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Upgrade Your Insta-game

am_guest_101316Let’s be honest, half the fun of Instagram is editing your photos. With stunning filters and special apps, the most mundane moments can become a work of art.

As a Marketing Coordinator for davies + dixon, I’m on Instagram quite frequently. After testing out a number of different photo editing apps, I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s not one app that’s better than all the rest. However, there is a method to this beautiful madness and it requires just a few tips and tools.

For starters, I highly recommend planning your Instagrams in advance so that you can envision how they’ll look next to one another (use the Later app to help you with that). Sticking to a specific color scheme will also help elevate your gram game. For example, the Insta-pros behind A Beautiful Mess, Elsie and Emma, do a great job of color cohesion. So whether you’re trying to be like Elsie and Emma, or you’re on Insta just for fun, here are a few photo editing apps that are worth trying out!

VSCO

This is a must-have app for any serious Instagrammer. VSCO fosters a talented community of iphone photographers but you can still edit your photos without making an account. Within this app, there are several elegant filters to choose from, as well as a great selection of image adjustment tools. When experimenting with the filters, I recommend turning down the strength to a 6 or 7 – you don’t want your photo looking too saturated. For those of you that would like your entire feed to have a consistent look and feel, then this is the app for you. After editing your photo, you’ll see it appear in the front page of the app titled “My images.” Simply select the photo you just edited (a yellow box will appear around it) and tap the three dots in the bottom right corner to “Copy Edits.” Upload your second image, repeat the steps in bold and you’ll now see the option to “Paste Edits.” That is how you can ensure your photos look cohesive!

Afterlight

In my opinion, Afterlight is less intense than VSCO and more user-friendly. If VSCO is the black diamond of photo editing apps, then Afterlight is the blues on the mountain. The UX design is simple and the filter presets are fun and diverse. Once you have selected your image within the app, you’ll see a rainbow circle in the toolbar on bottom. This circle expands to show you their filter packs. I mainly use the options within “Original” and “Seasons.” Like I mentioned, you may gravitate towards different filters based on the photo subject, as well as the color scheme of your overall Insta feed. Something that differentiates Afterlight from other photo apps is the ability to add film-like borders to your photos. The film icon is next to the rainbow circle. These effects make for some very #artsy photos!

A Color Story

If you love bright whites and colors that pop than this app should be your go-to. It’s great for product shots and flat lays. A unique feature about this app is the S-curve editing tool – the other apps I’ve mentioned have all the fundamental adjustment tools (i.e. Clarity, Contrast and Exposure) but not Curves. If you’re familiar with Photoshop than you know how crucial the Curves tool is. This is the best tool when it comes to adjusting the lighting of your photo. Another awesome feature about A Color Story is the ability to create and save custom filters. If you’re the creative type, you’ll enjoy building your own original presets!

While Instagram has definitely improved their editing capabilities, why settle? Downloading just one of these apps will quickly take your feed to the next level. I encourage you to play around with each of them until you find the one that works best for you. And have fun with it! There are no rules to the Insta-game – only recommendations. What has worked for you? Share in the comments below!

Upgrade Your Insta-game

am_guest_101316Let’s be honest, half the fun of Instagram is editing your photos. With stunning filters and special apps, the most mundane moments can become a work of art.

As a Marketing Coordinator for davies + dixon, I’m on Instagram quite frequently. After testing out a number of different photo editing apps, I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s not one app that’s better than all the rest. However, there is a method to this beautiful madness and it requires just a few tips and tools.

For starters, I highly recommend planning your Instagrams in advance so that you can envision how they’ll look next to one another (use the Later app to help you with that). Sticking to a specific color scheme will also help elevate your gram game. For example, the Insta-pros behind A Beautiful Mess, Elsie and Emma, do a great job of color cohesion. So whether you’re trying to be like Elsie and Emma, or you’re on Insta just for fun, here are a few photo editing apps that are worth trying out!

VSCO

This is a must-have app for any serious Instagrammer. VSCO fosters a talented community of iphone photographers but you can still edit your photos without making an account. Within this app, there are several elegant filters to choose from, as well as a great selection of image adjustment tools. When experimenting with the filters, I recommend turning down the strength to a 6 or 7 – you don’t want your photo looking too saturated. For those of you that would like your entire feed to have a consistent look and feel, then this is the app for you. After editing your photo, you’ll see it appear in the front page of the app titled “My images.” Simply select the photo you just edited (a yellow box will appear around it) and tap the three dots in the bottom right corner to “Copy Edits.” Upload your second image, repeat the steps in bold and you’ll now see the option to “Paste Edits.” That is how you can ensure your photos look cohesive!

Afterlight

In my opinion, Afterlight is less intense than VSCO and more user-friendly. If VSCO is the black diamond of photo editing apps, then Afterlight is the blues on the mountain. The UX design is simple and the filter presets are fun and diverse. Once you have selected your image within the app, you’ll see a rainbow circle in the toolbar on bottom. This circle expands to show you their filter packs. I mainly use the options within “Original” and “Seasons.” Like I mentioned, you may gravitate towards different filters based on the photo subject, as well as the color scheme of your overall Insta feed. Something that differentiates Afterlight from other photo apps is the ability to add film-like borders to your photos. The film icon is next to the rainbow circle. These effects make for some very #artsy photos!

A Color Story

If you love bright whites and colors that pop than this app should be your go-to. It’s great for product shots and flat lays. A unique feature about this app is the S-curve editing tool – the other apps I’ve mentioned have all the fundamental adjustment tools (i.e. Clarity, Contrast and Exposure) but not Curves. If you’re familiar with Photoshop than you know how crucial the Curves tool is. This is the best tool when it comes to adjusting the lighting of your photo. Another awesome feature about A Color Story is the ability to create and save custom filters. If you’re the creative type, you’ll enjoy building your own original presets!

While Instagram has definitely improved their editing capabilities, why settle? Downloading just one of these apps will quickly take your feed to the next level. I encourage you to play around with each of them until you find the one that works best for you. And have fun with it! There are no rules to the Insta-game – only recommendations. What has worked for you? Share in the comments below!

Zoe Kahn

Zoe is a native New Yorker and the Marketing Coordinator + Community Manager at davies + dixon. She has an eye for design and is often referred to as the team’s “visual brander.” Before moving to Seattle, Zoe spent her summers in New York City, working at various fashion publications, like Glamour Magazine and V Magazine, as well as high-end retail companies, such as Coach and Kenneth Cole. These experiences helped shape her writing, photography and graphic design skills. After spending two years studying Art & Design at the University of Michigan, Zoe transferred to the University of Washington to be closer to her family in Seattle. In June 2015, she graduated with honors and a BA in English, Language and Literature. She can often be found wandering around the Seattle Art Museum or across the street at her favorite sushi restaurant.