Ever wonder why photos on social media look stunning while the ones you take with your camera look bland? Perhaps you need some aesthetic inspiration from all the great app filters for Instagram out there!
8 Best Instagram Filter Apps for Instagram
But Instagram has stepped up its game since then. Although the filters mostly have the same names as eight years ago, they now look more natural and create better results.
Of course, Instagram filters still need a lot of work. But now it lets you have more control over how you want your images to look. It’s efficient since you don’t have to leave the app to edit images. It even allows you to change brightness, contrast, and saturation.
If you’re not in the mood to use third-party apps, this is your quickest and easiest option. Once you finish applying edits, share and start seeing those hearts on your screen.
When it comes to Instagram apps, VSCO filters are some of the best out there.
VSCO was created to emulate the properties of real film stocks from big companies such as Kodak and Fujifilm. This is the perfect tool to use if you crave a grainy film look.
Unlike other apps that poorly imitate the look of old photos, VSCO filters look realistic. The main reason is that they spend a lot of time developing presets to match the films they copy.
With VSCO, you can try various film stocks, such as Fuji Velvia or Kodak Portra. It just takes a simple tap on the screen. These presets do such a great job that telling them apart from real film photos is challenging.
Another advantage of using VSCO is that you can manually adjust the parameters of your filters. So if a preset looks too contrasty, you can always tone it down to your liking.
If you don’t like too much grain, all you have to do is move the slider to change the amount of noise in your photo.
The film look has long been trendy and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. We suggest you try the VSCO app now. And we guarantee you’ll be using it a lot!
It also includes choices such as Glamour Glow to enhance portraits and HDR Scape for improving landscape photos.
But what if you’re not a big fan of the film look? Then you have the option to create your own “look.” This is Snapseed’s version of presets.
The feature allows you to change any parameters from saturation to exposure, which you can save for future use. What’s incredible about it is that you can even share it with your friends.
Snapseed is owned by Google, the company behind Android phones. But thankfully, this app is also available on Apple’s app store and works well on iPhones.
That means you can use it no matter what device you have. Just ensure you have enough space on your device because a tool this powerful requires a lot of memory.
Lightroom Mobile has most (if not all) photo editing tools you expect to see on the regular desktop version. It even lets you upload new filters onto the app, just like on your computer.
Oh, and did we mention you can also buy presets online to add to your collection?
Of course, Lightroom Mobile takes a little getting used to at first because the user interface is different. But once you become familiar with all the tools, you’ll see that it’s just as effective as Lightroom on desktop.
5. Afterlight (iOS)
The Instagram apps on our list only offer regular presets. But what if you want to make a filter that includes all sorts of effects, such as double exposure and color shift? If that’s the case, Afterlight is the app for you.
Sure, Lightroom and Snapseed both have those features. But what makes Afterlight different from its competitors is that it lets you combine filters. It’s a neat tool, especially if you’re not good at creating customized presets.
With Afterlight, you can mix and match any filter in your collection.
You can also create overlays and textures to add personality to your images. If you feel like adding prismatic light leaks to your portraits, tap the screen. You can even adjust the effect you choose to make everything blend naturally.
This excellent app also features a double exposure tool, which lets you combine two images into one. It’s a challenging effect to execute on a desktop, but it’s effortless on this app. Afterlight has all the necessary adjustment tools to let you create double exposures even if you’re a complete beginner.
Camera+ is among the most popular apps on Instagram because it turns your device into a de facto DSLR. It has features such as Manual mode that lets you change settings such as aperture and shutter speed.
But how does Camera+ perform when it comes to filters? Like its counterparts, this app offers dozens of presets to choose from. And just like Afterlight, it lets you stack two or more filters together to create your own.
Now it sounds like the Camera+ app has all the same features that others already offer, so why use it? Well, what makes this option different is its user interface. It packs many photo editing functions, yet it is easy to navigate and use.
It’s a perfect tool to let you apply presets that only affect the foreground or the background.
Remember that Camera+’s camera and editing tools are useful, too. And they do a great job creating professional results from smartphone images. Having all those photo perks plus the in-app filters makes this app unbeatable.
Canva edits photos. But it doesn’t have as many features as the other options on this list. But that can be a good thing, especially if you don’t want to waste time learning how to apply filters on your phone.
This app has a simple user interface and minimal controls for photo editing. First, it lets you choose which format you’d like to use for your photo. It automatically resizes images for Instagram posts and even rectangular for Instagram stories.
From there, you can apply filters and necessary exposure adjustments. It doesn’t have a big collection of presets. But at the same time, it’s not as overwhelming to use as its counterparts.
Once you select the filter you want, you then have the option to choose a graphic. All you have to do is pick which one you want and drag it around the photo to place it wherever you desire.
When you get to create a vibrant preset with a cool quote to go with it, then you know you have a winner.
Most of the Instagram apps we mentioned here focus more on photo editing than videos.
Of course, a few Insta apps offer video filters, such as VSCO and Canva. But none of them exclusively deal with Instagram story filters and color grading.
With Filmm, we can experiment with all sorts of film and old video emulations. With just one tap, you can create nostalgic videos that don’t look artificial.
Filmm boasts realistic dust and film scratches, or even VHS distortions if you’re all about the 90s vibe. It also has film frames to make your Instagram stories look like Super 8 or 16mm footage. Of course, we can’t forget the dozens of filters that make your videos pop!
The only downside is that Filmm doesn’t include photo editing. But there are plenty of other image editing apps if that’s what you need. But this is a great choice for Instagram videographers.
You can download Filmm for free with in-app purchases. But you also have the choice to subscribe to Filmm+, which unlocks the filters and even lets you add custom watermarks.
Keep in mind the specialty of each Instagram filter app when deciding which to download. If you like to keep things simple, stick to Instagram and Canva. If you want to create a film look, then try VSCO.
If you love filters and advanced editing tools, your choices include Lightroom, Camera+, and Snapseed. If you like experimenting, then consider using Afterlight.
Don’t be afraid to try all the app filters for Instagram on our list and browse through their collection of filters. You should choose the one that matches your needs and the mood you want to convey.