how to find and activate them? (+ best filters to use)

how to find and activate them? (+ best filters to use)


On Instagram, photo quality can make all the difference between a successful post and a post that users ignore. A good photo makes it possible to obtain more subscribers and to engage Internet users, therefore to generate leads through the application. Which is the goal of a social media marketing strategy.

> Download: The 2021 Instagram Trends Report”/>

It is therefore crucial to embellish the photos to make them more attractive. How do users publish visuals that are more beautiful than life, that make you want to jump across the screen to discover a landscape or devour a dish? Answer: They use Instagram photo filters extensively.

Where to find Instagram filters?

There are two types of filters on Instagram: those used before posting a photo on the feed and those used for stories. Once the application is launched, just click on the “+” icon at the top right and decide if you want to publish a photo or a story.

In the first case, by clicking on “publish”, the gallery opens to select one or more already existing photos, but it is also possible to take a new photo directly by clicking on the camera icon above the gallery. Once the photo has been selected, Instagram then offers to use filters installed in the application or to manually modify the brightness, saturation or sharpness settings.

Stories offer a wider spectrum of filters and effects to add to photos (and videos). Once story mode is open, the user can choose an existing photo by opening their gallery at the bottom left. Once the photo has been selected, all he has to do is slide his finger to the left to view the different filters (Paris, Los Angeles, Oslo, etc.). He can also add effects (glitter rain or falling snow for example) by clicking on the three small stars at the top.

The user can also post a new photo by clicking on the middle round button at the time of the photo selection step. He can add a filter before taking the photo by scrolling through the different filter options to the right of the round button, and even search for new filters by clicking on the magnifying glass at the end of the filter carousel. Once the photo has been taken with the filter chosen, it is possible to add a new filter by sliding your finger to the left.

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person taking photo from smartphone

How to use Instagram filters?

Instagram is primarily a visual application. It offers many features allowing you to edit photos before posting them, and thus embellish them to make them more attractive or to convey a specific message. Filters are one of them.

Take a quality photo

It is the base of everything. Instagram’s optimization options may be effective, but they cannot work miracles: a poor photo can never turn into a pictorial masterpiece. A good Instagram post therefore always starts with a quality photo.

For that, you don’t have to be a professional or invest in an expensive smartphone. What is needed is a good subject, time, and a few tips to keep in mind: use natural light, take a cue, manage depth of field, try different angles, look for an effect of symmetry. The Internet is full of tutorials on the subject.

It is only in a second step that the use of an Instagram photo filter is essential.

take a photo with your smartphone

Access filters

As seen previously, photo filters on Instagram are accessible once the photo to edit has been chosen.

In the case of an existing image, the Instagram application accesses the phone’s photo gallery after clicking on the “+” icon at the top right. This displays by default all the images available on the device, but it is possible to indicate a specific folder from which it will draw. At the same time, different options are displayed on the screen to change the photo format, to select several photos in order to create a carousel or to take a new photo.

To access Instagram photo filters, choose an image and click Next.

instagram screenshot access to filters

Choose an Instagram photo filter

Instagram offers around forty filters, including those which are “hidden” (accessible by clicking on Manage at the far right of the scroll bar). All are identified by names: Clarendon, Gingham, Moon, Perpetua, Valencia, Nashville or Sierra, for example.

Each photo filter on Instagram has its own unique personality. It not only changes the appearance of an image, but also the effect it has on the user looking at it. For example, Nashville produces a very marked aged effect, with outlines reminiscent of film. A recent photo thus gives the impression of having been taken in the 1970s.

Finding the right Instagram photo filter means trying them out one by one, noting which ones produce the desired effects, and then coming back to the most popular ones to draw up a shortlist, until there is only one left.

screenshot instagram filter selection

Select a filter based on the marketing objective

Every photo filter on Instagram has its uses, and can be adopted from a marketing perspective. For example, for Instagram B2B use, choosing a black and white filter like Inkwell will allow you to tell a story by focusing on the aesthetic aspect of the images.

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The choice of the filter is also a way to differentiate the communication of the company. A Canva study has shown that the most widely used Instagram photo filter in the world is Clarendon; it comes first in 119 countries. The fact that it is ideal for “selfies” undoubtedly explains its success. Given this information, a company will have every interest in standing out by using more original filters.

