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Photo Contest Insider Blog

A Color Story Photo Editing App Review

January 28, 2019

A Color Story has emerged as one of the most popular photo editing apps for iOS and Android devices. Unlike other apps that focus on muted and moody tones, A Color Story emphasizes bright whites and vibrant colors. Many Instagram aficionados love the A Color Story app. But does the app live up to its hype? We review the pros and cons to help you decide and if it’s a useful tool for your next photo contest.

Pros of Using A Color Story Photo Editing App

  • Enhances Photos for Social Media Sharing
  • Includes Over 20 Free Tools
  • Offers Desktop Version with Lightroom Presets and Photoshop Actions

Cons of Using A Color Story Photo Editing App

  • Requires a Purchase for Many Filters and Effects
  • Has a Somewhat Confusing User Interface

The base app is free, but in-app purchases are available. Many who want to try A Color Story wonder if buying filters and effects is worthwhile. The costs of the Lightroom and Photoshop packages in A Color Story desktop can add up quickly. Our review can help you decide if spending money on A Color Story can help you achieve your photography goals.



The Pros and Cons of A Color Story


Mobile devices have broadened the appeal of photography. With sites like Instagram motivating photo sharing, many people want to create beautiful images with colors that pop. This is true whether they share a broad range of photos or focus on a specific theme, such as pet photography. Also, some small and medium business owners have taken to social media to promote their brand—and need easy photo editing tools.

A Color Story—an app created by lifestyle company A Beautiful Mess—aims to satisfy the needs of this growing marketplace.

With so many editing apps vying for your attention—and your dollars—it’s helpful to know the pros and cons of A Color Story before making any purchases. A little knowledge can help you make the right choices and stretch your photography budget most effectively.


Pros of Using A Color Story


What is A Color Story? Is it right for me? If you have spent any time in photography circles, you’ve probably asked yourself these questions. Here are a few positives about the popular app to help you understand its good points and possibly make money with photography.

Enhances Photos for Social Media Sharing

Many people turn to A Color Story when seeking color filters for pictures. This is especially true for users of highly visual social sites. On Pinterest and Instagram colors can make images stand out in a virtual sea of visual content.

For example, if you’ve ever taken a photo of an enticing meal to share with your social friends, you may find yourself at the mercy of bad restaurant lighting and dull colors. Apply the right filter and you can elevate a casual shot into an eye-catching example of flat lay photography with ease.  Even your photography props will stand out after editing with A Color Story.

Just how popular is A Color Story? Do an Instagram search on #acolorstory and you’ll find a large group of devoted users. This will also help you see if the app’s filters, effects, and tools align with your personal vision for your photography composition.

If you’re an avid Instagram user, switching over to this editing app can provide you with a selection of filters that are quite different from Instagram’s built-in ones. In fact, noted social influencers and publications carefully crafted several A Color Story filters—which boosts their credibility and appeal.


A Color Story, is used by millions across the globe to make fresh, colorful photos and videos.


You can enhance your social photos even more with effects, such as color fog and light flares. And layering multiple effects during editing can make your images truly unique.

If you have your own company, A Color Story can help you maintain consistency and use the same brand colors on social media as you do in other advertising. You can select a pre-made filter and apply it over every photo you share for a consistent look. Alternatively, you can create and save your own custom filter and apply it to your photos again and again. People who rave about the Color Story app often cite this as one of their favorite features.


Includes Over 20 Free Tools


The tools in A Color Story are quite robust—and one of its strong points. Many users have suggested that the tools make the app feel like a scaled-down version of Photoshop that you can access on your phone.

Overall, the tools are easy to use and can help you significantly enhance and alter your photos. They include options to adjust brightness, clarity, contrast, curves, saturation, temperature—and other elements of every photo. You can also crop or rotate photos, adjust shadows and tints, or add vignette effects.  Users report outdoor images and photos taken in a photography studio see significant improvement with the editing tools provided by A Color Story.


Offers Desktop Version with Lightroom Presets and Photoshop Actions 


The team at A Beautiful Mess launched A Color Story desktop app to help users streamline their editing process. While many users rely on the phone app as a primary editing app, some users were using Adobe desktop software first then moving photos to their phones to apply A Color Story filters. The desktop version of A Color Story offers Lightroom presets and Photoshop actions that make those time-consuming editing steps much more efficient.

The initial launch of desktop version retooled popular A Color Story filters to make them compatible with Photoshop and Lightroom. Through this process, the team aimed to capture the essence of their app filters while improving the support of DSLR photography.

