This is a guest post by Nancy Grace.
As Instagram rolls out its new algorithm over the coming weeks, it becomes absolutely necessary to create awesome photos in order to stand out from the crowd.
As we all know, the app’s filters and editing tools are growing bigger and bigger (there are over 40 tools now) – but when it comes to features and extra functionality, they’re not as good as the ones that come with third-party apps.
For photo editing, third-party apps have more options as well as offer greater precision and control over the built-in Instagram apps. This means better photos, which can grab more eyeballs and gain more ‘Likes’ and ‘Comments’ every time you update.
If you’re not yet using visual-centric social media to promote your brand or business yet, it’s not too late to begin. Here are 16 awesome apps you can use to take your Instagram marketing game to the next level. Bonus: most of them are free!
For B&W Photos: BLACK and CAMERA NOIR
Remember the black-and-white filter called Gotham that Instagram was using? It was a pretty cool app to create noir-type pictures. However, the app was ditched for unknown reasons and later replaced by another app called Inkwell. As of now, another black-and-white filter called Moon (actually a video-only filter) is being endorsed by the app.
We’ve been on the lookout for an impressive photo tool for some time, and we’re glad we found BLACK. It’s an iOS-only app that can produce stunning black-and-white photos with an amazing choice of filters. It even has presets for models like Ilford HPS, Fuji Neopan 400, and Kodak TRI-x 400.
Unlike other apps we analyzed, this one is user-friendly and there is a swipe option to apply different filters for black-and-white photos. We were able to fade shadows at the background using the app’s fade tool, apply vignettes, and adjust contrasts and tones using the curves tool. In order to access the app’s advanced features, you’ll need to pay $0.99.
Another app you may want to check out is CAMERA NOIR.
A powerful black-and-white photo editing tool, you can adjust classic looks to make them more dramatic or authentic. Fiddle with reds, yellows, or blues to enhance the luminance of your images. Want something fast? Just play with their presets and you’re good to go.
Valued at $2.99, this app may just take you by surprise with its ease of use and rich addition to detail.
For Time Lapses: HYPERLAPSE and MICROSOFT HYPERLAPSE MOBILE
Time-lapse makes for a cool and lively Instagram video. With the HYPERLAPSE app for iOS, you can slow down or speed up videos from 1x to 12x their regular speed.
What’s more, it has unbelievable software to stabilize shaky images. Instead of using costly gimbals and external hardware devices, this app pulls out data from your iPhone’s gyroscope and makes it possible to measure or remove frames that affect the smoothness of the video.
Once you’ve done editing your video with HYPERLAPSE, what you will see is a cinema-like video projecting high-quality frames that look like the ones that come from expensive equipment.
The only drawback of this app is, it’s not available for Android devices. If you are looking for a great equivalent for your Android phone, check out MICROSOFT HYPERLAPSE MOBILE.
For Selfie-Lovers: FACETUNE and PERFECT365
If you have the new Samsung Galaxy S6, you probably know of its many camera features (unfortunately, iPhones don’t share this trait). As long as you have a Samsung account, you can simply download all these cool modes from the Samsung app store.
From sports to food shots, there’s also the infamous ‘beauty face’ mode, that can smooth out your skin or resize your eyes. But for ardent selfie-lover, this is often not enough.
Enter photo-editing tools like FACETUNE (Android and iOS) and PERFECT365 (Android and iOS).
FACETUNE is super user-friendly and comes in quite handy when you want to quickly whiten your teeth or airbrush your skin. It costs $3.99 – but the outcome is worth every penny. Just imagine pearly whites or smoother skin in just one swipe.
If you’re on the lookout for a free app, try PERFECT365. The photo-editing tool made headlines when celebrity Kim Kardashian used it to edit one of her popular selfies.
For Looping Vids: PHHHOTO and BOOMERANG
It’s not difficult to find dozens of apps to edit videos and create short animations. But it can be daunting to find just the right app to make those amazing looping pictures. Thank goodness for PHHHOTO and BOOMERANG.
PHHHOTO allows you to create impressive moving pictures that ‘loop forever’. Available on Android and iOS devices, it’s also a photo-sharing community where users can see the best photos picked by the public. Instantly shoot and share with friends for hours of fun. Best of all, this app is free!
BOOMERANG by Instagram on the other hand, is a simple tool for Android and iOS that makes every moment more memorable.
There’s only one button for all: so it’s super easy to make looping mini videos to instantly share on Facebook or Instagram. Just find your subject, tap to shoot, and save.
For Silly or Weird Photos: GIPHY CAM and ENLIGHT
Want to spice up your regular food, fashion, selfies, and cat photos? Often, standing out from the crowd means posting something weird and crazy. For this purpose, try GIPHY CAM and ENLIGHT.
GIPHY CAM for Android and iOS is a free app that can help you create wacky GIFs, or simply add special effects into photos.
Browse through hundreds of other creations: whether you love funny GIFs, weird GIFs or expression GIFs, GIPHY has a boatload of collections for you. Choose your favorite, edit it using the app and import it directly onto your Instagram account.
ENLIGHT for iOS, valued at $3.99 is another great app for making silly and weird images.
It comes from the developers of the Seven Kingdoms series. This is one of the coolest photo-editing apps out there. In fact, it was named “the best all-in-one photo editing app” by Apple in 2015. From sketch and painting, to mixing and special effects, there are lots of options to turn an ordinary photo into something stunning.
For Effortless Editing: SNAPSEED and VSCO
SNAPSEED is a free photo tool that comes with plenty of editing options that are miles ahead of the ones you see in Instagram’s built-in apps.
One of its best features is the High Dynamic Range (HDR) processing. Use the feature to create captivating photos for your business or friends circle. The app is available on Android and iOS.
VSCO is another popular app that is widely used by thousands of Instagram users. The app gives you a cool way to shoot, edit, and share awe-inspiring photos. This tool is available for download on iOS and Android devices.
For Text and Doodles: TYPIC and SNAPPEN
Sometimes, texts and drawings could help enhance the expression of the objects in your photo. Of course, there are tons of free apps out there – but if you wish to use texts and doodles like a pro, then you need a premium app like TYPIC.
Available for iOS users for $3.99, this tool is famous for its wide selection of texts and drawings.
Looking for a more affordable doodle tool? Try SNAPPEN for iOS. For only $0.99, you can quickly add scribbles, mark spots on a map, or draw on a friend’s photo. Fuss-free and easy, users love its clear instructions and smooth lines.
For Collages: LAYOUT and PICSTITCH
If you are going to post a dozen images like there’s no tomorrow, why not strategize and post less yet still be seen by your followers? This smart move usually involves posting four or six images a day using a common theme, or merging pictures together and posting as a single update.
Here’s where collages come in handy. LAYOUT by Instagram is a beautiful, free app that allows you to create lovely layouts without flooding your followers’ feeds. Just download for your Android or iOS gadgets.
Another great alternative is PICSTITCH, a free collage maker and available for Android and iOS users. Boasting of over 250 layouts to choose from, you can also customize borders, add fancy filters, or make your own layout.
We hope we’ve covered everything that you’re looking for to level-up your Instagram game using images. Whether you’re looking to attract new followers, make a good impression, or create brand awareness, these apps should hopefully do the trick. Go on – take your pick and enjoy!
RNI Films should be No.1 – missing.