Have you ever experienced capturing that elusive photo of your child’s first smile, then just as you’re about to upload it, you discover that the lighting is off, the image is out of focus, and the colours are only so-so? Thinking that it would be okay, you reluctantly post it on your Instagram account anyway. There's nothing wrong with rushing through and skipping the whole photo-editing step in pursuit of those coveted likes and #feedgoals, but have you ever wondered what you could do to make your photos pop-out and make your profile more #instagramable? We searched for expert tips on how to get past Instagram filters for you to do a custom edit job yourself, turning your #nofilter photos into #profilter.
Editing Your Instagram Photo
There are 23 pre-set Instagram filters you can choose from, all offering a different effect for your image. Each filter has its very own personality that changes the look and feels to your photo. That's great when you want a specific mood to applied to your picture. But most people are unaware that the effect of specific filters can be maximised if you use it for a particular type of photo, whether it be landscapes, night shots, or portraits.
Beyond the Filters
Aside from Instagram’s pre-set filters, there are other image editing settings which one can experiment with. The basic knowledge of how these options work can bring your image to the next level. You can conveniently find the following options on the ‘Edit' tab: Adjust, Brightness, Contrast, Structure, Warmth Saturation, Color, Fade, Highlights, Shadows, Vignette, Tilt-Shift, and Sharpness. All these come with their very own purpose, from adjusting the perspective to adding or taking away light, to setting the mood with some blurs or fades. They deserve brief mention here since you're likely to use these in tandem with filters while you edit your photos.
Which Filter For What Image?
For Low Light Portraits
Filters: Juno for the more professional looking photo, Ludwig to make the colours sharper and subject more pronounced, and Lo-Fi adds shadow and saturation, allowing you to give a sharp yet intense mood to the subject.
Additional Edits: Bring up the brightness to compensate for the low light, increase the contrast and sharpness a bit to bring out the details of the subject, add a little saturation to make the colours brighter, and lastly, you can add a little blurring-out of the edges to accentuate the eyes of the subject.
For Daytime Portraits
Filters: Ludwig automatically evens out the overexposed areas as well as gives a sharper colour scheme. Aden gives you that aged effect, adding a retro vibe to the photo. Valencia is a meld of both filters which adds a little colour, fades it out, then layers it with a thin film of yellow.
Additional Edits: The key to Daytime Portraits is to capture an excellent raw image right from the get-go so that you only make minimal alterations to the photo. For this photo, Juno was chosen to make reds and yellows more distinguishable. Minor increases in contrast and sharpness were done to highlight the details on the subject's face.
For Landscape Images
Filters: Clarendon accentuates the blues in an image which can be useful for ocean or mountain shots. Lark decreases the reds but also increases the blues and greens. Mayfair warms up the colours of your photos, adding a light in the centre of the image, with very subtle darkening around the edges.
Additional Edits: This filter is excellent for making the greens noticeable, but landscape images offer more than just colours. Bump up the sharpness and contrast to make the details of the image more refined, giving you the ability to see even the tiniest rock at the bottom of the photo. Adding to the warmth also helps make the greens sharper if it’s more on the blue side of the spectrum. As a rule of thumb, the ‘warmth’ option assists in bringing more of a mood of the season you are trying to capture.
For Food Scenes
Filters: Slumber makes the image hazy, adding a retro or dreamy quality. Perpetua gives a bluish, green, earthy-look. Valencia adds a yellow hue to your image, making it feel like a lamp is pointing on the photo
Additional Edits: For food shots, bring up the contrast, sharpness and brightness about 50 points. You want your audience to see every single detail down to the last grain of pepper. Increasing the saturation will make your colours stand out, making the image a whole lot more appetising.
For Sports and Action Scenes
Filters: Juno intensifies the warmer hues in your pictures. Perpetua takes you back to the good ol’ 80s with its retro-fying effect. Mayfair enables you to bring a warm tone to images while adding a subtle vignette.
Additional Edits: This image was already dull, to begin with, and so had a little more work to be done. Structure and contrast were brought up to around 60 points, and saturation to about 30. The emphasis on the three players was given more focus, as well as other minor details like the ball and the grass.
For Architectural Images
Filters: Juno is perfect for creating a feeling of depth which is always a good thing when taking still images. Perpetua evens-out the warm tones and adds an earthy vibe and a retro feel. Sierra is great for making still photos look soft and sophisticated.
Additional Edits: For this shot, we brought up structure, highlights and shadows by 30 to get a much more detailed picture, brought saturation up by 10, and sharpened it up by 60. Naturally, fine details are important in architecture, so sharpening up the photo gives a lot to pronounce some unnoticeable elements in the wood grains.
**Extra Tip: When uploading photos and creating an album on Instagram, it’s wise to edit each photo individually. It would be careless to upload a whole album full of great images then to just ruin them by applying a single filter for all, disregarding the uniqueness of each one.
And there you go! If you followed these guidelines and instructions, then you might just have a good idea of the basics of Instagram Filters. It’s a good idea to practice taking photos, express the vibrancy of your photographic eye, make more memories and moments, and then add a filter.