5 filters to step up your Instagram game

The huge success of Instagram is partly due to the filters that make our photos look amazing. The famous platform has made every one of us feel like professional photographers. Maybe it was a sunset you captured at your local park. Or that mouth-watering stack of pancakes you had over the weekend. Instagram is a great way to show it off to your friends and family.

How to take good photos with your smart phone

Follow our tips on how to take the perfect photo using your mobile phone, then jazz it up with filters on Instagram to rack up those likes.

Tip 1: Master the light

Before and after shot. girl siting on carpet looking at a photo book

On your smartphone, before you capture the photo, set the right kind of light exposure by tapping various points on your screen. Playing with the light allows you to darken overexposed, or brighten any dark shadows. If you are indoors, stand next to a window, to use the natural light.

Instagram tip: Use the ‘Edit’ tool before posting your photos. You can adjust the light by finding the ‘Brightness‘ option if your photo is a little dark or a little overexposed.

Tip 2: It’s all in the lines

before and after picture. Showing gridlines on a photograph girl sitting on carpet reading photobook

Straighten up your photo before you post your picture. Play with angles using the digital gridlines. Respect the rule of thirds. You’ll be surprised to see how much your photo can change (for the better) by playing around with the composition.

You can do this on the Instagram platform by clicking the ‘Edit’ tool before you post and use the ‘Adjust’ option to do this. The digital gridlines will help you adjust to any angle you like.

Tip 3: Depth of Field

before and after showing depth of field. girl sitting on carpet reading a photo book

What is depth of field? It’s the distance between the nearest and the furthest objects in your photo. It controls what appears sharp and in focus in your image. To make your subject stand out, the trick is to blur the background and focus on the foreground. Most smart phones have fixed depth of field, which makes this a little tricky. The easy solution to this is get as close as possible to the subject, which will make the front or the background more less in focus.

Instagram tip: the ‘Tilt-shift’ tool in the ‘Edit’ option creates artificial blurring around your subject, either in ‘radial’ (the blur is in a circle around the subject) or in linear (the blur is created on along the top and bottom of the photo).

In summary, the ‘Edit’ tool is your friend. The ‘Adjust’ ‘Brightness’ and ‘Tilt-Shift’ options can create a professional polish to your photos.

Top 5 Instagram Filters

Now that you’ve taken the photo on your mobile phone, it’s time to put it on your Instagram. Digital design company Canva looked at over 1 million Instagram images to find out which filters get the most likes. Their study revealed the top 5 most popular Instagram filters from around the world.

polaroid style photographs on a table with travel images

The world’s top 5 filters:

  1. Clarendon
    It’s an all-purpose filter that brightens, highlights, and intensifies shadows for colour that pops.
  2. Juno
    Adds warmth and punches up colour, makes reds, oranges, and yellows pop.
  3. Gingham
    Lends colour intensity and brightens warm hues, giving a vintage feel to your photo.
  4. Valencia
    Boosts exposure and intensifies dull colours.
  5. Sierra
    Low contrast, high exposure, gives your picture a slight daydreaming effect.

They also found out which filters are most popular according to the subject of the photo:

  • For nature & landscapes- Valencia
  • Selfie- Natural (no filter)
  • Fashion- Kelvin
  • Food- Skyline

Now that you’ve learned how to take great photos for your Instagram, why not print your best ones on our Retro Prints? Their square shape is perfect to show off your most liked posts.

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