There is a mobile network with 500 million monthly active users. More than 80% are outside the U.S. and they upload more than 95 million photos and videos.
Well, these are some big numbers, aren’t they?
And if you didn’t hear about it until now let me introduce you to Instagram. The biggest mobile platform with the most active users growing every month.
Or maybe you’ve heard about Instagram and just started your journey on the platform. You might need some tips and tricks on how to leverage your visual content or how to create visuals that can help you be different than your competition.
Today Instagram can do more than just share some photos or videos. Today you can create Instagram Stories (check out this article about 7 types of content to upload on Insta Stories). They’ve just announced Instagram Live will come out in a few weeks and you’ll be able to easily share videos and photos that disappear in 24 hours.
This is how big Instagram is!
But in this article, I want to show you some apps to help you create beautiful visuals for your feed. It doesn’t matter if you are a marketer, small business owner or just a regular user of the platform.
I’m using some of these apps on my personal account and some of them are used by professionals who work in the content marketing industry.
1. VSCO CAM
One of my favorite app for editing photos is – VSCO. I’ve started using VSCO a few years ago and now I just love this app. Even when they redesigned their interface and it’s was hard to know how to get back to a menu or what a symbol meant. It still remains in my personal top. If a good app understands the intent of the user, the user will understand how to use it.
If you follow some of the most popular Instagrammers, you will notice they use VSCO CAM.
But what does VSCO mean? It comes from the name of the company that developed it – Visual Supply Company. These are the guys building a series of plugins for Lightroom that show classic film stocks.
The most interesting thing with VSCO CAM are:
- You can shoot with the app (you can separately define focus and exposure points)
- Photo Library
- Filter Library (you can have free default filters or you can buy the pro ones)
- VSCO GRID (you can create a gallery experience on specific images created with the app)
If you want more from your photos and to step up your game, you need to start using professional apps.
And VSCO is the app that can help you not only edit photos or sort them in a library, but see what others shot and how they are doing it with their VSCO GRID.
Also, with VSCO you can easily share the edited photos on Instagram, Facebook, and other social networks if you want to build your online presence.
Snapseed is a mobile app acquired by Google in 2012. They had a huge overhaul in 2015.
Snapseed is a great app which can help you edit specific parts of your photos. I saw many Instagrammers using it when they wanted to edit only little parts of their photos.
Also, with Snapseed you can take photos in landscape mode (which you can’t do in VSCO or even in Instagram).
If you want to change the tone of your image, rotate it, crop it or use the brush you get a manual editing option when you press the circular white editing button on the bottom right. Easy right?
And let’s not forget about the preset filters you get.
Also, if you want to control more the Lens Blur, you can steer a viewer’s focus to a particular part of the photo. You can’t do that easily on Instagram or VSCO.
The interesting thing about this app is it tracks your edits across various tools and let you apply them to other visuals using a simple copy and paste. So, if you want a series of images to match one another, this is the quickest way you can do it, without struggling to remember all your settings.
You must have heard about this one. It’s a mobile art filter app developed by a Russian programmer and it’s one of the top Apple’s App Store in Russia.
They launched June 20, 2016, and added an Android version in July 2016.
So they are very new in town, but they are doing some great things with there pre-filter apps.
You can add artistic effects to your photos by combining them with works of art. So, if you want to edit some of your photos in a more artistic way, and apply some Picasso style filters, than Prisma is your app.
Even if the style is not new (remember DeepArt.io?) the difference is speed and availability for the mobile platform.
With Prisma you have 20 art filters inside the app including “The Scream” by Edvard Munch, “Go for Baroque” by Roy Lichtenstein, or an abstract artworks like “Transverse Line” by Wassily Kandinsky. And according to TechCrunch they want to have about 40 styles.
4. Instagram native edit option
The one I use the most is the Instagram native edit option. Sometimes, I don’t add filters to my photos. I just take the photo with my phone camera, import it in the app, and start editing the photo in Instagram.
To make it more realistic I work with Contrast, Brightness, Warmth and sometimes Saturation and Sharpen. There are moments I feel like Lux can make a difference in the photo, and I use it, but sparingly.
What I realized is Instagram invests more in giving users a great platform experience more than it’s editing features.
Instagram is one of the biggest networks and they want to conquer the industry. They need to keep their head in the game and try to get more followers. With Facebook’s ecosystem and power, I believe they are on the right path.
So here are the 4 photo editing apps I recommend to every marketer who wants to make the best of their Instagram account.
I’m not saying you need to use them all, but the best way to see which is better for you is to experiment with them.
Back to you: Do you use Instagram for your visual marketing strategy?