Connect with us

Technology

The 16 best Instagram apps that’ll seriously raise your filter game

Published

on

Now that Instagram is moving toward a Facebook-like algorithmic feed, creating photos that stand out just became a lot more important. And as great as the app’s built-in filters and editing features are, they aren’t nearly as powerful as the ones you can get from third-party apps.

Third-party apps for creating and editing photos and videos usually offer more tools and precision over the look of your posts, which, in turn, can bring in more likes.

To help your posts stand out (and hopefully gain a bunch of new followers and likes), we’ve cherry-picked our 16 favorite apps that can take your Insta-game to the next level. Most of them are free, too!

1. For black-and-white pics: BLACK and Camera Noir

Instagram used to have an amazing black-and-white filter called Gotham, and it was perfect for creating noir-style photos. Then Instagram ditched Gotham for no good reason and replaced it with Inkwell. Moon, originally a video-only filter, is the other built-in black-and-white filter.

Best Instagram editing tool for black-and-white pics: BLACK and Camera Noir

Image: raymond wong/mashable

We’ve been searching for a good black-and-white photo app for years, and BLACK, an iOS-only app, is a solid one that tries to emulate black and white film with filters. There are presets for film like the Kodak TRI-x 400, Fuji Neopan 400 and Ilford HPS, to name a few.

The app is intuitive to use — swipe left and right to apply different B&W filters — and it lets you tweak shadows with a fade tool, control tones and contrast with a curves tool, and customize and apply vignettes. You will have to pay $0.99 to access these advanced editing features, though.

($2.99, iOS-only) is also another well-reviewed B&W camera and editing app.

2. For selfies: Facetune 

Best Instagram editing tool for selfies: Facetune

On some Android smartphones, the camera app comes with built-in “beauty” modes to help smooth out your skin, resize your eyes and distort your face. The results can be terrifying if used to the extreme. The iPhone’s camera app has no such beauty feature.

But if you’re the selfie junkie, FaceTune ($3.99 on iOS and Android) is a highly recommended app that can airbrush your skin and whiten your teeth in a pinch.

Edit selfies with Facetune or Perfect 365

Perfect365 (free on iOS and Android) is also a feature-rich app to tweak your selfies. According to US Weekly, Kim Kardashian and her sisters use the app to edit their selfies before posting them to Instagram. So, there’s that.

3. For time-lapses: Hyperlapse and Microsoft Hyperlapse Mobile

Best Instagram editing tool for time-lapses: Try Hyperlapse

Hyperlapse (iOS-only) is hands-down the best app for creating time-lapses. The app’s appeal isn’t just that it lets you speed up and slow down video from 1x to 12x the normal speed, but its fantastic use of software image-stabilization is also a standout. In place of expensive gimbals and other hardware stabilizers, Hyperlapse uses data from your iPhone’s gyroscope to measure and remove frames that are shaky and create a video that’s smooth.

What you get is cinematic-like video that often looks like it’s been captured with more expensive gear:

iPhone owners can also film a time lapse within the iOS Camera app. Many Android smartphones offer this built-in function as well.

Android users are out of luck with the official Instagram Hyperlapse app, but there are alternatives like Microsoft Hyperlapse Mobile.

4. For short looping videos: Phhhoto and Boomerang

There are tons of apps that you can use to create short animations and videos that loop. Phhhoto (iOS and Android) is one of the originals, and unlike other apps, intentionally creates lo-fi “moving pictures.” Here’s one in action:

For higher-resolution looping videos, Instagram’s official Boomerang app (iOS and Android) is also really fun to use:

5. For silly and weird posts: Giphy Cam and Enlight

Best GIF app for Instagram: Giphy Cam and Enlight

Giphy Cam lets you combine video and images with canned GIF animations (like the dolphin on the left) into one new shareable GIF. The center image shows some of the editing choices and the last image is shows how precise positioning can make the whole image look more realistic.IMAGE: GIPHY

Who says Instagram is all sunsets, symmetrical buildings and selfies? It can also be a place to be silly…if you want it to be. Giphy Cam, an “incubator of all your worst (and best) GIF nightmares” as Mashable former chief correspondent Lance Ulanoff called it, is the perfect app to create goofy video posts.

The app generates GIFs, but you can import them directly into Instagram as videos and edit them further.

Make GIFs for Instagram using Enlight

Enlight ($3.99, iOS-only) is made by the guys behind Facetune and was named as “the best all-in-one photo editor” by Apple in 2015. While it’s a feature-packed photo-editng app that might as well be called “Photoshop for iPhone,” the app’s Mixer, Painting, Urban, Sketch and Effects tools really make it outstanding, turning photos into creative pieces of art.

6. For powerful editing: Afterlight 2, Snapseed and VSCO

Afterlight 2 is a powerful, iOS only, photo editing solution. At $2.99 it won’t break the bank and offers a lot of tools to make the perfect edits. Plenty of filters are included along with dedicated color and overlay abilities. All-in-all it’s a versatile app that works for portrait shots as well as capturing candids.

Best Instagram editing tool: Download Afterlight 2

Image: RAYMOND WONG/MASHABLE

Google’s Snapseed is one of the best free photo-editing apps available for both iOS and Android. It comes with a huge selection of editing tools that are more powerful than Instagram’s built-in ones and the filters — especially the High Dynamic Range (HDR) processing — are exceptionally great.

Best Instagram editing tool: Snapseed

VSCO, for iOS and Android, is another popular camera and photo-editing app; it has the added benefit of a thriving community in which to share your photos to.

7. For adding text and doodles: Typic and SnapPen

Best way to add text to Instagram photos: Typic and SnapPen

Image: RAYMOND WONG/MASHABLE

While it’s generally frowned upon to “ruin” your Instagram pics with text and doodles, sometimes they can help express emotion in a photo. Though there are free apps out there, we like Typic ($2.99, iOS-only) for adding text and stamps, and SnapPen ($0.99, iOS-only) for adding quick doodles. They’re both simple and straightforward to use.

8. For collages: Layout and PicStitch

Nobody likes to open up their Instagram feed and see a friend drop a dozen photos in a few minutes — chill out! — like the app’s shutting down tomorrow. Instead of posting two pics of your food, a selfie and a pic of the restaurant you’re in as four separate posts, consider consolidating them into a single post using a collaging app.

Instagram has a lovely collage app called Layout (iOS and Android) that helps you create different photo layouts.

How to make photo collages for Instagram: Try Layout or Picstitch

Image: raymond wong/mashable

The venerable PicStitch (iOS and Android) is also popular with 245 different layouts and a built-in photo editor.

Https%3a%2f%2fblueprint api production.s3.amazonaws.com%2fuploads%2fvideo uploaders%2fdistribution thumb%2fimage%2f86903%2fde80342d ec88 4643 95cd 1e5a9bec19d2

Additional reporting by Jake Krol. Original story published in 2016 and updated in 2018.

Continue Reading
Advertisement Find your dream job

Trending