The popular photo-sharing application Instagram, acquired by Facebook earlier this year, has enjoyed immense popularity among iOS users worldwide and its user count continues to grow. Since you’re reading this, it would be safe to assume that you‘ve also been bitten by the Instagram bug.
There’s really just one problem with the app: it doesn’t offer a whole lot of variety. All in all, the stock program comes with 17 effects, almost all of which are predictably similar to one another. Sure, they all manage to invoke a sense of nostalgia, and could be exciting to the Instagram noob, but after a while you just want something new for your shots.
So what should you do to get better photos using this app? The answer: pre-editing.
Instagram wasn’t just meant as a camera app. It can also be used to share photos already inside your iPhone’s camera roll. So here’s what you can do to create better and more exciting pictures.
1. Get Pixlr-o-matic. Available for free in the App Store, Pixlr-o-matic is a photo editing app that adds 26 new effects to your pictures. When you consider that it comes with 30 new lighting add-ons and 30 frames to choose from, you’ll realize that with this app, your options to express yourself through your shots dramatically increase.
2. Shoot and edit your picture. With Pixlr-o-matic, you can shoot and edit your picture, or edit a shot that’s already in your camera roll. Choose a photo effect, a lighting effect, and a frame. To choose an effect, just slide the viewfinder on the screen.
3. Save. After editing, you can choose to upload it directly to several social networking sites. However, Instagram isn’t supported, so for now you’ll have to save it to your camera roll.
4. Open Instagram and upload. Many people don’t really realize that you can upload photos from your camera roll to Instagram. Open up the app and will take you to the camera screen. In the lower left corner of the screen, you’ll see an icon that looks like two overlapping rectangles. Press this and you’ll be taken directly to your camera roll.
Once there, you can choose the photo you edited earlier with Pixlr-o-matic. Choose an effect if you feel that it can use a bit more editing and then upload. You’re done!
There are other apps you can use to pre-edit photos like Photoshop Express, Camera+, and Pictwo. All in all, you can get the most out of Instagram just by combining it with other tools and experimenting. Happy editing!
Obsessed with tech since the early arrival of A/UX on Apple, Sudz (SK) is responsible for the editorial direction of AppleToolBox. He is based out of Los Angeles, CA.
Sudz specializes in covering all things macOS, having reviewed dozens of OS X and macOS developments over the years.
In a former life, Sudz worked helping Fortune 100 companies with their technology and business transformation aspirations.