The 8 Best TikTok Photo Editing Hacks You Need to Know!

The 8 Best TikTok Photo Editing Hacks You Need to Know!

TikTok is home to some of the most compelling trends that have popped up on social media platforms in the past few years, and photo editing trends are no different. Whether you are a teenager hopping on your phone or a brand leader settling in for a day of work, you have likely at least heard of TikTok, if not having also had some experience working with or engaging with the app. With a seemingly endless amount of content to scroll through and content for every niche, TikTok is a powerful platform, even it is being used to discuss social platforms and how best to engage with them. Here, we present 8 of the best TikTok photo editing hacks you need to know, kicked off by one of the most recent viral videos found on the platform. 

What’s a TikTok Photo Editing Hack?

what is a _____?

A TikTok photo editing hack is a hack made popular by TikTok, or a photo editor hack that initially popped up on TikTok. One of the most recent TikTok trends that went viral was a nifty iPhone photo edit hack, and was started by a user named @anaugazz. The photo editing trick ended up racking up over 20 million views. While it may seem simple enough, the photo edit hack makes basic selfies appear more vibrant and professional. More and more users began trying the photo editing trick for themselves, and a trend was born. 

Further Reading: 9 Proven Ways How To Grow Your TikTok Account

How to Do the TikTok iPhone Photo Editing Hack?

What exactly is the 13 step guide to complete the photo life hack? To complete the TikTok editing hack, you must first open your iPhone photos app, select a photo, and click “edit”. The bottom of the screen will have several configuration options. Set them to the following: 

  • Shift both the brilliance and exposure to 100 
  • Move the highlights bar to 35
  • Transition the phone’s black point setting to 10
  • Set the saturation to 10
  • Move the tint bar until it reaches 39
  • Alter the sharpness to 14
  • Change the vignette to 23
  • Set the image’s vibrance to 8
  • Set the image shadows to -28
  • Move the image contrast to -30
  • Set brightness to -15
  • Shift image warmth to 10
  • Either during the taking of the photo or during editing, move the exposure to 0

To see it in action check out the original TikTok video here:

Now revel in the magical transformation of your photos! Although your original photo may look lovely enough, implementing this photo hack (the precise settings sourced here) will take a run-of-the-mill selfie and make it look as though the subject and the person snapping the photo are capable of capturing incredible images that highlight the best features of the subject and bring a sense of life to the image. 

Further Reading: How To Add A Sound To TikTok And 6 Tips To Make It Go Viral

The Best TikTok Photo Editing Hacks

Note that the settings listed above are specifically for iPhones, and may not work the same way for Android and other phones. Nevertheless, there are different photo editing features you can fiddle with to achieve a similar photo trick on those phones. They include the following: 

Hack #1: Adjusting brightness and contrast

adjusting the brightness of an iphone photo

Any golden-hour photo hack requires changing the brightness and contrast of the photo. This is because people’s everyday lives very rarely are positioned in a way that effectively capture ideal lighting and highlight the contrasts found between light and dark. Most video tutorials will encourage you to change the brightness and contrast of your images, whether you are taking a picture of a field of sunflowers or capturing an image of yourself, your child, or even your pet. 

Hack #2: Adding filters and effects

Viral videos and viral photos alike utilize a host of filters and effects. These effects can take ordinary camera-roll selfies to new heights, and can even add additional flair and excitement to scenery like a beautiful field, or a plunging waterfall. Filters and effects are less about hiding what is in the image, and more about highlighting any color differences in the image, and picking up on any highlights and lowlights. Using filters and effects to tap into these nuances can elevate even the most mundane image and make it something truly worth looking at. 

Hack #3: Cropping and resizing photos

cropping an iphone photo

The dimensions of a standard photo is not always ideal for a photo or video sharing platform, so making good use of the ability to crop or resize your images is essential. From cropping an image to more effectively fit the prescribed dimensions of a social media platform to cropping an image to hone in on a more interesting detail or to create some dimension in the photo, your cropping and resizing tools should not be underestimated. 

Hack #4: Applying text to photos

Applying text to photos can be a difficult line to walk; text can add to a photo, by tying two thoughts together (think of a beautiful image overlaid with a block of inspiring text), or it can seem unusual or unwelcome. Rather than using everyday snaps to add text to, consider taking those photos of nature haphazardly taken on your phone and using those as your template for text overlays. Applying text to your photos in this way can elevate the images you post and draw active users’ eyes in. 

Hack #5: Creating collages with multiple photos

creating collages with multiple photos

Standard editing tools may not offer the ability to create collages, but collages are a great way to tackle multiple objectives. A collage can be used from a marketing standpoint to illustrate a point (think of a collage of customers smiling and using a product), to summarize a trip (think of a blocked display of the most breathtaking images you took while on a trip), to just provide numerous different angles and images of yourself. Collages allow you to say more within a single image, and can be useful for both personal and business ventures, alike. 

