Enhance your Windows Phone photos with Afterlight

Afterlight is a Windows Phone photo editor that joins the crowded field of photography apps available in the Windows Phone Store. Afterlight hopes its simple design and snappy tools will help it stand out from this crowded field of apps.

Afterlight offers 8 adjustment tools, 57 filters, 66 textures, 79 frames and cropping tools to fine-tune your photos and give them a little pop. You also have in-app purchase opportunities to expand your editing tools, Instagram integration, Pictures Hub integration to choose Afterlight as an editor and an in-app camera app.

On the surface Afterlight comes across as a capable Windows Phone photo editor but a cumbersome interface and tiny thumbnail controls holds this editor from standing out from the crowd.

Main Page Collection

Afterlight greets you with four main pages that include:

  • A thumbnail image collection from your Picture Hub's Camera Roll
  • A listing of your most recently edited photos
  • An Instagram page that will display images from your Instagram feed
  • A page displaying images from Afterlight's Instagram page

Just a quick note about pulling up images from other folders in your Pictures Hub is that you can only access your Camera Roll folder directly from Afterlight. To access other folders (Saved Images, OneDrive, etc.) you will need to go through your Pictures Hub and choose Afterlight from the editor options on each individual image.

Across the bottom of Afterlight's main pages you will find a camera button to launch the camera app and a three-dot menu. Up under the three-dot menu you will find access to the app's settings, the about page, a link to rate the app in the Windows Phone Store, a link to the app's credits and a link to view a tour of the app.

Settings for Afterlight include:

  • Launching the app into the camera mode
  • Determining image size (small, medium, original or ask each time you save an image)
  • Turning on/off a low light boost
  • Choosing between a black or white background for editing

The in-app camera mode is rather on the basic side but does have a nice host of features. You have a large on-screen shutter button with a thumbnail of your last image taken on the main viewfinder. To the side is a host of options that includes toggling between the front and rear cameras, an exposure compensation bar, turning on/off a Rule of Thirds grid and your flash settings.

Additional camera settings can be found under the three-dot menu that includes a white balance adjustment, a three second timer and a ten second timer option.

Editing your photos

Whether you capture a photo with Afterlight's camera mode or pull up an image from your Pictures Hub to edit, you are first presented with two options. You can jump into the editor or share the image. Prior to sharing the image, you will have the option to choose which size of an image file you would like to use (small, medium or original).

Jumping into Afterlight's image editor you will have your image center screen with all your editing tools listed across the bottom of the screen. The tools, from left to right, include:

  • An Undo button that will remove any edits made to the image
  • Adjustment tools that include saturation, contrast, exposure, temperature, vignette, grain (or noise), and sharpness
  • Effects Filters that includes a host of adjustable filters
  • Texture Filters that include adjustable effects such as light leaks, film textures and more
  • Cropping tools that allow for custom crops, set ratio crops, rotating tools, flipping tools and stencil crops (crops your images in the shape of letters or shapes)

At the very bottom of the editing screen are three control buttons to save the edited image, share the edited image and cancel the edits by returning to the Home pages of Afterlight. As mentioned before, the saved images can be reduced (small or medium variety) or saved at the original resolution.

While Afterlight has a nice selection of editing tools, the navigation and presentation really holds this app back. The app lacks a means of a before/after view to see how your edits are effecting things and the thumbnail examples of the filters and textures are too small. These thumbnail examples are labeled but lack common filter titles (sepia, grayscale, polarize, etc.). Some labels are descriptive enough to get you in the ballpark but many are not. Any clue what a Sailor filter look like?

The edited image is full screen and I cannot help but think Afterlight's editor would be better off with a smaller image size and larger filter/texture thumbnails.

Overall Impression

I think the developers of Afterlight have created a decent foundation for a Windows Phone photo editor but it's not quite there yet. There is little argument that Afterlight has plenty of editing tools and the camera mode isn't too shabby either.

