When you’re in a rush or indecisive about your million photo editing apps, Instagram comes to the rescue. Instagram filters are a quick fix to any average photograph. The only trouble is understanding how each filter works. This is hard to do in-phone so we decided to do a close taking apart of the subtle effects the most popular filters have on photos.

1. Clarendon

Clarendon adds lighter tones to light areas and darker ones to the dark areas. You can see new highlights in the skin tone and much harder shadows that are created with this filter. As for the colors, the filter naturally saturates with more color but mostly is great for sharper contrast between the light and dark areas.


2. Gingham

Some joke that this is the filter for hipsters, but don’t get swayed. It simply gives a more vintage look to images, desaturating the colors slightly and reduces highlights. Images with a Gingham filter are more atmospheric and warm but to be used sparingly with images with a lot of clean whites.


3. Lark

Lark is a quick fix for brightening up a photo and flooding it with a bit more light. Your pictures will look more washed out, but as you can see by the color of the leaves, it’s ideal for nature shots. This filter focuses on blues and greens, making them a more intense and rich in color.


4. Juno

Juno is really about contrast and making your pictures ‘pop’, so to speak. It intensifies reds and yellows, which gives it the effect of a very saturated photo. It does create harsh shadows, as you can see on the skin.


5. Ludwig

Ludwig causes red to be more saturated in comparison to other colors. It reduces the saturation of all the other hues. It’s a good option for architecture, as it adds a mask to colors, making them more prominent. You can see how the blue hat turned very sharp and black in this image, and the leaves are a beautiful shade of green.


6. Aden

Aden is another filter that washes out images and gives them a very retro vibe. The colors immediately turn pastel, and greens acquire a more orange/brown hue. It’s wonderful on skin tones as the filter really evens it out. It’s the ideal filter to be used in the fall.


7. Mayfair

Mayfair is one of the more dramatic filters. As you can see, light colors turn to a shade of red, greens acquire more yellow and shadows become more prominent and sharp. This filter works best at fixing underexposed images.  


8. Valencia

Photos that already have pastel hues do well with this filter. It puts a slightly yellow mask on top of the image, giving it a warm glow. It’s a popular filter for nature photography and is best used on dull photos to give them this old-school look and feel. 


9. X-Pro II

If you’re going for a touch of the dramatic, X-Pro II offers everything you need. It’s probably the most high-contrast filter in the selection. The filter adds really intense shadows and a vignette around the border of your photo.


10. Sierra

Sierra tones down images, giving them a tint of orange. It’s really great for portraits as it gets rid of hard shadows. It also generally takes away from bold colors, giving the whole image a much warmer glow.


11. Lo-fi

Lo-fi is one of the more dramatic filters, saturating anything and everything with an extra punch of color, intensifying highlights and shadows. It’s not the greatest for skin tones, as it gives off an orange glow as you can see in the picture. But all the other colors are extra saturated, making it an ideal for a more 90s feel.


A side by side comparison of these filters really gives you a sense of the kind of adjustments that you can further manipulate. Remember, that with every filter, you can lessen the intensity to soften some of the more dramatic color and hue changes.

What Instagram filters do you mainly use? Let us know in the comments section below.

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