Afterlight 2 is a popular photo or image editor app available for iPhone users. Coming from Afterlight Collective, Inc, this version is a complete overhaul of the Afterlight app. Powerful and inexpensive, this Afterlight app makes the process of enhancing photos easy for everyone with many useful tools.

If you are deciding whether to purchase the Afterlight program or not, it’s helpful to first understand the quality, relevance, and user-friendliness of the Afterlight app and its tools to determine if Afterlight meets your needs.

Quick Overview of Afterlight 2

Overall, this program is a very good image or photo editor. The clean design of Afterlight has a variety of icons that lead to a collection of photo filters and image adjustment tools. Afterlight is used by all types of people who want to edit photos, and it is especially popular with beginner photographers and iPhone photo artists. 

With all of the different functions, tools, filters, and image settings, even novice photographers are able to turn the quality of their photos from average into edited image masterpieces with Afterlight.

The Afterlight app includes a large assortment of features, tools, and filters that invite users to explore and experiment. The simple layout of Afterlight is designed with clear icons, tools, and filters that make it easy to understand all of the ways users can edit their images with Afterlight. 

Afterlight Pros:

  • User-Friendly
  • Easy-to-Create Photo Filters
  • Included Preset Filters Save Time
  • Collections: Community Filter Sharing
  • Text Overlay Tool
  • Selective Hue Adjustment
  • Selective Lightness

Afterlight Cons:

  • Unnecessary Features and Tools
  • Lack of Frame Options

rainbow face paint

Review of Afterlight 2

For this part, we’re going to explain which features and image adjustment tools we found most helpful for photographers who want to change the filters and effects of an image or photo. We’ll also look into how the program’s tools and filters allow you to add graphics and texts to any image or photo. 

User-Friendly Interface

While there are many choices available, the power and user-friendliness of this wonderful program make it one of the most popular iPhone apps. Post-processing is an essential process of photography, no matter the skill level of the photographer. 

Whether you are a beginner or a professional photographer, post-processing is key to enhancing the beauty of photos. It encourages users to explore the various filters or tools, and experiment with tweaking light, textures, temperature, brightness, color tools and so much more.

Uploading from Camera Roll

Selecting a photo or image to edit is simple and straightforward. The Afterlight app connects to the iPhone camera roll, allowing users to simply click on the desired image from their image or photo library.  The friendly interface has clearly marked icons, tools, filters, symbols, and commands.

Like Adobe Lightroom, it supports importing of RAW photos as large as 6144 x 6144 pixels. Aside from that, it lets you export files in High-Efficiency Image Compression (HEIC) format. 

Built-in Camera

The application has a built-in camera that contains several manual settings such as shutter speed, ISO, and white balance. It also has tools for self-timer and modifying grids.  

Social Media Integration

As a photographer, it’s essential that you can share your edited image or photo on social media to increase exposure and attract clients. After doing post-processing in your photo or image, you would see the actual icons of different social media platforms, allowing you to share the final output online without leaving the program. 

Easy-to-Create Filters

It has the ability to save edits and create filter presets. Filter presents are very helpful and cuts down on post-processing time. You can create a preset by saving a combination of edits. Then the program asks you to name and save the preset. 

Congratulations, you just made your first filter! The customized filters are easy to locate. Saving presets and filters is a popular post-processing practice among photographers for adjusting multiple images that were shot in similar lighting.

create photo filters

Included Preset Filters

The program also contains helpful preset filters already built into the Afterlight app. This original collection of presets and filters are easy to locate from inside the menu. You may notice that they are set up in a similar fashion to the filters on Instagram. 

Afterlight groups these standard presets and filters together by color. There is a color line across the top of each filter that assigns the filters into the categories of red, orange, green, blue, and purple color, depending on the intended use of each preset.

Collections: Community Filter Sharing

The ability to download additional filter collections filters makes this app rather unique. Located within the section of available presets, these are free filters created by established photographers, which are then shared with the entire community. Afterlight allows users to browse free collections and save desired presets for adjusting their own photography. Each month new collections of presets are featured.

