Afterlight: The photo editing app of your dreams

by Lauren Schwabe

Executive Editor

The Afterlight app is

With a 4.5 star rating, the Afterlight app has risen to the top of the photo editing application world.

When one logs onto Instagram, it’s become increasingly rare to see a photo posted with the hastag #nofilter or to see photos not resized to include the white bars on the sides. It seems like everyone has happily joined the photo editing application bandwagon, whether they export from another app or use the built-in Instagram features. These days, anyone can be a “good photographer” if they know how to edit well.

In a more positive light, photo editing for social media is exciting because it allows each person to not only capture a unique photo, but project their own style and personality on it by editing it however they desire. We’ve taken the photo-uploading process one step farther and made it an art form available to anyone with the desire to put their own spin on their photos.

Not long Instagram was first released in the fall of 2010, users quickly left behind the small selection of Instagram filters in search of more options for their photo editing. Looking back editing apps such as VSCOcam, Snapspeed, Afterlight and Mextures have all been instrumental in this process. However, a 4.5 star rating in the App store, it is Afterlight that has quickly risen to the top of the photo editing application world.

Offering 74 unique filters in addition to giving the users control of basic edits such as contrast, crop, brightness and saturation—but also highlight, shadow, and mid-tone controls—all the filters, texture, frames and editing tools are slider-adjustable, allowing the editor to customize their photos down to the smallest details.

The application offers in-app purchases including the Instant Film Pack ($0.99) and the Wallpaper Pack ($0.99) but isn’t pushy about them. Afterlight itself costs $0.99, but because of all the features it offers and how user-friendly it is, the app is well worth the small price. And no longer will you need SquareReady or InstaSize to make sure your horizontal and vertical photos don’t get cropped unseeingly by Instagram’s square frames- Afterlight offers the same square frame options in the form of adjustable white bars on either side of the photo being edited.

The first review on the Afterlight’s download page in the app store store claims “…this is probably the best editing app you will ever download. It has everything and more that you would want for your photos. Edits are available for all styles of social media profiles…[I’m] absolutely in love with this app.” So if you’re looking to up your Instagram editing game- download Afterlight and see why so many other people love it.


Three features that make Afterlight stand out:


The sheer amount of filters this app offers can seem a bit overwhelming, but after a while of use, it’s easy to choose favorites. Offered in the format of three sections, “Original,” “Guest” and “Seasons,” about 20 filters are offered in each folder. I tend to gravitate toward the softer, more natural looking options such as Finn, Russ and Leila. Afterlight also offers four preset black and white filters or you can customize your own using the basic editing tools.

Texture Overlays

In addition to nearly 80 filter options, Afterlight also boasts texture filters. Dusty, Light Leak and Wander all add their own unique elements to a photo and their strength settings can be adjusted so it doesn’t overwhelm the filters you may have already added. 


As a photo editor who always uses the white bars to avoid Instagram’s square cropping, I absolutely loved that I could use Afterlight to edit my photos and also add the bars (and adjust the width!) all within one app rather than editing in one app and then exporting to another in orderto resize the photo. Afterlight offers a whopping 128 frames. This includes ones that shape your photo into a circle, rectangle, a person’s profile, capital letter, star, lowercase cursive letter, hexagon and many others. Though the average user may not take advantage of these with every edit, it’s a nice option to have and allows the user to creatively switch up the photo shape. All the frames are also available as wall papers.

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