Why settle for mundane or slightly boring pics when you can spruce them up and make them shine with a lil' bit of photo editing!?

Updated February, 2017: Added new apps and updated existing apps that have new looks/features.

While the trend of #nofilter is cool and all, sometimes you just want to make your pictures look the way they did in your mind when you actually took them β€” ya feel?

Photo editing apps can add life to a flat image, breathe some color into a monochromatic landscape, take your Instagram skillz to the next level, or turn a boring picture into abstract art. You should always have at least a few photo editing apps in your arsenal for different purposes: so we've got a list of the best for all of your various artistic choices!

Here are the best photo editing apps available for your iPhone!

VSCO

Keep your photo editing simple (yet bold!), exquisitely modern, aesthetically relevant, and next-level eye-catching with the super modern and easy-to-use VSCO, and you'll be sure to hit home runs with your iPhone photography!

VSCO Cam has a cool interface layout for editing and putting effects on your photos. Fine-tuning capabilities with sliders for every effect help you get the look you want. (Jason Parker, CNET

With the app, you can either choose to quickly slap on a super flattering filter, manually adjust things like contrast, brightness, texture, and more, and even post the photo to VSCO's own social media platform.

While the app itself is free as a bee, there are a couple of in-app purchases you can make along the lines of new filters and filter packages. Are these worth the money? In my opinion, yes, but if you don't want to spend a ton of $$$, then keep your eyes open for Cyber Monday and other various sales throughout the year for a discount on filters.


A Color Story

Keep your iPhone photographs bright and beautiful while still maintaining creative control with the very appropriately named A Color Story.

With over 100 very different filters to choose from and buy (again, like VSCO, it's free, but additional creativity has a price tag), 40 photo effects, like lens flare, color fog, light leaks, and more, as well as over 20 free editing tools to adjust things like contrast and curves, A Color Story has you pretty much covered when it comes to editing your photos on your iPhone.

The worst part about the app is the layout, though. Navigating A Color Story is a bit confusing and unnecessarily complicated, with back buttons that kill effects you just added to your photo and odd icons for certain things.

But an awesome part about the app? You can easily save and reuse customized filters and effects to slap on photos, so you're not fiddling around and wasting time with your editing.


Instagram

When the majority of people think about Instagram, they think of a social media app that's filled with selfies and makeup tutorials and weird motivational quotes and β€” well, the list goes on and on. But did you know that Instagram is also a really fantastic photo editing app?

Through Instagram, users don't only get to pick and add a filter to their photos (the old school version only allowed for people to slap a filter on their pics and be done with it), but they can also adjust brightness, contrast, alignment, structure, warmth, saturation, color, fade, highlights, shadows, vignette, tilt shift, and sharpen.

With so much creative control, you can literally adjust and tweak your favorite Instagram filter to match your iPhoneography aesthetic perfectly! The best part is you can then directly post it to your Instagram account – no additional saving or messing around with other apps, just straight picking, editing, and posting!


Lightroom

If you're looking for a photo editing app that speaks a bit more to professional iPhone photographers / photographers in general, aaaand if you're looking to edit the RAW photos you've captured with your iPhone, then Lightroom might be the perfect editor for you!

Lightroom mobile incorporates a fluid interface and sufficient adjustment options to be useful. (Lori Grunin, CNET)

While most photo editing apps for your iPhone focus on easy adjustments like brilliance and brightness, or encourage users to just slap a filter on their photos, Lightroom works within the world of detail and precise adjustments β€” just like a professional photographer.

You can do things like adjust the angle of your lens after you've taken the photo (cool, hey?), fiddle with vibrance and tint while having full control over your blacks and whites, or even add effects like dehazing or vignettes.

The app itself is totally free to download, but if you want to sync your photo libraries, specifically edit RAW photos, or access your photos everywhere with the help of lightroom.adobe.com, you're going to have to either sign in with your Adobe ID or tap to start a free trial.

Is this a pain in the butt? Totally. Is it 100% worth it if you're a pro photographer looking to edit photos on the go? Also totally.


Instaflash Pro

If you're looking for an easy-to-use iPhone photo editor that goes above and beyond the basic edits of most apps out there, then direct your attention to Instaflash Pro and your iPhoneography will never see another boring, over-edited moment ever again.

While most apps allow you to adjust things like contrast, exposure, clarity, and more, Instaflash Pro takes your photo editing one step further by introducing features like:

  • Fill Light / Soft Light, which adds brightness to certain parts of your photo just like a pro director would

  • Orton, which shifts the shadow and saturation in a photo

  • Skin Tune, which allows for full control over smoothing and brightening of the skin

  • Color Splash, which lets you select and change certain parts of your photo to black and white

  • Color EQ, which let's you specifically inject certain colors into your saturation, hue, and brightness

… and so, so much more!

With Instaflash Pro, you can also easily simulate depth of field if you don't have portrait mode on your iPhone, soften harsh or distracting lines in your photography, and tons more; you just need to get creative with it!

(And if you're not super comfortable with the Pro version, you can always check out Instaflash, too!)

Snapseed

Developed by Google and constantly updated to deliver the most intuitive, creative photo editing experience possible, Snapseed aims to turn your iPhoneography pictures into iPhoneography masterpieces.

This powerful (and free!) photo editor can take care of nearly all your image enhancement needs. It's great for the most important photo processing techniques, including exposure, color, cropping, sharpening, and perspective correction. (Eric Mueller, iPhone Photography School)

Snapseed is a fantastic photo editing app because it works well for photographers of all skill levels and shooting styles! With around 26 different filters to pick from that let you do things like blur your lens, edit in a glamorous glow, or add a frame, and a multitude of tools, including a healing brush, structure, HDR, transform, and more, along with the ability to open JPG and RAW files, Snapseed is one free, versatile app that's great to have in your mobile editing arsenal.

Newer features are always being added to the app, too! Take curves, the newest feature that allows more experienced photographers and editors to play with the editing curves of a photo (similar to what you can do in Photoshop), or less-experiences participants to select pre-edited curves along the bottom of the screen and learn what adjustments do what to a photo!


Meitu

While the Meitu app has recently made waves for being the most kawaii (and then the sketchiest) photo editing app out there, the reality is that the tracking code that had people so scared isn't really anything new or super threatening (that being said, if the app makes you uncomfortable, totally don't download it, but I've had it on my phone for over a month without any major issues).

That being said, Meitu is actually MUCH more than an adorably kawaii app that'll turn you into an anime character; if you know where to tap, the app lets you edit and "Photoshop" your selfies almost as well as FaceTune, add stickers and fun effects, and even put together your own photo collages.

When you open Meitu, it automatically takes you to the ΓΌber popular "Hand Drawn" photo editor that's taken the internet by storm, but in the upper right corner, there's a back button that takes you to all of the apps other editing options.

From this menu, you can choose to retouch and heavily edit your photo by slimming your face, firming your skin, highlighting your cheekbones, making your eyes bigger, and so much more. You can also put together a photo collage or select Auto Beauty to add fun stickers, flattering filters, text, frames, and more!

Once you start adventuring around the Meitu app, you'll find a ton of hidden photo editing gems.

What are your go-to photo editing apps on your iPhone?

Do you prefer apps that slap on flattering, fast filters or ones that allow you to tweak and adjust to your heart's content?

Let us know what your favorite photo editing apps are in the comments below and we'll be sure to check them out! Don't forget to follow iMore on Instagram!