How to Use Filters to Create Effects on Instagram

Use filters to improve your photos

It’s possible for an average person to look like a professional photographer through using Instagram’s built-in filters and additional applications. It can feel like a magical experience to see your photos come to life through adjustments and filters.

In addition to Instagram’s built-in filters, there are hundreds of apps and filters available to explore. I’ve downloaded dozens of them taking up two screens worth of icons on my iPhone, but at the end of the day, I use only a few. Some apps are available only on iPhones and others are only on Androids, but there are many that work for both.

Snapseed, VSCO, Lightroom, Prisma, Afterlight

Sample apps for Android and iOS:

Here are some of the effects you can achieve:

Snapseed
VSCO
Lightroom
Prisma
Afterlight

Instagram has caused me to view the world in a completely new way because all around us there are interesting things.  I’m a firm believer that almost every average-quality photo, even of the most mundane subjects, can be processed into something pretty nice on Instagram and make you look like a professional photographer even if you only use Instagram’s built-in filters.

From simple to complex edits

Because Instagram has the ability to correct lighting, you can take under- or over-exposed photos and often still make them work.

It’s possible to save a lot of dark photos with Instagram’s brightness adjustment, but it’s helpful if you have some highlight and shadow detail in the first place. If you shoot during the day with available light, you’ll probably be fine. At night you might find your images become grainy. I’m not crazy about the way photos look with a flash, so I usually try to shoot with available light, even at dusk. But the application is so forgiving, that even if you don’t start out with a reasonable shot, you can often adjust it to work.

There are specialty apps that will create “mirror” images, convert your photos into paintings, add bokeh effects, snowflakes and stars, and any effects that are impossible to even imagine. Take a look through the Play Store or App Store by searching “Instagram.” You’ll see what I mean.

Additional apps to bring different things to the party:

I really don’t think there is a right or wrong way to shoot photos for Instagram. Some of the weirdest pictures can become wonderful. Just enjoy the surprises you discover once you’re processing your photos, then share them for others to enjoy!

Do you have a favorite filter or favorite auxiliary application to use with Instagram? I would love to hear what they are!

Find more information on editing in Correcting Your Instagram Images.

More About Terri:

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