Ahhhh Instagram… It unchains the masses, inspires creativity, bursts with imagination and beautiful pictures, and makes practically all of us crazy! Some accounts are overloaded with creative energy and magnificent photos to incite our imagination! And you have to admit it’s for a good reason: Instagram is a meeting place for lots of artists and it is really a powerful tool. I am far from being THE big star on Instagram at the moment. More than anything I am a photographer, and sometimes I like to compare Instagram to the wonderful photo retouching software I have. It has to be said: Instagram opens up a lot of possibilities, and more than anything it helps you get superb photo results even with just a smart phone! Here’s a little overview of the practically infinite possibilities offered by this magical software application.
All of these Instagram photos were taken with an iPhone.
Here is an option that has delighted more than a few surfers and that you won’t find very often in photo retouching software programs: filters! It must be said that some Instagram filters are really very well done. No some are “Instagram No Way” purists, but others have the gift of making very beautiful pictures. Try them out and use the one you like best. But be careful too many filters will destroy the effect. Try to always use the same one (or one that’s very close) to maintain a certain harmony in your account. Don’t overdo it with filters that contrast too much and sometimes aren’t very esthetically pleasing.
That little something extra: Instagram now lets you set how much filtering you want using a little gage on your photo. That’s brilliant!
Throughout the article, I have included some Before/After photos so you can visualize what it can produce and how to go about using it. At least you can see that sometimes you have to start from far off to get some pretty nice results. So don’t give up hope!
Instagram is getting better every day and today it offers some really accomplished tools that are useful and effective for achieving beautiful photos, even if you’re just using your smart phone! Really, I swear! Now you can retouch your photos with Instagram, and that’s a wonderful innovation since we all remember Instagram at the beginning when you just had the option of adding filters.
This before/after photo is absolute proof that you can redeem the most horrible results…my toes, disastrous light…the magic of photo retouching!
Now for some practice, with detailed Instagram options and my little tips. Here are my preferred tools to retouch a photo as I do from my photo retouching software.
(These options are available in the third options tab when you publish a photo up high. There are three icons, filters, the Lux option and the tools icon with all these wonderful features!).
Adjust: the marvelous tool for perfecting your photos! When your horizon is leaning a bit, or when mountains are ready to come tumbling down, it will help you rescue your shots if you weren’t born with perfect sight lines!
Luminosity: my favorite tool… Ideal for adjusting the light in your image, it will help you fix pictures that turned out too dark. You can decide how much to use. I love overexposure, so I happily go way overboard!
Contrast: this option is found in lots of applications and software programs and it needs no introduction. To enhance contrast in your photo. Be careful not to go too far with contrast because if you do, the results in my estimation aren’t going to be very attractive.
Structure: the Instagram sharpness tool which brings out your photo’s details and contours. To be used with moderation. Try it out and you’ll see what works for you.
Warmth: this lets you regulate the temperature of the photo, which can either be too warm (too yellow) or too cold (too blue). I love this option!
Saturation: saturation lets you adjust the colors of the photo to either enhance or diminish their intensity. I don’t use this option much, but it is worthwhile.
Color: it lets you adjust the general color of the photo; several tones are available. You can try it out, but I never use it.
Shading: this option allows you to shade your photo, fade tones and give it a nostalgic effect. I like it, but used in moderation. Once again, it’s up to your tastes and to the colors!
High Lights: lets you accentuate bright tones and the photo’s high lights. I recommend it for bright photos.
Shadows: lets you loosen up shadows and soften shadows that are too dark.
Vignette: darkens the corners of the photo and gives your photo a vignette effect.
Tilt shift: this option is aptly named and lets you keep one area sharp and the rest blurry.
Sharpness: it is also aptly named because it lets you accentuate your photo’s sharpness. It’s not exactly a dramatic effect, but it can help you take care of that little blurriness.
Yes, some applications already let you do photo retouching, but here is the beauty: you have to admit that it is very practical to be able to do everything from a single application! Honestly, sometimes that’s enough. I like to send the photos I took in reflex to Instagram, but with a good smart phone, you have a really great way to get some excellent results.
That little extra: all these tool choices and options for retouching.
That little minus: since the photo quality of some smart phones isn’t amazing, the retouch applied above doesn’t really lend great quality to the photos and might sometimes even diminish the quality. It might be OK on a small screen, but on a bigger screen it can kind of sting your eyes. J
Right at the beginning, our Instagram photos were framed and that was it. Then after awhile we could cheat a little and post landscape or portrait photos lengthwise with white borders using different applications…
Now portrait and landscape are the new frame, so you can publish your photos in either landscape or portrait, while they are still square on your profile! Hallelujah! No more ugly white or black bands around your beautiful pictures.
To get that effect, you need to load the photo and then use the icon with the arrows on the bottom left. Here’s a look at the effect on the account, as an individual picture, and when you’re publishing it. For portraits, when you’re on the photo off timeline, you just have to scroll down. I love the result. I think I’ll turn to this feature again and again (I used to hate having to crop some pictures…) !
Here are some modest tips to retouch your photos with your smart phone. Since not everybody’s lucky enough to have a big reflex (connected to wifi as well) and because sometimes our little smart phones are a lot more practical! Now, having a nice Instagram account isn’t just about this, so I recommend reading the article by Slanelle & Melissa for lots of excellent tips. Find out your own preferences, discover your own style and let your creativity shine through!
Go to your phone or camera and get some great shots to share out on Instagram!
Blogger and photographer, Céline is never afraid to speak her mind or let her camera do the talking! She is passionate about imagery. She is a photographer, but she is also a writer, sharing her photography, her travels, and her favorite discoveries. She has a quirky penchant for kids, for photographic composition, travel, pastel photos, and oh so much more!
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