June 9, 2014

I am so freakin’ happy about the new Instagram editing tools they released last week! Typically, I used to use my camera settings and editing tools to enhance my photos before uploading them to Instagram. This meant extra steps in the editing process. But now… I can do it ALL in Instagram!

Oh my gosh. This is seriously a big improvement for Instagram users. And the best part about it for me (as a die-hard Android user) is that the new update was rolled out to both iOS and Android users last week. So if you use either of these devices you’re going to see a new photo editing screen when you upload images. If you use a Windows phone… sorry. I don’t know when you’ll get it.

And since the rollout has been pushed out to everyone, you’re going to notice your Instagram upload screen looks different.

Now, when you upload an image, you’re going to see a screen that looks something like this:

You still have the filters along the bottom but there are three new buttons above them to allow for further editing.

The first button, the little magic wand is selected (and blue). This is your filters button which displays all the same filters you’re accustomed to seeing. To select the filter you want to use, tap on it and a blue line will appear underneath to indicate it is selected.

To edit the filter settings – yes, you can do this now! – tap on the selected filter again. This opens up a new screen which allows you to edit the amount of filter you want to add. I know, so cool!

The slider will be at the full 100% position. Drag it to the left to reduce the intensity of the filter to your desired level. There’s also a small square to the right of the slider – this is the frame option. To turn on the frame feature, tap the square. To remove it, tap it again.

Tap the check mark when you like your selection or tap the X to cancel the options and return to the filter screen to choose a different filter option.

So the excitement of the filters would normally be enough to get me excited. But it doesn’t stop there! There’s still so much more to these new tools!

If you go back to the editing screen where you selected your filter, you can still edit the individual aspects of the photo.

If you click on the sun burst icon in the middle of the tool bar, this will edit your contrast. Again, you can use the slider to adjust the level and tap the check mark to select your edit.

Then, for the really fun stuff, tap on the wrench icon from the tool bar. Here’s where the editing gets serious! You’ll get a scroll bar along the bottom with all of these options.

Tap on each item to select and edit the respective aspect of your photo. Again, each function uses a slider to easily adjust the settings on your image. You can see the changes immediately to determine the best settings. Tap the check mark to save changes or the X to back out without accepting the edits. You can edit all or none of these aspects for every image you upload.

If you’re used to doing photo editing, most of these functions will be easy to adapt to and you’ll know which ones to use without much concern.

If you’re not used to photo editing, start playing around with each function when you have time to get better accustomed with them. But here’s a quick summary for you.

  • The brightness affects essentially the exposure, lightening or darkening your image. Increase the brightness if your image was taken in the dark or in shadows.
  • The warmth affects the color tone. More warmth adds more yellow to your image, cooling the image adds more blue.
  • Saturation is a good one to play with on Instagram as this really pulls out the depth of the colors in your images. This helps you get the Lo-Fi effect without the filter  I almost always enhance saturation levels on my photos.
  • Highlights will allow you to brighten or darken the lighter areas of your image. Conversely, the shadows button will do the same for the darker areas. Again, use these tools if your image is over or under exposed or taken in extreme lighting situations.
  • The vignette adds a darker, deeper shadow around the edge of your image. If the filter you chose doesn’t include the vignette function, now you can add one!
  • The tilt shift is the same tear drop icon you’re used to seeing which adds the “blur” function to your image, either radially or linearly.

I have to admit that I usually edit the image with the photo editing tools (wrench tools) first to get all of my colors right. Then I go back and select the filter. This has always been my process before the new tools were added – I just did the photo edits on my camera/device before uploading to Instagram. But now, after selecting the filter, you can go back and tweak the other edits to ensure you get the best image composition.

So, yes, you can go back and forth and 

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