Amateur Photographer, Instagram Professional: Take Your Photos to the Next Level

May 2015

In my college years, I took an introductory photography class to fulfill my fine arts credit. Thinking it would be an easy way to boost my GPA, I was terrified to realize that there is a lot more to taking “pretty pictures” than just an attractive subject and good lighting. Sure, those elements are the baseline of a quality image, but most great photos are the result of plenty of editing and artistry performed long after the original point and shoot has taken place. Instagram was created to fill just that need: to give amateur photographers the capacity to turn their raw photos into true works of art.


However, like everything in the tech realm, expert ‘grammers have already surpassed the basic photo editing functions Instagram provides and started incorporating other techniques and tricks to making their photos look like a professional took them. Adding grain, vignettes, fade, and borders make creating the perfect picture easier than ever. Seem too overwhelming? I’ve got good news: there’s an app for that.

As much as we love Instagram for keeping us connected, we have a few mobile applications that keep our ‘grams loaded with likes. Here’s a list of our top 4 editing companions:

  • Afterlight been noticing a lot of feeds where every photo has a frame, giving the profile a cleaner, more artsy feel? They are likely using Afterlight, the best way to customize your photos with 128 frames in all sorts of shapes and layouts.
  • VSCO cam both a camera and editing app, nothing makes objects and spaces look more interesting or inviting. Their filters resemble high quality film, and the interface is very user-friendly. Best of all, it’s free!
  • Mextures for adding texture, grain, light leaks and color, this app is the way to go. It’s also incredibly helpful for photography newbies, with a feature that lets you track your edits to easily undo any effect or edit you aren’t happy with.
  • Repix offers users the ability to use their style brushes to paint over an image, bringing a photoshop feel to editing your pictures. The app still provides the classic editing features such as exposure, cropping, and saturation, yet with the added capacity to illustrate.

So go ahead, Ansel Adams, and shoot away. Even your blurriest and most uninteresting photos can be reimagined with a little creativity and some help from your favorite app. Plus, we can guarantee that exploring the features of any one of these will help you become a better photographer in the process!

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