterlight app allows you to create your own filters. 

You can create a new filter using a preset filter and a combination of edits to create the desired filter look for your images. 

8. Transformation Tools

The Afterlight app is packed with adjustment tools allowing you to make basic photo adjustments. 

These tools allow you to crop, flip, straighten, skew, or rotate images with a button tap. 

9. Visible Adjustment Tools

Sometimes photographers need to upload their shots in a hurry. For that, they need apps that offer adjustment tools they can immediately access so they can make the necessary edits within moments of taking the shot.

Afterlight offers excellent adjustment tools at your fingertips that you can access at a tap of the screen. 

Popular adjustment tools available in the Afterlight app include brightness, vibrancy, contrast, grain, soft glow, vignette, curves tool, and chroma. 

10. Graphical Effects


Colorshift is my favorite effect in Afterlight – the ‘swipe-to-shift’ function is particularly fun..

Graphical effects are available in some of the best photo and image editing smartphone apps. 

With Afterlight, you can add fun graphics that give your photos a different look. Plus, by clicking on the Artwork icon, you can add different options, including stickers, quotes, and botanicals. 

All graphical effects in Afterlight can be resized, moved, and rotated to create the desired look. 

11. Hue Adjustments

Selective hue adjustments allow you to isolate and manipulate a single color within a photograph while leaving other areas of the photo alone. 

This Afterlight tool creates stunning post-processing results, which can dramatically change the overall look of the image. 

Getting Started with Afterlight

1. Downloading and Installing the Afterlight App

The first thing you need to do to start enjoying the features of the Afterlight app is to download it. 

You can easily download the application from the Apple App Store or Google Play, which should only take a few moments (depending on your Internet speed).

2. Understanding the App Interface

Once you open the app, you will have many adjustment tools available to start your photo editing process. 

Before continuing, explore the different tools and features of the Afterlight app and practice using each one.

The more comfortable you are with the app’s interface, the faster you will become at editing photos and creating new images. 

3. Importing Photos

When using Afterlight, you can use the built-in camera to take photos and instantly import them into the app, or you can upload photographs from your camera roll. 

The app will open the camera by default, but you can always choose to upload photos from your Android or iPhone camera roll. 

To import photos, tap Camera Roll at the bottom of the screen, tap on the image you want to upload and start editing. 

4. Navigating the Editing Tools

Afterlight’s editing tools are easy to use and can be used in any order you like. 

Most photographers prefer to start with adjustments. This helps create a foundation for the image, making it easier to experiment later with presets and overlays. 

After laying the groundwork for your enhanced image, you can start testing the different advanced tools to give you more control over highlights, shadows, and mid-tones. 

The circle on the slider at the bottom of the screen allows you to adjust the harshness of the image’s look by sliding left or right. 

The preset tools make adding unique textures and moods to the photos easier – for example, you can add a romantic, dreamy, or modern feel. 

The more you play with the different editing tools, the more comfortable you’ll feel using them.

9 Afterlight Tips and Tricks


Although you can subscribe for more filters, it’s arguable you’d ever need them – the ones available for free are already great!

1. Find Filters You Love

After experimenting with the many Afterlight filters, find three to five that you love and can bounce back and forth between when editing a series of photos. 

Once you have your favorite apps, you can alter the final results by changing the picture’s composition, brightness, saturation, and contrast. 

2. Keep It Simple

The adjustment tools in the Afterlight app are fun to experiment with while creating beautiful and fascinating edited images. 

However, you don’t want to go too crazy. 

Only edit the parts of the photograph that need improvement to avoid making the remainder look overexposed, underexposed, or distorted, which can be caused by too much editing. 

3. Adjust Skin Tones

Focus on adjusting skin tones to create a more realistic look on people’s faces, especially when the flash or natural lighting was too harsh or limited lighting was available. 

Adjusting a photo for skin tones helps give the skin a natural look and is a simple yet effective feature in Afterlight. 

 4. Adjust Curves

The curves adjustment tool in Afterlight allows you to manage the image’s tonal range, represented as a straight diagonal line on a graph. 

This tool can help with overexposed and underexposed images without losing too much detail. 

5. Crop and Straighten Photos

The Afterlight app provides the tools needed to crop unwanted items from the borders of your image and straighten any photos that may look off balance. 

By cropping and straightening photos, you can drastically improve the image’s composition with just a few minor adjustments. 

6. Correct Unnatural Lighting

Sometimes the perfect natural lighting is not available when shooting photographs. 

Use the Afterlight app to transform unnatural-looking images taken in an environment with artificial lighting into beautiful, professional-looking photographs. 

7. Eliminate Unwanted Items

Access to a photo editing app like Afterlight allows you to remove unwanted items you may not have noticed when snapping the photo. 

If you have people, animals, items, or anything else that takes focus away from your subject, you can use Afterlight to quickly and easily eliminate those unwanted items. 

8. Increase the Clarity of Portraits

Use Afterlight to increase the clarity of your portraits, which can make them appear more dramatic. 

The clarity tool is the most accessible tool to use in Afterlight and can provide an impressive look to portraits by increasing the contrast and making your subject pop. 

9. Turn Images into Black and White Photos

The black and white filters in Afterlight create a more dramatic photo and change your image’s mood. 

If you love the photo but don’t like the color scheme, add a black-and-white filter overlay to the image to create a work of art.


Is the Afterlight app free?

The Afterlight app does have a free version, where you can access high-quality filters, precise editing tools, and much more.

A paid version is available and is billed monthly or annually, with a seven-day free trial.

What does Afterlight do?

Afterlight is a mobile image editing app offering quick and straightforward editing tools.

What’s an alternative to Afterlight?

There are several alternatives to Afterlight, including Pixelmator Pro, Facet, and Photo Editor by Aviary.

How do I cancel my Afterlight membership?

If desired, cancel your Afterlight membership by going to your App Store Account and canceling the subscription at least 24 hours before the end of the current billing cycle.

Can you blur in Afterlight?

Yes, blur effects are available in the Afterlight app. Using the blur adjustment, you can blur the entire photo or choose to blur just a part of it. You can also add multiple adjustments to add various layers of blurring effects to an image.

Final Words

Afterlight provides you with everything you need to create professional-looking photographs in the palm of your hand using your smartphone.

Take time to practice using the different tools, overlays, and effects, and before you know it, you will be creating works of art you can print or share with family and friends via various social media platforms.

If you want additional tips on how to use the Afterlight app, reach out to us via the comments section below. We’re here to help with your photo-taking and editing needs.  

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