Best iPhone Photo Apps

Even though I pride myself on being a DSLR photographer, I have come to appreciate iPhonography. Sometimes the only camera you have is your phone, and you have to make that work without having a choice. More than that, I think iPhone cameras (sorry Android) can take some beautiful photos if you have the right tools! My Instagram uses both DSLR photos and iPhone pictures, so I have become a pro at mixing the two.

Today, I want to share some of my favorite photo apps that I use regularly! Most of these are editing apps, but I have a few other random apps I use when making Instagram content.

VSCO | Filters, photo editing, etc.

Everyone who's anyone uses VSCO. I have a bunch of presets that I use on my desktop with Lightroom, but somehow the mobile filters are still some of the best filters out there. I generally use this app for my iPhone photos in order to make them more cohesive and artsy. My current favorite filter is M5, and I usually will bump up the contrast + sharpening + clarity + the warm tones when I edit things.

Polarr | Desaturation, more specific photo editing

This app has some interesting filters, but I usually use it for specific photo editing hacks. It has a more professional set of features - mainly the specific color saturation adjustment which is what I like to use. It also has a cool fringe feature that I like to use when I'm trying to be really artsy. Otherwise, I generally just bring down the orange & yellow saturation in the HSL section.

A Color Story | Light leak effect, filters, coloring

I rarely use this app, but when I do it always blows me away. The filters in this app really boost your colors in a unique way. I also love using it to add fake light leaks and flares. You can get access to more features by purchasing in the app, but I just use the free version for the most part.

Huji | Disposable camera effects

I'm sure you've seen people using this app recently - mainly because it has a cool little time stamp in the corner. My friend introduced me to this after we both talked about wishing we could use film instead of just our phones to take photos. This app is basically like a digital version of a disposable camera (complete with wacky light leaks) and it's my current obsession. I love how unique all the photos look and I don't even have to edit them when they're done because they look so...old school. 

UN UM | Curating my Instagram accounts

I'm sure there are many apps out there where you can plan out your Instagram, but I was introduced to this app last year, and I've been using it ever since. UN UM has a number of features, and if you upgrade to their Elite plan you can even track your followers and posts! (I won a subscription somehow...I don't even know lol) It's super helpful if you have a theme or you want to just plot out which photos you want to post next.

The Power of the Art Journal

If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know that I love journaling. For the past few years I've been keeping up with yearly Moleskines and it's been incredibly therapeutic for me. I fill the blank white pages with all sorts of artsy spreads over the course of 12 months, and by the end of the year I always have a lot of beautiful memories to look back on. 

Obviously journaling has changed a lot in recent years. Today it's more about making art than about keeping a written diary like when I was growing up. As great as it is to write down your day-to-day life in a journal, it's much more fun and easy to just paste things and doodle. However, I think art journaling can be just as personal and memorable as writing down your thoughts. Many of the spreads I make rely on how I'm feeling at a certain time during the year, so even if I'm not telling my future self exactly what I was doing on February 17th, 2018, I can know what songs I was listening to or what movies I had just seen. (For the record, it's "I'm Ready" by AJR + Black Panther.)

In 2018 I've been focusing a lot more on making a journal of which I'm proud to show off. I've done flip-throughs of both my 2016 + 2017 journals, but for both of those I ended up giving up for part of the year. This year I want to consistently create content I love that reflects my life and who I am becoming. I've done a lot more collaging than I did in the past, and I'm super proud of what I've made so far.

If you're looking for some quick tips on how to keep up with journaling, check them out below!


A lot of people ask me what are my "rules" for my art journal, and I definitely have some, but I don't like feeling restricted when making art. It's your art, so you have to make your own decisions about how you make it. For instance, I don't make to-do lists in my art journals & I use mine as more of a scrapbook than anything. I don't usually put in a lot of photos, but I like to make each page a piece of art rather than just scribbling random things in the margins.


It can be scary starting a journal because you don't want to make any mistakes or mess up. My Moleskines are all over 100 pages (and I try to use both sides of each page), so I have to decorate a lot of blank pages. Thus, it's no surprise that I make some ugly art and some beautiful mistakes. Once you accept that you won't love every single page, it makes it easier to get started.


One of the most difficult parts of art journaling is that it's easy to lack inspiration and feel stuck. I am giving you permission right now to use your favorite artists and journalers as your muse. My favorite thing to do when I'm at a loss for ideas is to check out Pinterest or Tumblr and try mimicking another artist's style. Obviously you shouldn't plagiarize things, but as long as you tailor it to your interests and credit the artist, it's healthy to test out other people's ideas!


I know it seems ridiculous to buy art supplies as an adult, but it's so worth it! Whether that's markers or pens or even just a printer with some nice color ink (it's expensive yikes), you will be much happier making art if you have the right tools to make it. Here's a list of some of my journaling essentials!

  • Brush pens (Tombow brand)
  • Pilot pens (the clicky kind)
  • 4-5 random magazines
  • Scissors
  • Wrinkle-free glue stick
  • Printer + colored ink
  • Watercolor palette + brush (the kind that has water in the brush handle)