However, the use of a filter is not compulsory. Instagram gives the possibility of leaving the image natural (“Normal”). It is also a communication process in itself, as evidenced by the presence of the #nofilter in the list of the most popular hashtags.

instagram screenshot change a filter

Adjust different aspects of the image

For each photo filter on Instagram, the application gives the possibility to adjust the brightness. All you have to do is click on the magic wand button located at the top center of the screen. A slider allows you to modify the brightness by sliding your finger to the left or to the right. Once the right light has been chosen, click on “Done”.

Other image adjustment options are accessible via the “Edit” button at the bottom right of the screen. The user can correct contrast, warmth, saturation, colors, sharpness, and many other elements. For each of them, a side slider allows you to choose the right fit. It is then possible to validate (“Done”) or go back without modifying anything (“Cancel”).

instagram screenshot modify filters instagram screenshot modify filters

All that remains is to publish the photo by clicking Next, without forgetting to add hashtags.

Top 10 best Instagram filters

Filters allow the user to give their photos a little extra. It was therefore important to make a top 10 of the best Instagram filters.

Instagram Filter: Clarendon

Among the most popular Instagram filters in the world, there is Clarendon which is also the most used.

This filter allows the addition of light on bright areas and dark on dark areas, which cools the image. Saturation and contrast are more important with the Clarendon filter. Cyan tint is added on areas of sheer high light, and midtones are relatively warm.

It gives a natural rendering on portraits and is preferred for minimalist photos and animal photos.

Instagram filter: Valencia

Valencia is also one of the most popular Instagram filters.

The colors of this filter are globally desaturated. Indeed, this filter adds yellow and red tints to the image which warms the photo and makes it look shiny and washed out.

This filter is to be used for shots that appear a bit dark or for a vintage look.

Instagram Filter: Juno

Juno is a fairly straightforward filter that does little to deal with the contrast and vividness of the photo. It brings intensity to the red tones and yellow tones of the photo. The colors then stand out more than the blues.

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Juno is preferred for street photography.

Instagram Filter: Rise

The Rise Instagram filter brings a washed-out side. This is due to the combination of its reddish colors and desaturation. In addition, the center of the photo is overexposed unlike the rest of the image.

Rise is preferred for close-up portraits and for a vintage look.

Instagram Filter: Sierra

Sierra is the fourth most popular Instagram filter in the world.

It gets closer to Rise, while also bringing a darker side by creating the darkening of the periphery of the photograph and brightening its center.

Sierra should be used for nature photos and photos of objects.

Instagram Filter: Ludwig

Ludwig designates an Instagram filter with a minimalist look. For the record, it takes its name from the architect Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe at the origin of the minimalist mantra: “Less is more” translated into French as “Less is more”.

This filter reduces the saturation and lightness of most colors except red, which is more saturated. It therefore decreases the contrast and brings out the brilliance of red.

It should be used for photos of landscapes, buildings or for a sunset for example.

Instagram Filter: X-Pro II

X-Pro II is Instagram’s oldest filter. It was originally created to improve the quality of photos taken with phones in 2010. However, this filter is still very popular today.

This is the most contrasting and least discreet filter, as it adds shadow, darkness and strong vignetting, i.e. darkening of the periphery of the photograph. This filter uses the basis of cross development and the film is processed in the wrong developer.

This filter should be avoided for close-ups.

Instagram Filter: Hudson

Hudson greatly increases the contrast by clarifying the central point of the image, which makes it possible to emphasize an object.

Instagram Filter: Mayfair

Mayfair refers to an Instagram filter that helps highlight something in the center of the image.

This filter gives an aged effect to the image by increasing the contrast. It also adds a pink side to the photo with a slight black frame.

Instagram color filters: Willow and Inkwell

Willow designates the best Instagram filter for portrait photos by offering a sepia effect. Inkwell is the Instagram filter for a black and white image. These two color filters are recommended for portraits, outdoor shots, nature or beach scenes for example.

To go further, download this free report and define your strategy on Instagram in 2021.

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