Instagram needs little introduction amongst smartphone users, having brought in a simplified take on social networking that has become enormously popular. Along with the ability to upload photos and view those of others, one of the app’s most popular features is the filters which can be overlaid onto images to change the way they look.
With around 20 different filters now available, we take a look at the most popular that are in use. Selecting them from popularity charts on Instagram-related website Populagram, here we show an unfiltered image alongside the same one after each of the effects has been applied, to demonstrate exactly what they can do.
One of the oldest filters in Instagram’s repertoire, Earlybird has long been a favourite of regular users. The filter is the best example of the ‘vintage’ feel that the photo-sharing service is famous for, desaturating colours a little and filling images with warm, brown tones. The finishing touch is the shadowy, vignette edging that you can see to real effect around the edges of the image above.
Great for the more dramatic shots, X-Pro II ramps up the contrast on a photo and really brings out the darker colours. This makes any shot look more exciting, creating a real difference between highlights and shadows. It’s great for powerful action shots and any time when you want to make your photo look more striking, as you can see with the way the water’s movement is enhanced in this image.
Valencia is one of the more subtle filters that Instagram possesses, making it great for outdoor shots that need little editing. What it does is lighten everything up just a touch so it takes on a dreamy sheen, and it uses some of the brown tones seen in Earlybird to give photos a similar vintage atmosphere. The setting for the photo above already has an antique feel to it, and the filter sets it off really well.
Rise is similar to Valencia and the two filters are certainly very popular. Good for those photos of food that litter the photo streams of Instagram users, Rise achieves that same dreamy tone that Valencia has but keeps its colours a bit stronger. You can see how the tomatoes in this picture still have a rich, red tone to them even after the filter is applied.
Amaro brings a blue tone to photos, making it great for outdoor shots in which you want to highlight the sky. As you can see on the horse’s face in this photo, the filter also blanches out highlights a little, giving a faded, antique feel to an image. Amaro is ideal for mimicking sun-drenched shots taken with a really old film camera.
Once you’ve uploaded your photographic creations to Instagram and added a filter, you’ll need to know who to follow to make sure you don’t miss the best images on there. Take a look at our rundown of the best people to follow to see some outstanding images.