Hack #6: Adding stickers and emojis to photos

Less an editing tip and more a suggestion to bring more interest to your images, consider adding stickers and emojis to photos. While it will not have the same profound impact as, say, an inspiring quote placed over a beautiful image, it can lend an air of informality and fun to even the most mundane image, and can help viewers feel as though they are in on a joke or close to the poster. This is an increasingly common trend seen in social media content, and can easily humanize the largest and most impersonal of companies. 

Further Reading: The Secret TikTok Emoji Codes: What They Are and How to Access Them

Hack #7: Enhancing colors in photos

Enhancing the color in photos offers a subtler difference than making grand, sweeping changes to the brightness and contrast, but can nevertheless lend a more polished and intentional look to an edited photo versus an unedited one. Enhancing the colors in photos can take a background photo from uninteresting to riveting, and can create greater depth and dimension to an average selfie. 

Hack #8: Blurring the background of a photo

Blurring the background of a photo

Perhaps one of the greatest tricks to creating high-quality photos out of even the worst images, blurring the background of a photo is an essential hack, because it helps create a definitive sense of focus–especially in images where the focus is not necessarily clear. A selfie with a busy background can often make it difficult to focus on the person, as the background details are extremely distracting. Being able to blur what is going on in order to shift focus can make all of the difference in creating a high-quality image, and one that looks as though it was taken by a child or someone with very little experience. 

Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your TikTok Photo Editing Hacks

The perfect photo might not truly exist, but it is much easier to approximate it when you take advantage of the many image editing hacks that have been created and shared. To make sure that you are getting the most out of the editing hacks you have compiled, be sure to adhere to the following rules: 

  • Use natural light when taking photos. Natural light is not only the most flattering; it is also the easiest to manipulate. Non-natural lighting (or lighting not designed to mimic natural lighting) often casts harsh shadows and creates strange colors that can be difficult to edit out. Natural lighting, conversely, offers a greater range of chances and manipulatives, making it easier to work with and creating higher-quality images to begin with. 
  • Experiment with different filters and effects. No one will learn how to perfectly edit images in a single night, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different filters and effects. Different operating systems offer different tools, and different programs appeal to different demographics. Before deciding on a specific filter or a specific series of settings, make sure you play around with those settings and filters first, and find presets or settings that consistently appeal to you and provide the style and attitude you are after. 
  • Take advantage of free online photo editing software and apps. While there are plenty of paid subscriptions that can provide superlative tools with which to work, there are also numerous apps and software offered for free that can help create breathtaking (or at the very least professional-looking) images without a hefty price tag. By experimenting with these apps, you can get a feel for photo editing, and the aspects you most enjoy changing and working with, without breaking the bank or creating an additional hole through which to burn funds. 

Further Reading: The 15 Best TikTok Watermark Remover Websites and Apps for 2024


TikTok started out as an app targeting teenagers and young adults, but has grown into a powerhouse that people of all ages, backgrounds, and skill levels can enjoy. Just like Facebook and Instagram before it, TikTok is a vital piece of the marketing puzzle, both as a platform for brands to create and curate content on, and as a means of staying abreast of the latest in social media, news, and trends. Using the image editing hacks listed above, you can stay on top of the image expectations for both personal accounts and brand accounts, and even continue to make sure your own TikTok account/s are delivering on the latest trends and staying in the mix. 

Although our discussion was kicked off by a particular image editing hack that went viral, TikTok continues to be a valuable resource for improving your images, videos, and even your engagement practices and habits, and can be a simple way to make sure you are keeping up with the latest trends.

Further Reading: 17 TikTok Video Ideas That Will Skyrocket Your Engagement

Hero photo by James Scott on Unsplash

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Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer

Neal Schaffer is a leading authority on helping businesses through their digital transformation of sales and marketing through consulting, training, and helping enterprises large and small develop and execute on social media marketing strategy, influencer marketing, and social selling initiatives. President of the social media agency PDCA Social, Neal also teaches digital media to executives at Rutgers University, the Irish Management Institute (Ireland), and the University of Jyvaskyla (Finland). Fluent in Japanese and Mandarin Chinese, Neal is a popular keynote speaker and has been invited to speak about digital media on four continents in a dozen countries. He is also the author of 3 books on social media, including Maximize Your Social (Wiley), and in late 2019 will publish his 4th book, The Business of Influence (HarperCollins), on educating the market on the why and how every business should leverage the potential of influencer marketing. Neal resides in Irvine, California but also frequently travels to Japan.

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