February 2021

The best photography effects for 2021

Improve your photography skills with help from Venture Studios

Photography is all around. The rise and rise of smartphones means that most of us have a camera readily available at all times. And the camera on a typical smartphone today is far better than the kind of compact camera we may well have had a few years ago. Especially now that many of them are beginning to draw on the capabilities of Artificial Intelligence to drastically improve the quality of images.

But not only does your smartphone provide easy access to a great quality camera, it also opens up the door to an ever growing array of photography editing effects. So not only can you take photos whenever and wherever you want, you can also edit them to achieve exactly the effects you want to.

This means that when you share your photos either with family or friends, or on social media, you can be confident that they are photos to be proud of.

But if you are new to the concept of photo editing, we thought it might be useful just to explain some of the main editing features that are likely to be available on your smartphone’s camera software, and also some of the apps that you can use to expand what you can do to your photos.


Photography effects in smartphone software

We have already referred to the fact that many smartphones are now using AI and computational power to improve images automatically and provide you with better results. This means that before you do anything else, you should have a decent quality image to start with.

But most smartphones also have editing features built into their software to enable you to alter different aspects of the image once it is taken. Every smartphone is different, so it is worth you taking time to find out the editing features of your specific phone.

But with most smartphones you should be able to do some or all of the following:

  • Adjust the colour tone of the image
  • Convert the image to black and white
  • Change the brightness or contrast
  • Make your image sharper or blurrier
  • Add different textures to your image
  • Crop or rotate your image
  • Straighten the image
  • Adjust the perspective of your image.

These features alone give you a great deal of flexibility over the final version of your image. But there are also many free apps available for smartphones that will enable you to do even more creative things with your photos.

Let’s take a quick look.

Phone editing apps

There are a wide variety of photo editing apps available, for both iPhone and android smartphones. We list a few below to get you started, all of which are free.

Bear in mind that new and updated apps are continually being added so do keep looking around if you can’t find an app that you like or which does exactly what you want it to do.

  • Adobe Photoshop Express. Just like the full version of Photoshop but as a mobile app. As well as an array of advanced editing features it is also excellent for making photo collages.
  • Snapseed. Now owned by Google, Snapseed has a wide range of editing features and also the flexibility to edit specific areas of an image.
  • VSCO. An amazing app for its range of subtle and easily adjustable filters. These are especially good for the vintage feel, making your photos look as if they have been taken on classic film. VSCO’s preset Subtle Fade filters are proving particularly popular on Instagram at the moment.
  • Afterlight. As well as its comprehensive range of editing features, this app is particularly good for its options to add text and/or a customised frame to your image.
  • Adobe Lightroom. Another Adobe offering, which provides a powerful yet simple set of editing tools that are easy to use whilst on the move.
  • FaceTune 2. Facetune claims to be the best selfie editing app in the world, and features a range of fun and powerful retouching tools. With Facetune you can smoothen skin, whiten teeth, magic away blemishes and add makeup, to create that picture perfect selfie.


Popular editing effects in 2021

There are trends in photography just like every other area of life. Particularly on social media there are trends for styles of photos; styles that you can achieve by use of either the editing software on your phone or one of the above apps or similar.

Here are five photography styles and features that we have noticed are trending on social media in 2021.

  • Black and white. Black and white photos never really date, but they are incredibly popular at the moment. They can have a dramatic effect, and surprisingly sometimes portray more detail than colour. With black and white photos, less can definitely be more.
  • Text overlays. Whilst images can definitely grab attention, there are sometimes so many on social media that you need something else to make your image stand out. Text overlays can be a powerful way of communicating a message instantly, particularly if you select a font with a big personality.
  • Vintage inspiration. Many social media users are loving the vintage look right now. Grainy textures, desaturated (dulled) colours and mellow presets can make a photo look as if it were taken on a much older camera than your smartphone, but with the added benefit of 21st century quality.
  • Collages and carousels. Social media posts with multiple images are proving very popular in 2021. One way to do this is upload a carousel of different images that can easily be swiped through. But another trend is to create a photo collage. Perhaps linked to the hankering for all things vintage, social media users are loving combining several images and text annotations together to look like the page of an old-fashioned scrapbook.
  • The no-edit edit. Interestingly, even when editing takes place, many social media users are beginning to make it more subtle and non-detectable. They want the photo to look good but also be authentic. Which is a real challenge for your editing skills.

On this last point, is it possible to tell whether a photo has been edited?


Can you tell if an image has been edited?

If you are editing an image but don’t want people to know, there are some pitfalls to avoid. Here are a few of them.

  • Too much “airbrushing”, for example removing small imperfections from a face, can remove the appearance of natural lighting and make the image look one-dimensional and artificial.
  • Inconsistencies between the subject and the background. If you are editing one area of an image, you need to make sure that the relative size and angle of the background still works with any changes you have made to the subject.
  • Obvious cloning. Cloning is a technique where you can copy part of an image and use it to replace another part of the image. For example either to replicate the best section of someone’s hair or skin, or to fill out the background of an image. But it can be easy to spot cloning – for example the same section of a crowd – if you are looking at an image carefully.
  • Inconsistent light and shade. There needs to be consistent lighting throughout the photograph. And, depending on the light quality when you take an image, there may also be shadows. If you are duplicating objects within the image, the lighting and shadows on that object need to be consistent with the surrounding section of the image.

We hope that this article has provided some useful information about the kind of photography editing and effects that are available to most smartphone users, popular trends in photography effects, and how to avoid some of the most obvious signs of editing.


At Venture Studios we can apply incredible professional photo editing to any of the images we take. Our state of the art post-editing software means that we are able to add amazing effects and all kinds of background art to your photographs.

When you book a photography experience with us, you will have not only an hour’s photoshoot but also a private cinematic viewing of the resulting images. When you choose an image to take home with you, we can finish it off for you in any style that you want, to create a completely personalised finished product for you.

So if you would like some truly awesome photos of you and yours, why not celebrate the forthcoming end of Covid restrictions by booking a Venture photography experience? All our Venture studios will be reopening soon, so we look forward to meeting you, and creating some wonderful images and effects that you will treasure forever.