Instagram is great, but even though the app keeps rolling out new features like tagging and a desktop feed, they’ve kept the amount of filters and photo-editing tricks you can use at a stand-still for awhile now. If you’re bored of the filters and effects or just want a way to spice up your images, you can always download other apps to add an extra kick to your shots before uploading photos to the Instagram feed. Here are some great choices if you want to fiddle around with your images.
A Beautiful Mess ($1.00)
The newest, hippest photo-editing app on the market, A Beautiful Mess is for the ladies, and it sprang from the popular lifestyle blog by the same name. What does A Beautiful Mess: the App offer that makes it stand out from other editing software and complement Instagram? It offers trendy pre-drawn doodles to overlay on your photos, and it provides backgrounds if you want to take a picture of a product but you don’t have something snazzy enough to lay it against.
It’s definitely more of a whimsical, girly photo kit, so it’s not for everyone, but for $1.00, just stop complaining. The caveat? It only works with iOS 6 and up, so you have to be up-to-date and on Apple if you want to use it – and a lot of the features cost extra money.
Afterlight used to be called Afterglow, but even though the name changed, the app’s quality didn’t. You get 39 filters, including 13 chosen by Instagram users, and 45 textures to add even more nuance to your shots. It’s really interesting how different a shot can look depending on who is making adjustments, since there are a massive amount of filter and texture combinations to try.
Afterlight also includes 21 frames, and it makes it super-simple to share to Instagram. It’s well worth the $1.00 cost, especially since stuff like its highlight controls make it perfect for the little tweaks necessary to elevate a picture from good to great. Unfortunately, it’s only available for Apple kids, so if you’re using Instagram from an Android you can’t savor the sweet sweet editing options.
Pic Say Pro ($4.00)
OK, Android users, don’t hate on me just yet – Pic Say Pro is an Android-only photo-editing app that works wonders in sprucing your photos up until they’re so good you probably won’t need any extra editing on Instagram, though your friends will wonder how you took such a great shot. They may think you’re cheating. Pic Say Pro looks like it’s more of a cutesy novelty photo app, but underneath the stickers and the friendly exterior, you can actually do some serious tinkering. Even though the interface looks like a dumb ape could use it, what you can do is intense, since you can manually adjust saturation, tint, and other elements to totally customize your picture. Pic Say Pro is $4.00 on Android and well worth it.
Diptic is the best collage app for mobile phones, and you can get it for Android or Apple to help you put the coolest picture mashups on your Instagram account. You can choose from 179 different layouts on Apple and 56 on Android, and you can apply filters to your photos, as well as make adjustments to brightness and other elements.
You can’t get into as much detail fine-tuning as you can on something like Pic Say Pro, but Diptic’s appeal is really in its ingenious layout options. Plus, it’s just $1.00. Perfect for before-and-after shots or making a little digital tribute to a fun night out. And it’s hooked up with Instagram so you can import photos you take to Instagram, Diptic-ify them, and then seamlessly throw them back up on Instagram.
Before Instagram, everyone’s favorite photo app was Hipstamatic, which lets you play around with different retro digital lenses and films to create fun photos. It basically made your iPhone feel like an analog camera, which is like catnip to the nostalgic set. And no, they don’t sell it at Urban Outfitters.
Hipstamatic felt the wrath of Instagram because it wasn’t free and wasn’t a social network, but it’s still a decent way to jazz your photos up. The old-school camera aesthetic is interesting, and it makes you feel more creative than you are when you’re taking your shots, but beware: you have to pay extra for camera packs, and some of the older ones are no longer available, so that might happen again in the future – don’t get too attached to specific lenses. Hipstamatic is currently trying to re-invent itself with a new social photo-sharing app called Oggl, but it’s still invitation-only. And if you don’t really want to bother with paying for Hipstamatic but still like to look at the pictures, it now has a fleshed out blog – while A Beautiful Mess engineered itself into an app from a lifestyle blog, Hipstamatic pretty much went the other way ’round.