Beyond Instagram: How To Use Multiple Apps To Get The Photo Effect You Want


I shoot photos for my blog with a “real camera,” but sometimes all I have with me is my iPhone. And, to be honest, sometimes people can't even tell the difference. Heck, even professional photographers are starting to shoot weddings using only their iPhones!  

In this Post, I will show you how to use cheap, easy to use Photo Editing Apps to create stunning, share-worthy images for your blog, website or social media platforms.  

Photo Editing Apps

Photo editing apps are cheap and easy to use, so nowadays you don't need to be a Photoshop expert to adjust exposure, add text, increase sharpness, and so forth. With a few apps at your fingertips, you can create stunning, share-worthy images to use on your blog, website, or social media.

“I know all this,” I hear you saying. “I use Instagram.”

Ah yes, Instagram. As a social network, I love it. I think it has the potential to be a real storytelling platform and a micro-blogging tool. But as a photo editing app, it has limitations.

If you decide to use Instagram for all your photo editing, eventually two things will happen:

  1. Your photos will start looking the same. “Here we go,” your viewers will think. “She's using Hefe again.”
  2. You'll outgrow Instagram's 17 filters and want to do something it can't do.
Examples of Photo Editing Apps

Here are some examples of how to use other apps, sometimes in combination, to get a bigger variety of effects.

1  Think outside the (square) box

Instagram only creates square images, so if you take a photo in another aspect ratio, Instagram will place it into a square image with a black background, like this:

You might like the way that looks, or you might not. Let's say you want to take a shot in a wide format, and have the image floating in white space instead of black, like this:

Here's how to do it:

  1. Use Snapseed for the first round of editing. In this case I cropped it to 16:9 and sharpened it.
  2. Use Snapseed to apply a vintage filter to fade the colours.
  3. Use Squaready to place the photo into a white square. When it appears on Instagram, Facebook or any other social media feed that already has a white background (as most of them do), your image won't look as if it's been plonked into a square box. With Squaready, you can choose the colour of the background, change the rotation of the photo, create a mirror image, and so on.
  4. The last step is to bring the image into Instagram, where I applied the tilt-shift horizontal effect to blend the top and bottom edges of the 16:9 photo into the white space.
2  Create collages

You can have lots of fun with collages, and there are plenty of apps to choose from. I use PicCollage, PicStitch, and InstaCollage.

Here's how to create a collage like this:

  1. Crop, process, and add a black frame in LemeLeme.
  2. Apply a tilt-shift affect to blur out the edges using Snapseed.
  3. In PicCollage, choose the blurred photo as a background. You'll notice the photo has a white border around the edges now; I can toggle the border on/off in PicCollage, as well as choose a different colour for it.
  4. In PicCollage add a second photo (my unblurred shot), and rotate it.
  5. Share via Instagram.
3  Add text

Adding text helps make your photos share-worthy on Facebook and Pinterest, so it's handy to have a go-to app for this. I use Phonto.

Here's how to create a shot like this:

1. Use Cross Process to change the colour and add a white frame. Notice that I composed the photo with my effects in mind; I left space in the upper left for text. Think like a designer and imagine what you can do with the finished shot.

  1. Use Phonto to add text.
  2. Use Squaready to place the photo into a white frame.
  3. Share via Instagram.
4  Mix it up

To get different effects, experiment with apps and mix up the order in which you apply filters. Here is an example of using the tilt-shift effect in Instagram before adding a frame, versus after:

When you use the filter after you've added a frame, the result is a nice blurriness all through the frame.

With so many apps on the market these days, and many of them available for free, the possibilities are endless!

What are your go-to apps for photo editing? Do you have any tips for layering effects?

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Angela Hemming

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