16 must-have apps for creators, according to creators

Notch

Instagram tips

Behind every successful creator is a mix of apps helping them run their content business. We asked top creators like Negarina Cooper, Ashley Lands, Hailey Feldman to share their favorites - from photo editing apps to link-in-bio and creator payment apps. Let’s dive in.

Photo editing apps for creators

A great photo editing app can take your pictures from amateur to expert in just a few quick taps.

1. Lightroom

Adobe Lightroom is one of the most popular photo editing apps for creators. You can download it for free on Android, Windows or iOS and seamlessly sync your photos across platforms.

Amend the colors, light and effects on a particular photo, or upgrade to a premium plan for more advanced tools such as masking, healing and geometry.

Ashley Lands, Founder of Stuff Oui Love and Instagrammer with over 50K followers, claims that upgrading to Creative Cloud by Adobe is worth it depending on your business needs.  

“This system is a one-stop shop for editing,” she explains. “It’s compiled of Creative Cloud (for storing data), Photoshop and Lightroom (for photo editing), and Illustrator and InDesign (for graphic design). You can do everything from edit images, store all your data in their cloud and create other media.”

She continues: “If you're just starting out and you'd like to save money, my suggestion would be a basic Lightroom plan because nothing else beats this editing software.”

Adobe Lightroom app

2. Facetune2

Facetune is the original airbrushing app by Lightricks that allows you to whiten teeth, smooth skin and patch any imperfections. You can also apply frames and filters to completely alter the aesthetic of a photo. It has since been succeeded by Facetune2.

The best thing about this app is its ease of use. Download it to your mobile, import a photo from your camera roll and touch it up within minutes. You can also save the new version to your camera roll once you’re done, send it via email or directly share to Instagram.

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Video editing apps for creators

Videos without edits can be long, dull and fail to engage the viewer after the first couple of seconds. Use one of these high-quality video editing apps to create a shorter, more succinct masterpiece that sustains the attention of your audience.

3. CapCut

Ashley @ashleymlands says: “I have downloaded/used more than 64 video editing apps since 2016. In the end, I found myself repeatedly coming back to CapCut.”

CapCut is a free all-in-one video editing app launched by the makers of TikTok (Bytedance). It was designed to help TikTokers create high-quality videos for the platform, but any type of creator can use it.

“It's brilliant and so easy to use,” claims Ashley. “There are thousands of TikTok tutorials on how to make creative videos and it can accommodate 4K video.”

Cap Cat tutorials

4. InShot

InShot was originally released for Android in 2014 by Chinese developer QuVideo. However, the iOS version shortly followed in 2015.

It’s a go-to video editing app for creators because of its clean and minimal interface, allowing you to produce videos quickly and effortlessly. In fact, at the time of writing this, it has been downloaded over 500 million times.

Planning/scheduling apps for creators

These planning/scheduling apps are handy for creating content in advance so that it aligns with your business goals, personal brand and target audience.  

5. Planoly

Planoly is commonly used by creators of all sizes. Ashley @ashleymlands explains: “You can easily plan and schedule content for Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter using Planoly. I find it simple and effective, even with the free version.”

Speaking of the free plan, you can upload 30 posts and schedule them to your feed. For more uploads, you have to upgrade to a paid plan.

Either way, one of the benefits of using Planoly is you get access to Insights, which allows you to compare the performance of your posts. This tells you the types of content you should focus on based on what’s resonating with your audience.

Planoly app

6. Preview

Preview is the simplified version of Planoly that helps you to plan the right “look and feel” for your Instagram feed according to presets or a specific graphic design. It ensures that your content stays true to your visual brand identity—and looks pretty, of course.

All you have to do is sign up for a free account, import your photos, and begin dragging and dropping until your heart’s content. You have limited uploads though, and are unable to plan Reels or access full analytics unless you upgrade to a premium plan.

7. Buffer

“One of my favorite apps to use for scheduling content is Buffer,” says Negarina Cooper, a yoga instructor, singer and performer who has 300k Instagram followers.

“I personally prefer to schedule out my posts days or even weeks in advance to free up time to engage and interact with my followers. Buffer allows for just that by scheduling out posts as far as you would like, taking out the laborious task of drafting up, posting and responding to content all on the same day.”

Negarina continues: “Buffer is extremely user-friendly and has a lot of awesome features that help to alleviate the stresses of posting content.”

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Design/content apps for creators

Without exceptional content, you don’t have a career as a content creator. Level up the design and aesthetic of your posts with the following apps for creators.