You may wonder, why would photographers give away their filters? It’s a win-win for everyone because Afterlight provides these photographers with web traffic and exposure. When users download a photographer’s featured collection, an icon invites them to visit the photographer’s Instagram profile. 

This gives the photographer the opportunity to grow followers. At the same time, Afterlight users can benefit by seeing real examples of the filters offered.

Transformation Tools

This cluster of adjustment tools lets you make basic adjustments for a photo. If you need a quick way to rotate, flip, straighten, skew, or crop photos while you’re on the move, these transformation tools will prove handy.


This tool allows you to cut away the edges of a photo so that you can remove distractions and unwanted elements in the frame. Likewise, you can use this tool to change the aspect ratio of a photo into original, square, 4:3, and the like.


This tool provides a quick way for you to rotate a photo by 90 degrees each time you tap it. Continue tapping this tool until you reach horizontal, vertical, or skewed orientations. 


This tool enables you to flip a photo vertically or horizontally, giving you a mirrored version of the picture.


If you need help leveling your landscape and shots, this tool lets you straighten your lines. 


If you need to do architecture photography and still don’t have the right lens for it, the Skew tool can help you correct perspective adjustments. 

Visible Adjustment Tool Icons

One of the common problems photographers encounter with other image tools is that you can’t see the adjustment tools right away. 

The great thing about this application is that despite having lots of tools, you can easily access different tools from the screen.

Brightness: Boost brightness to your photo without distorting or washing out the shadows with this tool.

Contrast: Increase or decrease the contrast between dark and light areas of an image with this tool.

Vibrance: This tool makes the photo without color or more vibrant. 

Grain: This tool adds grain to produce vintage and film effects.

Glow: Add a soft glow to your photos. 

Vignette: Add a faded black or white border around the edge of the image.

Chroma: Produce 3D-like and distorted effects. 

Tint: Add a purple color or green color tint to images. 

Sharpening: Sharpen fine details of a photo. 

Because of the user-friendly interface, you can use a slider to control most of these adjustment tools. 

Curves Tool

While this is one of the program’s most complex adjustment tools, it could be one of the most useful commands once you master it. The Curves tool will be your go-to feature if your photo edits usually include adjusting the color, brightness, and contrast.   

Once you click the Curves tool, a diagonal line will show four options: RGB, Red, Green, and Blue. All you have to do is drag the different points along the line to control the shadows, highlights, and mid-tones. 

If you’re usually having trouble seeing the intensity of the adjustment, check if the diagonal line turns into a curve. The higher the line, the more intense your adjustment becomes. 

Text and Artwork

If you find moving from Lightroom to Photoshop a bit time-consuming, the text and artwork features of this program will save you from that hassle. With the following tools, you can add several layers of graphics and texts to create visuals. 

Text Overlay Tool

This is a very user-friendly feature which allows you to add text to a photo. It includes a large variety of fonts and settings for editing the opacity, distance, angle, and blur of the words. 

Generally, text is not something people first consider using within apps, however, it is an extremely useful feature. It allows you to add words, quotes, and a copyright watermark to your images. The Afterlight app also includes a selection of artwork which can be added to any photo very easily.

Tap the Text icon, which should allow you to type words, numbers, and symbols. To make the text more personalized, you can use these adjustment icons: Font, Color, Text Alignment, Shadow, and Eraser. 

Graphical Effects

One of the best things about this program is that you can add some graphics, much like in Adobe Photoshop. By clicking the Artwork icon, you can see different options such as Botanicals, Stickers, and Quotes. 

If you love using words, Quotes will save you time typing words because of its preset, stylized phrases. Meanwhile, Stickers contain text and graphics that look like actual stickers. 

Perhaps among the Afterlight app’s unique features is the Botanicals command, which lets you add floral and foliage overlays without the need to draw. You can resize, move, and rotate all of the graphic effects. 

Selective Hue Adjustment

Selective Hue is one of the best tools because it allows users to isolate and manipulate a single color within a photo while leaving the rest of the photo alone. 

