iPhone Editing Workflow: The Steps And Apps You Need For The Best Photo

Last week, the guys from Hand Luggage Only brought us on an adventure to Bali. Now it is time for them to share their tips and tricks on how they make their photos pop! Hopefully giving you some pointers along the way!

Do you remember back in the day when phones used to be used for just calls and texts? Then cameras came into the mix but not so much changed except that we could take photos of pretty much everything and anything we wanted.


Over time these cameras got better and better and then, once apps came into play, especially apps for editing photos, the entire photography industry changed. Suddenly, people were taking and editing professional style photography and even shooting full videos on their phones!


As travel bloggers, I usually have a camera of some sort with me. In the past it used to be just my DSLR but again, over time, I found my iPhone to not only be a great fall-back option but actually my camera of choice on many occasions.

For starters, it’s lighter, I can edit with it (which I do sometimes even if I take a photo on my DSLR) and I can get pretty decent photos with it (I’ve sometimes done entire blog posts with just photos from my iPhone).

Suffice to say, when it comes to travel photography, your phone is a pretty handy tool to have and seeing as it’s one I use all the time, I figured I might as well share with you my tools and workflow for editing my photos on my phone.

Let’s start with the tools side of thing. These apps below are what I refer to as ‘tools’ (you can download them on almost any phone) and I’ll touch on why you need them too!

The Apps are:

  • Snapseed

This is a powerhouse phone photo-editing tool! It’s free and lets you do all kinds of details edits on your phone. It now comes with some presets you can use but that’s not what this app is there for. It’s here for making some basic edits and corrections on your photos to a level of detail most other apps won’t let you do.


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This is a great one for the filters. It’s not got a huge range of them (which makes it easy to select from) but the filters it’s got covers most style of edits you’d like without being too artsy or hard to use. It also has selective colour edits (you never really find this in other apps), great curve tools and some brilliant general editing tools.


Download for free on

This you get for the filters. It’s got a wide range of filters and allows you mimic a cool, sometimes artsy look without too much manual editing. It’s also great if you’re trying to have your photos with a consistenpsdat look and feel (though I have to admit, with travel, destinations generally tend to look and feel different so I never really pay attention to the consistency element of this).


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To keep this really simple, this is a 3-step workflow I use for editing my photos and how those tools come into play in this once I’ve captured the photo on my phone.

The Workflow is:

1. Add Effect or Filter:

Use Darkroom or VSCO to add the filter to the photo. Remember the filter is supposed to reflect either the story you want the photo to tell or the ‘mood’ the subject was in when you took the photo. In other words, don’t try to make a dull, grey day (with absolutely zero sunshine) seem very warm and sunny, it’ll just end up looking strange. Also remember to adjust your filter strength, it’s okay to use a bit of a filter as a ‘base layer’ before you carry on editing.

2. Adjust Light:

Once you’ve applied your filter. Adjust the light in the photos. Typically this just means adjusting the brightness but this is the stage where you might want to adjust contrast, clarity, highlights or shadows. VSCO and Darkroom can be used here but Snapseed is what you really should use here as you can work on specific sections of the photo if an overall editing style isn’t working for you (e.g. trying to lighten up a dark patch which only results on making the entire photo far too light – the brush tool on Snapseed comes in handy here).

3. Adjust Colour:

You might not need to do this at all but I tend to find that I do, even when I used a muted edit. You might need to desaturate the colour, take out the yellows by increasing temperature or perhaps just increase the vibrance. Snapseed is also a great one too use here (though depending on how general the colour edits you need are, VSCO and Darkroom can also be used here).

Optional one – Correct Perspective:

You don’t need to do this if you already took the photo from the right angle but occasionally, you might find that you need to adjust a photo horizontally, vertically or perhaps just level it to make it look special.

And there you have it – my workflow for editing photos, not just on my phone but also on my laptop. The process is so much easier to follow and to replicate once you realise that there are only really 3 essential steps to follow for editing pretty much any photo.