Instagram – Moving Beyond Photo Filters

Instagram is an app for mobile photography, created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger.

You can use your mobile phone camera for taking pictures and then apply photo filters before you share them with friends on sites like Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. There are more than 50 million users of Instagram from all over the world and 5 million photographers are signing up for the service every week. The app was bought over by Facebook during 2012 and a lot of new features were introduced, building a better and improved Instagram for enthusiastic photographers.

With the creation of Instagram, almost everyone became photographers. Instagram offers a great outlet for sharing our pictures with the world. Instagram has also added many new features apart from photo filters for editing images. The service has announced several new tools for editing, available for both Android and iOS devices. You can now make many more adjustments, such as, brightness and contrast, saturation and make use of the slide bar to adjust the intensity of the filter.

The slide bar is useful for filling some kind of light in case the photographs are dark. The slide bar is now available for various other editing features and users can enjoy greater control by making the pictures more dramatic while editing them. The editing tools also include the Adjust feature for cropping and straightening photographs and at the same time, adjusting warmth and saturation, highlighting and creating shadows, sharpening and adjusting contrast and vignettes.

Making Edits without Filters

Now, users can make changes to their images and edit them on several levels without the use of filters. You have to tap on the wrench icon for using the editing menu displaying the new effects. You can then select one and then control its intensity using the slider. While using the effect, if you are not too sure about the effect, you could hold down the picture and see a preview of the original picture. Before these features were available, you could only change image levels using the Lux tool, as it was used for controlling the saturation of the images. However, now you can use four tools for fine tuning the light of an image, such as controlling the brightness, the contrast, the shadows and the highlights, dialing it up or down to get optimal results.

Controlling Color Tones

Users of Instagram can also now control color tones using the tools for warmth and saturation. If you make adjustments to the warmth, the color tone can be shifted to blue tones or cooler tones. On the other hand, you can also make the tone warmer and go to orange tones. The saturation tool helps you control the color intensity in the photographs. By dialing up the intensity, you can make reds look redder and yellows appear more yellow.


The Vignette is a tool offering an option to using the tilt and shift controls present in the app. Vignette can be used for producing a dark border for the outer portion of the image. It can also be used for emphasizing the frame center. The tool for sharpening the image gives more clarity, defining the whole photograph and making it sharper. There is a single tool for cropping and for straightening the picture. This feature can be accessed from below the adjust menu.

Many users might be familiar with all these editing tools and they offer a significant leap forward for Instagram. Up to now, the service had concentrated more on filters and did not offer a lot of advanced controls for editing, which is now slowly changing. It is also proposed by the company that a lot of such features will be added in the future.

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