This easy-to-use tool creates stunning post-processing results. Depending on the composition, lighting, and color within a picture, sometimes adjusting the color can make a subtle, but poignant change. Other times, this color tool can change a photo dramatically. 

This is an essential element of photo post-processing because different photos can call for either subtle or dramatic changes to be made. 

To master the selective color feature, try changing a photo with many vibrant colors, such as a tray of fruits. You’ll be amazed by the various ways the Selective Hue tool can affect your image and its color.

Selective Lightness

The Selective Lightness tool is very similar to Selective Hue. The difference between them is that while Selective Hue leans towards dramatic photo changes instead of just color, Selective Lightness creates more subtle, aesthetically appealing changes. 

It controls how bright or dark the selected color is within your image. By darkening the color and brightening others, you can make certain aspects of your photos pop. As you become more familiar, this color tool will become one of your favorites to use when editing images.

Selective Lightness tool

Color Overlay Tool

If you love experimenting with different hues to change the mood of your photos, the Color Overlay tool will help you add cool or warm color tones using various color overlays. 

Once you have a color, you can easily use the slider at the bottom to adjust the color intensity. Additionally, there are color blending modes you can use to control how the color overlay blends with the original colors of the photo. 

Gradient Tool

Somehow similar to the Color Overlay tool, the Gradient tool gradually blends two or more colors to create a color overlay. 

For example, when you can’t decide between two colors, you can experiment using both, as this color tool lets you rotate the gradient’s color. 

If you usually need a color overlay to make your sky backgrounds look bluer and the landscapes below become more orange, you can combine these colors into a gradient overlay. The best part is that you can adjust the gradient’s color strength and how it blends with the image.

Challenges of Using the Editing Tools

This program is a very good image-enhancing program, but it has a couple of minor issues. The biggest criticism is that there are too many unnecessary adjustment tools and features, which can create clutter within the interface.

Unnecessary Features

Having a wide range of features is usually desired for image-enhancing apps. But working with an abundance of adjustment tools and features is much easier on a desktop or laptop than it is on a mobile device. Many of them are simply not very useful to iPhone photographers.

The Afterlight interface has five main buttons at the bottom of the screen which opens a set of detailed functions. One of these buttons is a symbol of two rings, which opens four more icons: Dust, Light, Color Shift, and Double Exposure. These are frankly not necessary. They would work better on a larger device with a program like Lightroom or Photoshop, rather than cluttering the interface of a smaller tool designed for iPhone users.

1. Dust

Dust is an unnecessary filter. There are more than 10 specific dust settings that can be applied to an image. However, this is not generally desired when using a mobile version. Only in rare post-processing circumstances would adding this to a photo produce an interesting result. In most cases, applying this makes the photo seem dirty instead of artistic.

2. Color Shift

Color shift is another filter that is not essential when adjusting images with this photo editor. The color literally shifts to give the photo a 3D-like quality with this one. However, like the dust filter, the color shift filter is not incredibly useful. While it’s certainly possible this filter could improve a photo in rare situations, in reality, this filter is unnecessary for everyday post-processing.

This tool or filter separates and offsets the red, green, and blue color channels to form a glitchy abstract effect. Move the slider to adjust the amount of color shift and separation.

Chapmans Pool

3. Double Exposure

Double Exposure is another novelty filter in Afterlight. While the Double Exposure filter allows two images or photos to be blended together to create a unique editing effect, the Double Exposure filter does not serve any practical purpose. The Double Exposure filter offers no real benefit to iPhone photographers and photo editors. 

However, you can still use the Double Exposure feature if you like creating a unique combination of pictures in Afterlight. The Double Exposure feature also contains a range of blending modes, such as Screen, Lighten, and Darken, that enable you to change the intensity of the photo adjustment as you like in Afterlight.  

4. Light

Light is probably the most useful filter out of this list of “unnecessary” post-processing filters and editing tools in Afterlight. Admittedly, the Light filter does prove useful for post-processing. There is a large selection of light filters that provide different effects to the image or photo in Afterlight. 

