Good Life

Smile! Apps for Social Media

Two apps to create striking social media photos

Just a few years ago, Instagrammers and Facebook enthusiasts were using apps like Facetune for simple photo retouching: a little bit of teeth whitening here, a little bit of skin smoothing there. Now, the next-generation retouching apps are going a step further, giving users more options, cooler filters and better overall control. Two to try:

Facetune 2

This app’s creators have taken photo editing up a notch by incorporating artificial intelligence.

One hot feature: “Smart” filters can apply separate effects and different lighting to the skin, lips, eyes and hair. Is someone not smiling in the family photo? No problem. You can add a smile on that person’s face in a snap. All of these elements are blended naturally in the finished images, but there is no spilling over of color, light or effect. Thanks to the new augmented reality feature, you alter your photo in the camera’s preview screen before you even take the picture. And with the addition of sliders, users can increase or decrease the intensity of some of the effects. The app has a free version, but for $20, you unlock many bonus features.


If you like to use filters in your photographs, VSCO has an enormous selection. One example: HB01, created in collaboration with men’s fashion brand Hypebeast, gives a dramatic, New York City gritty look to photos.

In addition to adjustments like brightness, contrast and saturation, VSCO offers more advanced features, like spot tinting of highlights and shadows and faux film grain. The app offers up a nice range of features for free, but additional packages are available as in-app purchases.

Hot tip: To learn how to take better selfies, check out VSCO’s “Photographing People” tutorials on YouTube. They’ll teach you how to shed the fake smiles and seek out candid shots as opposed to posed ones.