Tips to Make Instagram Images Better

Make INstagram Images Better

Shot across from Alki Surf Shop in West Seattle-an image that looked dark and hopeless, saved by cropping, adjustments and a Snapseed filter.

What can you do to salvage an image that is “almost there,” but is in some way deficient? How can you make Instagram images better?

If you’re shooting with a professional camera, likely you are using Lightroom, Photoshop or some other professional software to process your images. When you are editing a raw file, the possibilities to correct an image are extensive.

shooting With an iPhone VS Android

There are great apps on both the Apple and Android platforms. Two that are available on both platforms that I think offer to do many things and are fairly intuitive tools to use are Pixler and Snapseed.

Both offer some of the same basic tools including cropping, rotation, the ability to create collages, auto-balancing of color, focal blur, image filters or effects, the ability to add type or borders, and easy resizing, and many people wouldn’t want to do more than the basics.

And of course Instagram is famous for their original offering of built-in filters/effects, but both Pixlr and Snapseed offer options that are specific to their apps and both help make Instagram images better.

Pixlr

Pixlr (formerly Pixlr Express) is the right photo editor for everyone whether you have never edited a photo or are a pro. This app has all the tools and effects you need and then some. I like the ability to easily dodge and burn in this application because sometimes you want to darken or lighten an area of an image, and it’s fairly easily accomplished here.

You can favorite your “go-to” effects and add stylizations that make your image look like a pencil sketch, pen and ink sketch and more. There is also the ability to focus on one color to create impact.

Pixlr offers in-app purchases available for higher functionality.

Pixlr’s complete list of features:

  • Create photo collages with a variety of choices for layout, background, and spacing.
  • Balance color in one easy click with Auto Fix.
  • Layer multiple photos and blend them together to get a unique look, using Double Exposure.
  • Stylize your image to look like a pencil drawing, an ink sketch, a poster, and more.
  • Make your selfies beautiful with simple tools to remove blemishes and red-eyes or to whiten your teeth.
  • Focus on one color with Color Splash or add impact with Focal Blur.
  • Choose from a pool of effect packs to give your image the look and feel you want.
  • Adjust the mood of the photo with overlays – amplify the tone, cool it down, or add surreal shades.
  • Mask your photo with captions or overlay it with text. Choose from a variety of fonts.
  • Finish off your editing process with the right border – pick a style that suits you.
  • Keep things fresh with our growing catalog of additional effects, overlays, and border packs.
  • Keep track of your favorite effects and overlays with the Favorites button.
  • Resize images quickly and easily after editing.
  • Share your photo directly with friends through Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or email.

Snapseed

My favorite editing tool for Instagram is Snapseed, a Google application.

Snapseed’s “Details” tool is like the equivalent of sharpening in Photoshop. It can come in handy when you’d like to see more sharpness in the details of an image. “Curves” is also a professional tool in Photoshop that allows the adjustment highlights and shadows. The Perspective tool is fantastic for architectural images that are not quite perpendicular and enables corrections to look perfect.

The HDR tool is amazing though some users have a tendency to over-process their images with it. It affects the entire image and makes colors and details pop and especially affects shadow and highlight areas. It can turn clouds into a tumultuous sky. HDR can surprise you because you discover things in the image that you didn’t even know were there.

Snapseed offers

  • 29 Tools and Filters
  • Opens JPG and RAW files
  • Save your personal looks and apply them to new photos later
  • Selective filter brush

list of Snapseed tools and effects

  • RAW Develop – open and tweak RAW DNG files; save non-destructively or export as JPG –
  • Tune image – adjust exposure and color automatically or manually with fine, precise control
  • Details – magically bring out surface structures in images.
  • Crop – crop to standard sizes or freely
  • Rotate – rotate by 90°, or straighten a skewed horizon
  • Perspective – fix skewed lines and perfect the geometry of horizons or buildings
On the left, the ceiling of the Grays Harbor Courthouse is not square or symmetrical and had to be rotated. On the right, the perspective was corrected and adjustments were made to brightness, color, etc.
  • White Balance – adjust the colors so that the image looks more natural
  • Brush – selectively retouch exposure, saturation, brightness or warmth
  • Selective – the renown “Control Point” technology: Position up to 8 points on the image and assign enhancements, the algorithm does the rest magically
  • Healing – remove the uninvited neighbor from a group picture
  • Vignette – add soft darkness around the corners like a beautiful, wide-aperture would do
  • Text – add both stylized or plain text
  • Curves – have precise control over the brightness levels in your photos
  • Expand – increase the size of your canvas and fill up the new space algorithmically
  • Lens Blur – add a beautiful Bokeh to images (background softening), ideal for photographic portraits
  • Glamour Glow – add a fine glow to images, great for fashion or portraits
  • Tonal Contrast – boost details selectively in the shadows, mid-tones and highlights
  • HDR Scape – bring a stunning look to your images by creating the effect of multiple exposures

Additional Options

  • Drama – add a hint of doomsday to your images (6 styles)
  • Grunge – an edgy look with strong styles and texture overlays
  • Grainy Film – get modern film looks with realistic grain
  • Vintage – the style of color film photo from the 50s, 60s or 70s
  • Retrolux – go retro with light leaks, scratches, film styles
  • Noir – Black and White film looks with realistic grain and the “wash” effect
  • Black & White – classic Black and White look straight out of the darkroom
  • Frames – add frames with adjustable size
  • Double Exposure – blend two photos, choosing from blend modes that are inspired by shooting on film and by digital image processing
  • Face Enhance – add focus to the eyes, add face-specific lighting, or smooth skin
  • Face Pose – correct the pose of portraits based on three-dimensional models
  • Shared directly from the application to your social media channels

Try it, you’ll like it

It’s undeniable that most every image can be improved in some way through an editing app. I’ve tried dozens of them, as well as dozens more of specialty apps because each offers something different, but I always come back to Snapseed. In discussions with other Instagrammers, it seems to be one that is widely used and valued.

Both Pixlr and Snapseed are free (again, some Pixlr extras are available only via in-app purchase), so download both and see which one you prefer. Either way, apps such as Pixlr and Snapseed will help you make  Instagram images better.

I’m curious to know what you think. Which is your favorite?

For more information about photo editing, check out How to Use Filters to Improve Your Photos

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MORE ABOUT TERRI:

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Terri Nakamura Design
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More by Terri Nakamura

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4 thoughts on “Tips to Make Instagram Images Better”

  1. What an interesting post! I am terrible at finding the right apps to use for my photos. I’ll certainly give your suggested apps a try. I refuse to have boring photos on my Instagram in 2019!

    1. Hi, Amanda.

      Thanks for checking out the post. Whether you check out Pixlr or Snapseed, you can’t go wrong. They both offer a ton of features that will ultimately give you a lot of control over your images, and of course, make them better than ever!

      Cheers!

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