Meet the 7 apps that will give your amateur Instagrams professional gloss

December 25, 2015 - Uncategorized

If you want to become a world-famous Instagram photographer, or at least boost your follower and like counts, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. There are seven highly effective habits of popular Instagram users, and none of them has to do with Instagram. (OK, Instagram is responsible for a few of them.)

Photographers, video personalities, fashion bloggers, and famous foodies use these seven apps to take their Instagrams to the next level, and you’d never even know it. Instagram’s own filters go a long way toward making your lattes look far richer than they do in person, and the app is constanty updated with fresh options. But the popular photo- and video-sharing app doesn’t want to overload you with options, which is why its most game-changing features have been spun off as separate apps (we’ll get to those in a minute).

But third-party apps have been making other users’ photos look like pages from a magazines—and videos look like film clips—for quite some time. Here are the seven best ways to make your Instagrams stand out from the pack. (It almost goes without saying, but all of these apps make sharing photos to Instagram super simple.)


So you think Instagram’s filters and editing tools have grown up in the last few years? You haven’t yet met Afterlight. This photo-editing app has 74 adjustable filters, 78 textures, and 128 frames to fit every mood or season, plus 15 cropping tools to control every aspect of your photo.

Afterlight goes way, way beyond Instagram’s own filters.

You can spend an hour tweaking the settings on one image until you’ve transformed a photo of trees into a muddy watercolor, so you’ll have to exercise some restraint. But Afterlight has options Instagram can only dream of, which make your photos infinitely more beautiful than your trusty Valencia/Lux combo can. It’s well worth 99 cents.


Let’s get this out of the way: VSCO Cam is the app that professionals prefer. VSCO makes top-notch photo-editing software, and its app brings that level of gloss to your amateur iPhone and Android shots.

VSCO Cam can make almost any shot look a lot better.

Like Instagram, VSCO Cam offers filters and strengthening sliders for everything from saturation to warmth. But (sorry, Instagram) VSCO Cam’s presets are above and beyond Kelvin and Nashville—plus, you can buy themed filter packs to round out your options. The collections are artistic instead of cheesy: See “Analog Classic” or “Faded Moody.” If you want your photos to look ripped straight out of a back issue of National Geographic (or Vogue), VSCO Cam is your best bet.


To make your photos look especially cinematic, you need Whitagram. The app adds a white letterbox to your landscape and portrait photos. It sounds almost stupidly simple, but if you’ve ever watched a classic movie and appreciated the detail you see in frames with proper ratios, you know how much better letterboxed images can look.

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