However, getting around the app and applying the tools in a fluid manner is a little on the cumbersome side. I don't want to apply filters in a trial and error type method. I want to have a feel for what these filters and textures look like before I apply them. To do so, Afterlight needs to increase the size of the filters and textures thumbnail samples.

I also need a before/after feature to see if the edits are to my liking compared to the original image. It could be as simple as changing the Undo Button to a Undo/Redo Button or adding a feature to the editor pages.

I do like the guest filters and Instagram integration but neither are strong enough to overcome the shortfalls with the editor. As is, Afterlight is worth a try if you are looking for a slightly more than basic photo editor for your Windows Phone. Is it strong enough to knock off Fhotoroom, Camera360 or Fantasia Painter? Not at this stage of the game but a little fine-tuning could noticeably close the gap and help Afterlight stand out more.

Afterlight is currently rated at 4 Stars in the Windows Phone Store, which is about half a star too high in my opinion.

George Ponder

George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.

  • Cool app with nice filters! Must download.
  • Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think someone else covered this app in wpcentral.
  • Sam Sabri did an article on this app back on Sept. 3rd, you are correct!
  • Sam did an announcement post when Afterlight first became available. This is a review.
  • You're right George. And I think I speak for most in saying we DO appreciate the review. Thank you!
  • You're right
  • Yup
  • Yup, but won't hurt to read about this awesome app again, would it? ;)
  • It doesn't, just making sure :P
  • Yeah. Bought it the first day.
  • Cool, I thought "hey, a new photo editing app!" But then realized I had already downloaded this a while back lol... yeah, it's a pretty good one. I've used it a couple of times.
  • Mahal
  • $0.99 is "mahal" for you?
  • Yeah..for a photo editing app that have less function from its android and ios counterpart
  • Yeah, let's ignore the fact that most paid apps are updated regularly. And how much do you want it to be? Less than $0.99? I guess you know that currently this is the lowest price we have on Store. Or are you that cheap for wanting everything to be free?
  • i want something under $0.49
  • ente yang mentalnya gratisan gan
  • ^THIS! Mobile prepaid credit might help
  • I bought it as soon as it hits WP marketplace. I was introduced to it by my daughter who uses it on her iPhone.
  • The best Editing app for windows is Fhotoroom and Fotor...
  • +Fotor
  • The reviews are quite poor. I'll pass!
  • Is this the one featured on iMore's best iOS photo editing apps article or is only the same name/ my memory flopping?
  • I downloaded it after the initial article on it but it hasn't impressed me.  It's quite a hassle to edit with it since after each adjustment you make you get kicked out into the menu and have to worm your way back in to do another one.
  • This app has become my favorite photo editing app on my phone.
  • You can only use it for 3 days in trial version !
  • Its a load of crap .
  • Why don't you guys(the experts) tell us which one is the best.. Be it fantasia painter or afterlite or any other good app...
  • Which photo editor is the best? The answer will vary with no clear cut winner. I like Photoshop Express. Others like Fhotoroom, Fantasia, Black, Thumba, Creative Studio or one of the many other quality photo editors available. It's not the answer you are looking for but the best approach is to try them out and see which photo editor fits your needs and tastes the most.
  • Guys help me most of apps show download over wifi.....that previously don't show that....but now why?????
  • Coming soon app OneRoom, which is curently in beta status. The app is very similar in features with lightroom. You can join beta too. https://www.facebook.com/onelensapp
  • 45 ducking MB!!
  • Isn't there an app which allows bringing more than one pic in one frame...just like PhotoShop etc..
  • Not irritated with reviews.. I am going to pass on this till the application has features that put it on par with Android and IOS. It's new to WP and users are complaining.. What do you expect? Also I have enough photo Apps as it is.
  • I'm sorry but this app doesn't live up with its reputation. It's lacks of features compare to other editing apps on marketplace.
    Or may be because the standard of photo editing apps of windowsphone is higher than IOS.
  • Why the best apps on windows phone have price??
  • App crashes, won't even load to the start screen. Tried to reboot, no joy. Uninstalled with a quickness!