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How to use filters to enhance your Instagram photos



If you want to get the most out of Instagram, it pays to enhance your photos with some technical magic before publishing them. Serious photographers do this by using digital tools to customize everything from color balance to sharpness to saturation.

For everyone else, the Instagram app contains easy-to-use filters and editing tools that can make your photos and videos more visually appealing.

Using Instagram editing tools step by step

Think about this photo I took at a municipal park in Austin. Not bad, maybe, but what if I could increase the visual appeal before sharing it on Instagram? How to use.

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First upload the photo to the Instagram app with the + button on the home screen. Then select the image you want in the phone's photo library and press "Next". (You can use Instagram's built-in camera to take the photo, but it's usually easier to use the phone's camera app so you can take as many photos as needed to get the best results.)

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Although Instagram makes photos square by default, you can also use the <> button in the lower right corner to resize the photo to its original dimensions .

If you stick to the square format, rest your fingertip on the photo to move it around and get exactly the crop you want; The grid lines shown will help you balance the visual composition. (It's no coincidence that the web is 3×3; it helps you follow the classic "rule of thirds.")

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If you point to the same filter thumbnail once, Instagram lets you dial down the intensity of the filters to get a more muted look. If you are using an iPhone, you can also tap the small square icon to add a simple frame.

Here are some other examples with filters "Amaro", "X-Pro II" and "Lo-Fi". Notice the number of effects that you can experiment with in just minutes of playing with different filters.

Before pressing "Next", you can also press "Edit" at the bottom of the screen to make other simple adjustments to your photo's alignment, contrast, brightness, texture, heat, saturation, color and many other categories. Again, use these simple linear sliders or buttons to achieve different effects.

When you have everything you want, click "Done" and then "Next" to go to the post page where you can fill in details for your post, such as captions, hashtags, people tags, location tags, and share with other social media platforms.

As you gain more experience using filters, you will probably start to develop favorites that you go back to again and again. By sliding all the way to the right of the filter page, you can select "Manage" to go to a new menu that allows you to rearrange the filter's order by using the three-stripe button on the left and dragging it into place. You can also hide filters by tapping the check mark. That way, your favorite filters will show up first, and you won't have to wade through the ones you never use.

You can also achieve this without using the menu. From the filter page, just press and hold one of the filter thumbnails for a few seconds. The thumbnail will be slightly larger, which means it is ready to be moved. You can then drag it left or right to change its location in the lineup or drag it up to the "Drag to hide" area that is temporarily displayed instead of the photo being edited.

Here are the final results for the image of Onion Creek in Austin.

Author's photo of Onion Creek before (left) and after (right) editing on Instagram.

The published version turns a pretty good original photo into something that will pack more punch as users browse their Instagram feeds on their phones. Continue experimenting with filters to make your Instagram photos and videos more appealing to your followers.

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