Most of these light filters in Afterlight are too bold and more than a little tacky, yet there is one helpful option in the filters bunch: The ability to mute the colors. For photos taken outside, sometimes the muted light filter can add an aesthetically appealing overlay to the final image or photo in Afterlight.

However, the Light filter can be one of your extra effects and editing tools in Afterlight when you want to add a 35mm film camera filter effect on your photo. Depending on how you adjust the image or photo in Afterlight, you can also create light overlays, light leaks filters, or rainbow prism effects. There’s also a slider for modifying the light intensity filter as you like.

Lack of Frame Options

When it comes to adding an artistic photo frame around your photo, there aren’t many choices or filters in Afterlight. It’s a bit disappointing.  Even though multiple colors can be selected for each style, there are only four different frame styles available in Afterlight.

However, many users feel the opposite is true when it comes to picture frame options in Afterlight. While Afterlight lets you add an artistic frame around your photo, the available frame styles in Afterlight are rather limited.

How to Use Afterlight

Afterlight 2 allows users to be creative and improve their images to either subtlety change an image or photo or to dramatically alter a photo. Afterlight is somewhat similar to the editing processes of both Instagram and Lightroom. 

Like Instagram, there are many different filters to choose between on the bottom menu of the Afterlight application. However, the Afterlight app offers more complex editing options. 

In this way, its sophisticated filters, tools and features make Afterlight more comparable to Lightroom. In both apps, Lightroom and Afterlight, users have the ability to save their presets and name them within a personalized collection.

Upon opening the Afterlight program, users are able to select photos directly from the camera roll on their iPhone. After selecting a photo, Afterlight opens with a simple design that has five photo-editing icons at the bottom of the screen. 

These Afterlight symbols are for editing, adjustments, filters, special editing tools, and text overlay. Each Afterlight icon opens more features, editing tools, and options for post-processing.

There is a wide variety of editing features and editing tools available in the Afterlight image or photo editor, so you can easily crop your photos and images, change the textures, make minor adjustments, or completely overhaul your photos with Afterlight.

After you’re finished changing a photo, press the “next” button on the top right-hand corner of the screen in Afterlight. This takes you to a final page in Afterlight where you can add an optional picture frame and share it on social media.

The Afterlight program is very user-friendly. Afterlight is easy to learn the different commands and functions thanks to its simple layout and design.

stacked stones along a stream

Differences Between Afterlight and Afterlight 2

If you’ve tried Afterlight’s predecessor, you’ll notice that this new version of Afterlight allows for a more streamlined post-processing because the new Afterlight version comes with more adjustment tools. However, there are some classic filters that you can only see in the original Afterlight version. 

In addition, this Afterlight program is only available for iOS users, so those with Android mobiles may have to look for a different application. Furthermore, the android Afterlight version can only edit JPEG images and photos.

Hence, this new version of Afterlight would be better for photographers who want more control over an image or photo’s settings and adjustments

Pricing and Subscription

Afterlight is a great photo post-processing program that offers the perfect balance between the simple and advanced photo and image enhancing applications.

For the low price of $2.99 on the app store, it is worthwhile to explore the features and tools offered within the Afterlight app to help you with your post-processing of any image

Another benefit of using this Afterlight editor on any image is that there are no in-app purchases or hidden subscription fees. Once you download the Afterlight application, it already contains several image filters. Afterlight also regularly updates with more free filters without any in-app purchases. 

Unlike other post-processing programs that require a subscription or outrageous fees, this Afterlight image editor lets you enjoy several perks with only a one-time fee. In effect, you can save a lot of bucks in the long run with Afterlight. 


Afterlight 2 is a mid-level post-processing program with an excellent reputation. The powerful, yet simple design of Afterlight provides iPhone photographers with a wide variety of post-processing and image adjustment tools.

While other image post-processing programs such as Photoshop or Lightroom can be intimidating to new photographers, this Afterlight program is very user-friendly. The intuitive design of Afterlight allows users to edit and experiment with the composition of their photos

Want to learn more about photography and photo post-processing applications like Afterlight? Sign up for a free membership with Cole’s Classroom! You’ll become an expert photographer and image editor in no time. Join us today!

Similar Posts