8. Canva

“If you're just starting out, I highly recommend Canva as the best free option out there for photo design,” says Ashley @ashleymlands. It has thousands of templates to assist you in creating professional-looking social media posts, media kits, logos and more. You can also take advantage of its free stock library.

Hailey Feldman, an actress, model and style influencer with over 18K followers, agrees: “Canva is wonderful. I subscribe to their Pro plan to get even better templates. I use it on my phone and desktop.”

Canva on a screen

9. Hashtag Expert

Hailey @haileyefeldman is a fan of the Hashtag Expert app, calling it “incredible” for increasing her Instagram reach via hashtags.

She explains: “It allows you to search hashtags and related hashtags to put into your IG Captions or comments and has a ranking system for each hashtag—A, B, C or D. This tells you how popular the hashtag is and rates it accordingly.” Essentially, the more popular a hashtag is, the more eyeballs you can get on your posts, leading to new likes, comments and followers.

That said, try to avoid hashtags that have millions of uses. In this case, your post would run the risk of getting lost in the crowd.

10. Copy.ai

If you need to sharpen up your written voice on social media, Hailey recommends Copy.ai for all your caption writing needs. "Copy.ai is my favorite writing AI tool. I couple Copy.ai with Grammarly to help me find inspiration and write without errors.”

You can use Copy.AI for free for up to 2,000 words per month with the basic features. For more words and features, you have to upgrade to the premium plan.

Likewise, Grammarly is so handy for checking spelling, grammar and conciseness—all for free! For tone suggestions, full-sentence rewrites and plagiarism detection, you’d need to upgrade to a paid plan.

Link in bio apps for creators

Include more than one link in your profile bio using the below tools for more opportunities to gain views, clicks and conversions.

11. Stan

Stan allows you to build your own creator store that you can link to from your profile bio. Its straightforward-to-use drag-and-drop builder means that set-up can be completed in just a few short minutes.

List all your products and services in one place and then let the mobile-optimized checkout transform your visitor into a customer with minimal fuss.

Stan link-in-bio tool

12. Koji

Koji allows you to “supercharge” your link in bio by including a series of mini apps exclusive to the tool, such as a media wall, TipJar, quizzes and more!

As well as being able to customize links, buttons and highlights, you can also amend colors, texts, layouts and backgrounds to align with your personal branding.

Income apps for creators

Diversify your income streams and increase your revenue with these convenient income apps for creators.

13. LTK

Hailey @haileyefeldman uses LTK to generate 50% of her business. LTK is the largest influencer marketing platform to date, featuring over 200K creators, 6K brands and millions of shoppers. It enables creators to share product links and receive a commission for every product their audience purchases.

“I source products using LTK’s Link Ninja via desktop and mobile. When I post to LTK on a daily basis, I see results.”

Hailey also uses LTK across her blog, which is where the bulk of her income from LTK is generated. “I love LTK because you can create code to insert products into blog posts, as well as share links across social media. It’s very easy to use.” And it works!

LTK shown on two screens

14. TRIBE

If you have over 3K followers, you can download TRIBE on your mobile. This connects creators with brand campaigns, allowing them to apply, submit content and get paid all through one (free) app.

All active campaigns will be listed on the home screen of the app—and one tap will allow you to view the brief details and make your pitch. Having said that, keep in mind that there can be a lot of competition for one campaign.

Invoicing and accounting apps for creators

The invoicing/accounting side of being a professional creator can cause headaches. Fortunately, the following apps are here to save the day and effectively simplify getting paid.

15. Lumanu

According to the Lumanu website, “moving money just got easier, as a creator and as a business.” You can send quick, free invoices and automatic payment reminders without having to follow up manually.

Lumanu also offers a service where you don’t have to wait for payment from a brand. You can cash out your invoice in advance with Lumanu EarlyPay.

Not to mention, the app’s interface is extremely user-friendly, clean and attractive to help streamline the invoicing process further.

16. Willa

Lastly, Willa provides “super-fast payments for creators and freelancers” and is currently used by over 10K individuals. The great thing about Willa is that your client doesn’t need the app and they can just use their preferred payment method upon receiving an invoice.

Like Lumanu, Willa allows you to get paid upfront for qualified requests with their Cash Out service. In addition to this, they handle all your paperwork, W-9s and vendor forms as you collect your money. Apparently, it’s like having your own finance department without the hassle.

Willa payment app

The takeaway

As a business owner in the fast-moving digital space, it can be difficult to know which way to turn. Apps and tools are useful to speed up and streamline certain processes so you can focus on what you do best—producing top-notch content that continues to attract, engage and grow your audience.

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