No longer can you just crop a photo, slap on a filter (all you Sutro and Lo-Fi abusers, I see you), write a witty caption with corresponding punny hashtags and call it a successful post.
With Instagram continuing to hold the top photo-sharing app spot, 18 filter options just weren’t enough to keep the wannabe editing apps at bay. On June 3, Instagram upped the ante by adding 10 new photo-editing tools including a tool that adjusts the intensity of each filter with the touch of a slide bar. Move over, AfterLight. However, one of the biggest changes with this update is not in Instagram’s filter variety, but in the editing selections that don’t involve filters at all.
Now before you start aimlessly sliding bars and clicking adjustments, let’s take a look at the breakdown of improved features along with all the new stuff on the menu, then we can get back to snapping perfectly constructed works of Instagram gold.
Yep, your favorite features have been updated to make even the least savvy photo editor a pro. Now more than ever, you have the freedom to adjust photos as much, or as little, as you want.
- Straighten – Using a grid and sliding bar you can now realign your photos to the degree to keep the composition of your photo perfect.
- Border – Feel like your photo just isn’t complete without a border? When you choose your filter, tap the filter again to reveal a sliding bar to adjust filter strength along with a frame icon that allows you to add the border.
- Blur/Tilt Shift – If you’re the type that likes to blur out lines of text or other ambiguous things that you just can’t crop out of the frame, the tilt shift icon is better than ever. Click the wrench icon to reveal all the available tools, then select Tilt Shift and decide between a radial or linear blur, I’ll give you a second…alright, now use your fingers to adjust the exact area of your photo you would like to keep focused.
- Crop – Using the same tool to straighten, use the Adjust function to crop your photo to the exact proportion you’re looking to achieve.
- Lux – With the same purpose of balancing exposure as before, the lux feature is now a little more user (and hipster) friendly with the use of a sliding bar that can take a photo from dark and moody to clear as day with one swift flick of a fingertip.
- Rotate – Under the adjust tool you’ll see a circle composed of arrows in the bottom right hand corner of your photo. Click it to get heads turning.
Ever find that some pictures don’t have a filter that really suits it? Well, now you can get into the nitty-gritty details and adjust the light and the color to your heart’s content. This is good news for brands that have made Instagram part of their social media strategy and rely heavily on images. If your brand has a certain look to its photos, then rest assured – there’s a filter for it. If these new features are indicators of other future Instagram updates, then count me in.
- Adjust – While cropping and straightening isn’t a new feature all together, they’re now housed under the new Adjust tool, which can aid with any positioning edits you want to make.
- Brightness/Contrast/Highlights/Shadows – All of these tools have individual functions, but collectively work to tweak small adjustments between light and dark in your photos.
- Warmth/ Saturation – These two are separate tools, but they both accomplish edits on color tones. The warmth tool will let you slide between an icy, blue look or a sunset, orange glow for your overall photo, while the saturation tool bumps up the intensity of all the colors in your photo. Be careful not to get carried away with the saturation slider and risk turning subjects in to oompa loompas.
- Vignette – If Tilt Shift isn’t your style, using Vignette to darken the edge of the frame and highlight the center of the photo may give you more of the dramatic effect you’re shooting for.
- Sharpen – This one is exactly like it sounds. Sharper lines mean more definition. Also, with a slew of editing tools now at your disposal nobody has time for grainy newsfeed photos anymore. Embrace the sharpen tool and get it together.
- Filter Strength – For fans of subtlety there’s a new feature on the block, Filter Strength. Next time you’re tempted to use Lo-Fi scale it down a notch on the slider and see if you like the softer look.
For photo novices, this update is sure to make your professional social media skills even sharper, and for those with more of a photographer’s flair you can relish in the easier transition from editing to sharing. Even though, you’re a professional photographer now, you’ll still need to snap creative, engaging content.
According to Instagram’s director of product, Peter Deng, the folks at Instagram have always been photo geeks, and with the new update they’re just trying to spread the visual nerd love.
We can feel it, Peter.