At launch, A Beautiful Mess offered a wide range of sets—including The Blush Set for subtle adjustments and The Chroma Set for lovers of bright colors. With The Weekend Set, you can achieve bright hues that capture a relaxing vacation mood that’s perfect for travel photography. The company has plans to release more sets for A Color Story desktop over time.

Cons of Using a Color Story


Although A Color Story has won the affections of professional and amateur photographers alike, it’s not for everyone. Here are a few of the downsides of the app.

Requires a Purchase for Many Filters and Effects

Every app needs to make money somehow. For A Color Story, that means offering a free base version and enticing users to make in-app purchases.

The good news about A Color Story is that its robust tool collection is available for free. If you are familiar with common photography adjustments and enhancements—and comfortable editing your own photos—the free tools may be all you need. However, those with less photography editing experience often rely on filters—and free filter options are rather limited.

When you first download A Color Story, you’ll get some filters in the Essentials pack for free. If you take certain actions—such as signing up for emails or following A Color Story on Instagram—you may gain access to additional filters. The app also offers free limited-time purchases of other filter sets on occasion—so keep an eye out for those deals.

Access to free effects is also quite limited. You’ll have access to sample effects that give you a taste of what’s available in effect packs that require a purchase.

While you can purchase filters and effects individually based on your interests, you can also purchase all the add-ons together. The latter option is more expensive but can save you money in the long run if you plan to use A Color Story regularly.


Has a Somewhat Confusing User Interface


Those who have tried and abandoned A Color Story cite the app’s user interface as one of its chief drawbacks. It’s not terrible, but it does require a learning curve. If you’re already accustomed to other app and software interfaces, you may find yourself facing some frustrations.

When editing photos using the app, A Color Story does make it easy for you to select photos or take a picture with your camera. On the next screen, you’ll have the option to review your photo on a larger scale and make major edits—such as cropping, rotating, or flipping. For this screen, A Color Story uses icons to save space and convey actions. The icons can appear quite small—especially on devices with smaller screens—so this is a drawback for some users.

Next, the app routes you to another screen to edit your photos. Here again, the app relies on icons to convey actions—but these are coupled with words, so the intent is much more clear. You can add filters or effects, use tools, access saved edits, or visit the shop. There’s also a bar that lets you remove and renew effects or save your editing step. Unfortunately, this bar features unlabeled icons, so it’s easy to get confused.

Another area of confusion for some users is how to save edits after applying effects. There is a small check mark on the right of your edited image that you must check to save your photo. Otherwise, you will lose all your work and need to start over.

Some users view these interface hiccups as serious shortcomings, but others persist and grow to love the app. The only way to know if A Color Story will work for you is to give it a try




Is A Color Story Right for Your Photo Editing Needs?


You may have heard about A Color Story and wondered if it is a good app to add to your photo editing suite. As with any tool, there are pros and cons to evaluate and determine if it will add to your photography inspiration.

If you frequently use mobile devices to take and share photographs on social media, A Color Story may be a good option for you. The built-in filters are different from the ones everyone uses on Instagram and other sites—so your photos can definitely stand out. However, many of the filters require a fee. That means A Color Story may not be the best choice if you’re primarily looking for color filters for pictures.

The tools in A Color Story are the app’s great assets. You will find many tools that are similar to those available in Photoshop. And if you do use Adobe’s popular editing software, you may find value in some A Color Story Photoshop actions—or the presets available for Lightroom. These don’t come cheap, but they can save you the step of editing in one of those packages first and moving to the A Color Story app to add filters.

A Color Story can be a valuable tool for small and medium businesses who have limited budgets for professional photo editing. You can design your own filters to align with your brand color palette and create a fresh look for your business. And you don’t need a professional designer on staff or expensive photo editing training to meet your goals.

If you’re inspired to try it out, download the free version and experiment. Shoot in RAW format to ensure you get the most editing options.  You can apply and save filters, use tools, and aim to convey different emotions through various color combinations. Working through the tutorial may be helpful to help you overcome any confusion you may feel about the app’s interface. And if you find A Color Story helpful, you can explore options to use add-ons for Photoshop and Lightroom.

Try the base app first to see if it works for you. Some photographers prefer to use it in combination with other apps—like VCSO. But many die-hard fans rely on A Color Story as their go-to source for photo editing. Ultimately, your photography skill level and goals will help you make the right decision.

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