Best Apps for Creating Images and Videos on Social Media

Polished, professional-looking imagery helps your social posts grab attention and makes people more inclined to share.

By Amanda Vogel, MA
Nov 10, 2017

To stay competitive and stand out with the content you post on social media, you’ll likely need the help of one or more mobile apps. According to one survey, visual marketing content performed 4.4 times better than text-based content, highlighting the importance of dynamic images and design (Chute & Digiday 2015).

Respondents to another survey cited “great production quality” and “compelling image” as the top two factors that make visual content successful when you’re marketing online (Lewis 2016).

In today’s sophisticated and saturated social space, you can’t really get away with posting marketing pieces that look like a 5-year-old made them. Luckily, there are countless apps that allow anyone to produce great-looking graphics and video relatively quickly—no design or video-editing experience necessary.

Enhance Photos

Photo-editing filters, touchups and special effects can help make any photo look a little more Insta-ready.

PicMonkey Photo Editor

PicMonkey

iOS, Android; free with a paid premium upgrade option

Enhance any photo from your phone’s camera roll. Crop images, add filterlike effects and stickers, overlay customized text, touch up selfies (whiten teeth, banish blemishes, smooth wrinkles) and draw on images. The desktop version lets you do it all on a computer.

Color Pop Effects Photo Editor

Color Pop

iOS, Android; free with in-app upgrades

This app keeps selected parts of a photo in color and converts the rest to black and white. It’s a cool way to highlight a piece of equipment (like a med ball or stability ball), a person in a group (perhaps a client finishing a 5K) or an article of clothing (new running shoes or a workout top). The app is free to download and use, but you’ll have to pay to remove the frequent ads and the Color Pop watermark.

Patch: Smart Portrait Editor

Patch

iOS, Android; free

Blur out the background in a photo, creating a bokeh (blur) effect for an artistic quality and bringing more attention to the foreground. Works best for portraits and selfies. It’s free to download, but you have to pay every time you want to remove the app’s watermark from an image.

Edit Videos

Creating studio-quality clips is getting easier all the time with apps for editing, enhancing and embellishing videos.

Clips

Clips

iOS; free

This video-editing tool from Apple is simple to use, allowing you to create multimedia .mov files in just a few minutes. You can pull video from your iPhone/iPad or film a sequence on the spot, adding captions and subtitles that automatically generate and appear on screen as you speak. There’s also the option to create a video using multiple photos or photos combined with video. Other features include the ability to add filters, title slides, emojis, music, animated text and more.

Videoshop

Videoshop

iOS, Android, Windows; approx. $2–$3

You get a lot of features in this app, making it well worth the reasonable price tag. However, it is a bit more time-consuming to use compared with apps that offer fewer bells and whistles. You can edit out bits of your video, integrate music, add filters, choose to use slow motion or speed up your video, plug in subtitles, merge two or more video clips, and more.

Overvideo

Overvideo

iOS; free with a few in-app upgrades

If you need something simple, try Overvideo. The app’s main function is to add text and/or graphics over video. For an extra fee, there’s an option to drop in music and crop and trim your video.

Create Animated Images

Images in motion do a good job of catching the viewer’s eye on social media, where every post is competing for attention. Use the following apps to create moving graphics without having to shoot and edit a video per se.

Boomerang

Boomerang

iOS, Android; free

Brought to you by Instagram, Boomerang creates videos a few seconds long that loop back and forth. Unlike other apps that let you pull images from your phone’s camera roll, Boomerang films them on the spot. You can access Boomerang from within the Instagram app—find it in Stories—or download the app on its own. Save Boomerang to your device so you can post to multiple platforms.

Lumyer

Lumyer

iOS, Android; free with in-app upgrades

Billed as an app that delivers augmented-reality camera effects, Lumyer allows you to add moving parts to a still photo—snow falling, birds flying, clouds drifting, stars twinkling, fireworks exploding, confetti streaming and much more. A handful of effects are free; you’ll have to pay to unlock more.

Adobe Spark

Spark

iOS (desktop version also available); free

Pull your own photos into this easy-to-use platform, or choose from thousands of free professional images in the app. Features include layout and design templates, filters and more. Add text and select an animation style for how you want the text to appear (fly in, fade in, pan in, etc.). You can save your creation into your phone as a video or a still image.

Make Memes

Memes usually combine text and imagery to convey an inspiring, funny or thoughtful point or to share an eloquent or interesting quotation. They are quick to create, especially with the help of these apps.

Canva

Canva

iOS (desktop version also available); free

The Canva app and its corresponding website provide a bounty of professional design templates, fonts, filters, stickers and more. There’s also a convenient gallery of layouts customized to the specs needed for different social platforms (Instagram photo or Story, Facebook cover, Snapchat geofilter, etc.) or design pieces (logo, flier, invitation, photo collage, blog graphic, etc.).

Enhance

Enhance

iOS; free

This app from Hootsuite® is easy to use and comes with all the features you’d expect from a photo editor: filters, text, cropping, drawing and more. You’ll also find a couple of handy standout features: (1) You can insert GIPHY stickers found within the app on top of your photo, and (2) with the watermark feature, you can upload your own logo to brand all your designs accordingly.

Phonto

Phonto

iOS, Android; free

This simple app for adding text to photos lets you put a filter on your photo and customize text size, color, appearance and more. Choose from hundreds of fonts, or install your own. Try Phonto’s “sister” app, Vont, for an easy way to add text to video—it’s free, too.

For a more detailed discussion of using apps and other tools to create your own marketing material, see “Apps for Business Efficiency” by Ryan Halvorson in the debut issue of IDEA Fit Business Success. To learn more about this brand-new e-newsletter, contact IDEA’s Inspired Service Team at 800-999-4332, ext. 7.

Productivity Hacks for Using Apps

Knowing your way around the latest and best apps is the first step to creating cool social content. The next step is managing your time and efforts with ease and efficiency. Use the tips below to make the most of the content-creation apps on your phone or tablet.

Stay in the know. Keep apps up to date so you can take advantage of the newest fixes and features. Your phone might have a setting that automatically updates apps.

Pick favorites. Since a lot of apps offer similar features—and new ones are coming out all the time—choose the apps you like best and get rid of the rest. You’ll free up device storage space and streamline content creation.

Take shortcuts with video. Shooting and editing video for social media can be time-consuming, but it’s still a valuable medium because social sites like Facebook favor videos, giving them greater reach in the news feed than other conten


References

Chute & Digiday. 2015. State of the industry visual marketing: Scale to win. Accessed July 13, 2017: www2.getchute.com/l/16442/2015-05-20/tjtpt.
Lewis. 2016. New research: The state of visual communications in 2016. Accessed July13, 2017: www.teamlewis.com/us/insights/visual-communications.

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Amanda Vogel, MA

Amanda Vogel, MA, is a fitness professional and the owner of Active Voice, a writing, editing and consulting service for fitness professionals. She writes for IDEA, Health, Prevention, and Self, and has co-authored books on postnatal fitness and yoga. With a master's degree in human kinetics, Amanda has worked in the fitness industry for more than 15 years, including time spent as a program director and vice president for a chain of all-women clubs in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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