Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Tips for improving your Instagram & iPhone photos

I often get asked about what apps I use for photo editing on my phone, so I thought I'd write up a few simple tips and app suggestions for those interested. Although I'd choose my Digital SLR over my iPhone camera any day, I'm not one of those people that usually carries my camera around unless I'm actually going to an event or planning on taking pictures, so I do sometimes rely on being able to whip my phone out of my pocket and still be able to capture a picture at the right moment! Of course, the quality of an image from an SLR camera will always be much better no matter what kind of phone you own or how focused your phone image is, but it's also the convenience of being able to upload and share your picture instantly on your social media feed that appeals to me so much.

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More importantly, not everyone owns an SLR camera, and I'm a big fan of encouraging people to take pictures and express themselves creatively! Even if you're just taking photos and uploading them to a social media app, it's still fun to make your images look as cool as possible. So these are just a few of my personal methods of how I improve my own photos. It's also worth noting that I have an iPhone 4S at the moment, so I'm not too sure if all of these apps are available on Android or not. I'm aware that there are so many other photo editing apps out there, but I really don't have room on my phone (it's a lame 16GB) to have any more and I don't really need any more, but if you do have any suggestions that are really amazing then I'm all ears! Anyway, here goes:

Good for: Different filters, frames and colour/contrast adjustment

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This is one of my favourite apps as it allows you to make more subtle tweaks to your photos and also choose what you want to change more specifically, such as saturation, brightness etc. This app also has the circle frame that you see people using.

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Afterlight has heaps of different colour and black & white filters to play around with, and once you've chosen a filter (you don't have to though) you can then adjust things like saturation, clarity, brightness and contrast.

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This app also has a lot of frames relevant to Instagram users, you can use the circle frame or if you don't wish to crop your image into a square you can add white edges - (I find it quicker to do this in PicFrame though so I will explain that way soon).

Example of editing using Afterlight:

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Good for: Experimenting with filters, adding text to images

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I've only just downloaded this app so I'm still getting used to it, but I'm finding that it's better for adding colour to landscape photos and the filters seem to look better on lighter/well lit images, rather than dark images with lots of shadows etc.

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Vintique has quite a few different filters, and you can also 'edit' them which is quite cool. 'Delight' and 'Drowsy' are my favourite filters. Keep in mind they are quite harsh colours so they'll give your images more of an artistic effect rather than a natural look. You can also add text to your image and it's easy to go back and edit/resize the text at any time which is really handy.

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You can adjust brightness and saturation, though I prefer to use Afterlight for this. You can also add different vignetting effects to images as well, they are quite subtle.

Example of editing using Vintique:

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Good for: Making collages and different frames

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I use this app for creating collages or any instagram photos with more than one image in the frame. PicFrame has heaps of different framing options so you can either keep things really clean and simple (which is what I prefer) or experiment with different frame colours and shapes.

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If you wish to frame your image/s you can adjust both the colour and thickness of the frame...

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... and you can also change the corners of the image to curve around, like the first collage of images in this post.

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You can also chose to eliminate framing all together which is what I usually do. I use PicFrame to convert my portrait or landscape images into a square too, by selecting the triptych frame option and saving it with just the one photo in the middle - it saves the two unused spaces as white, so in Instagram this will give your photo the appearance of being uploaded as portrait or landscape.

Example of editing using PicFrame:

 photo Picframecollage.jpg

Good for: Large range of filters, black & white filters

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I don't use this app very often but I do occasionally use the selection of PFX Film filters as I find them good for adding extra contrast without giving too much of an unnatural look. There's also a filter I like called 'enhance' which I find good for lightening shadows - also can be good as a quick fix for making skin look smoother and softening bags under eyes or blemishes. I also like that you can layer the filters on top of each other and adjust how much of each one you want to use.

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Adding and layering filters on top of each other (and being able to adjust how much you want) is probably my favourite feature of this app.

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I prefer the PFX Film filters and I mostly use PFX 5 and PFX 150.

Example of editing using PicFx:

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When I was younger I used to have a three-megapixel Canon point and shoot camera, and I used to play around with filters in the most basic editing program (I can't remember what it was called but it was so simple and old school) but it was mucking about on that shitty camera that sparked my original interest in digital photography. But if you do find yourself getting into photography, I strongly urge you to go out and buy a digital SLR and keep experimenting with your photo capturing!

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Everyone has to start somewhere, and if getting creative with your Instagram and phone pictures can spark an interest in photography as a hobby then I think that's pretty cool!


I don't know why some people out there wouldn't already have an Instagram account. I'm a bit of a social media freak I guess. But really I think there's no excuse, so just make one. If you post cool photos of a) rad cars b) cute animals or c) desserts then I'll follow you. I don't follow accounts that just post other people's photos. Here's a few quick tips for people that don't quite understand Instagram, they'll also help technology-capable people not hate you for being silly.

1. Like Twitter or Facebook, to tag people on Instagram you use '@' then start writing their name/username. This will come up automatically if you already follow them. When you tag someone OR comment on their picture, it shows up in their news feed.

2. Don't tag people if you're already commenting on their photo. It already shows up on their news feed without you tagging them. Don't worry!

3. If you have a private profile and you tag someone that doesn't follow you, they won't be able to see your photo! It's super annoying when people do this!

4. Hashtagging. Don't tell me you don't know what a hashtag is? I actually have friends that don't know what this is. When you put a '#' in front of a word, this word then becomes a link, and when you click on the link it comes up with all the photos with the same hashtag. Hashtags aren't just for embarrassing words like #omg #selfie #pretty #iloveyou - believe it or not they are actually useful if you are looking for information or ideas on a certain subject. For example, I always search #nailart before I get my nails done for ideas on what I want to get. They're also cool if you're at an event or want to see coverage of an event, as you can get free instant photo updates right from your phone.

5. Don't search or hashtag things like 'penis' - WHAT ARE YOU, TWELVE? Sorry, some people reading this might actually be twelve. Anyway, don't bother as you can't search any explicit words.

6. Want more followers? Concentrate on the quality of the content you're posting, not the quantity of hashtags you're using. Post your own images! Get creative!

Thanks for reading!

 T :)


  1. Shweeet! Thanks for these tips, my instagram photos were always missing that one thing :')

  2. Das sind ja echt tolle Tipps. Vielen Dank an dieser Stelle. Da werde ich doch gleich einmal das ein oder andere ausprobieren.

  3. I was looking for something like this and I am so glad that I finally found it.

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  4. Stunning Pictures..Through instagram we can see many awesome pictures that can't see anywhere..Love those pictures..thanks for sharing it.. buy followers on instagram

  5. Hello dude, This is really very good job you have done here about Tips for improving your Instagram & iPhone photos and hopefully very much impressed by having in such tips I will able to perfectly edit my images. Thanks :)


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