The great thing about using apps to edit your photos, rather than a program like Photoshop, is they do all the hard work for you. Adjustments, such as exposure or cropping, are all laid out in the most basic way possible and the filter options can instantly transform the feel of your photo. I have two apps that I alternate use of, depending on the occasion.
This app is quite basic, but it gets the job done and it's free. I often use it to adjust the exposure and temperature of a photo. I find the temperature option to be particularly helpful as trying to fiddle around in Photoshop (or in my case Paint.net) in an attempt to get the colour adjustment just right can sometimes be a bit of a pain. Another adjustment that I crank on some of my photos is the “fade” effect. It washes out the photo, giving it almost a more 2D effect, which lends a sort of grungy feel and takes away any stark contrast that the photo might have.
As for best filters, I only actually use one these days – the T1. It's a fantastic filter. It, again, has that grungy feel and I find it instantly adds a professional and interesting look to a photo.
|VSCO Cam T1 Filter|
Afterlight is one of the best one dollars I've ever spent. If VSCO Cam is a bit too basic for you then Afterlight is your friend. It has more filters than you could ever need, as well as light and texture effects and a number of other goodies. Annnnd of course, like with VSCO Cam, you can do your basic temperature, exposure, fade, etc. etc. here too. I'm quite keen on the light effects on this app because not only can some nice Bokeh light effects be beautiful in a photo, but if you use the light effects on a low level they can add light to certain darker areas of a photo without being particularly noticeable (excellent if you don't want to brighten the entire photo). You also have the advantage of being able to layer filters and effects. If you see two filters that you absolutely love you can try adding a bit of both.
The filter I use most with Afterlight is Captain, as it adds that bright, warm glow that's perfect for beauty shots. I also use Glacier if I'm looking to keep the photo bright, but with a cooler tone to it.
|Afterlight Captain Filter|