3 free editing apps for iOS

Probably the most popular photo-editing app is VSCO Cam. It works as a camera app, with the ability to specify focus and aperture settings. It also has a large choice of films and its own news feed.
Visual Supply COmpany, the creator of the VSCO Cam, is famous for its emulations of classic and modern analogue films. At first their presets were used in Adobe Lightroom, but then they took over the mobile market and quickly became very popular among mobile photographers. The app also offers a large amount of adjustment tools that many find the most useful of all.
Oggl is an app by the authors of Hipstamatic, one of the most popular camera app of all time. it has the same set of lenses and films as its famous ancestor, but it allows changing the filter after you took a picture. It makes the app very flexible and open for experiments with the endless combinations of films. The basic kit of free filters may be amplified with additional purchase.
The app that occupies a place almost in every “must-have” list of Instagram-related editors. Snapsees offers a set of standard editing tools as well as some unique features including vintage and grunge filters, and, the most important, Selective Adjustment tool that allows editing of a specified area of the image. Its main advantage is the simplicity of usage. Interface is highly intuitive, most of the operations can be carried out with a simple slide of finger.


Efficient 5-minute-per-day Instagram marketing

It is now widely known that Instagram is a great platform for direct marketing, especially for a visual product. Just like many other media Instagram encourages users to mark their own fields of interest. For example a person posting the photos of the brand clothes they buy is a target for fashion blogs. Hashtags are becoming the main way to find the most convenient audience.
When you promote a product it’s almost impossible to go viral while being limited to one and only social medium. Most of business users prefer cross-platform promotion, which implies a very time-consuming activity. So the question is, how you can minimize the time you spend while maximizing the outcome of your actions?
Here’s 5-minute-per-day plan for you.
It’s presumed that you have an established account with a defined niche. The first two minutes you’ll have to spend on creating the content. In most cases, you should only post one picture per day, and it must evoke a certain feeling in your followers. For a travel agency a picture of sunset over the ocean will do, for a recording studio – a video of a singer in quiet room. Ideally the pictures should be taken by you, but you can repost other’s content, only remember to always give credits to the author.
From time to time the CTA (call to action) should be put in the caption. But not too often, not more than once a week.
The second step is to build your following. The other 3 minutes must be spent on hashtag search. Relevant hashtag will let you explore the users of the same niche. You can also find influential bloggers from your industry and copy their followers as they are likely to follow back. 30-50 users per day is enough, you don’t want to seem indiscriminate.
Remember, loyal and active following cannot be built in a few days. It takes months, or even years, but in course of time your community will start to extend itself, and all you’ll have to do is to create great content. Just remember to be consistent and follow the chosen style.

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The dos and don’ts of Instagram

Do use your imagination. Regular everyday things can look amazing when portrayed outside of the box.
Don’t take pictures only from the eye level. Everything can be pictured from different angles and points of view, so if some specific perspective is not your peculiarity – try to differ your photo style.
Do put your URL in the bio. It doesn’t matter if it links to a blog, or a site, or a youtube channel – this link is the only clickable one available, so make sure you benefit from it properly.
Don’t leave comments only asking people to follow you. Neither should you comment with hastags like #tagsforlikes or #commentforcomment, it will bring you nothing but attention seekers and spammers.
Do use filters. Although #normal is said to be the most popular filter hashtag, studies show that such photos do not get as much likes as filtered ones.
Don’t overuse filters. Just as make up, they do good when used moderately, too much editing feels like you’re trying to hide some defects.
Do post pictures of babies. People go crazy about little ones, no matter if they are human, ostrich or otter. Although be careful with the photos of (even your) kids with (even slight) nudity, they may violate Instagram’s restrictions.
Don’t post solely promotional pictures. Even if you run a brand’s account, your followers want to see more personal content, “behind the scenes” and “how it’s made”, not just your price list.

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Basics of Instagram: how to jump in to the flow and not sink in it?

Chapter I. How much is too much?

Of course you won’t find an all-in-one answers to this question here, but what was defined long ago is that the average number of posts should be 2-3 per day. This rate provides a sufficient amount of attention every post gets without overflowing the feed or being inactive.

Another question is – which days ensure the highest engagement. Different studies claim it to be Sunday and, surprisingly, Monday. Thursday is characterized by the highest frequency of posting, which can be explained by a very popular tag linked to this specific day – #throwbackthursday or simply #tbt, when thousands of users post their old photos.

Of course, Instagram as any other major social media is available 24/7, and considering different time zones and target audiences the perfect posting time may vary. You can learn which time produces engagement the most in your specific case with a statistic service, e.g. Iconosqure.

The last question of this chapter is “How long will it take them to response?”. Recent analytics study says that the majority of actions are made very quickly, almost 50% of comments are received in the first six hours, with additional 25% appearing in the next 48. Nonetheless this data does not apply to the posts with high performance, the most viral posts get 50% of interaction in more than 12 hours. This is another proof that long-lasting engagement is a quality of the most popular accounts.

Chapter II. What will get you the most?

Knowing the analytics is essential on Instagram. Regardless of the niche and the number of your followers, there are global trends that affect very user. You didn’t think that the only key to success here is half-naked body, did you? There are things much less apprehensible, although very influential, that can only be revealed by deep research.

Lightness. Light is obviously the essential aspect of the photography, and the statistical studies prove this: images with higher lightness get 24% more engagement than the underexposed ones. A simple trick here is to use Lux option as it allows adjusting both lightness and contrast.

Background. Instagram is now a home platform for many talented artists and artisans promoting their creations, but either you post and image of your handcrafted glass flower or a #selfie – pay attention to the background. Pictures with a plain background tend to get about 20% more likes.

Saturation. It’s very appealing, especially for a new user, to intensify a dominant color of a photo, but be careful and keep in mind that even a little oversaturation may result in quite a notable engagement loss: vibrant colors bring 18% less interactions.

Color. Some say all the colors are great, but they’re not equally perceived by followers. Blue turned out to be the most engaging, it attracts more views, likes and comments than even red which is considered very eye-catching. When it comes to Instagram, blue is the new black, remember this next time you take a photo.

Filters. The possibility to improve an image with a single tap was always an Instagram’s bargaining chip. Simply adding a bit of warmth or light can improve the photo significantly. But just as the colors, not all the filters are equally attractive. Ludwig and Mayfair, X-Pro II and Lo-Fi are among the most popular and they bring 10-22% more likes and comments than the other ones. Indicating the used filter in hashtags can be a good idea, although the tag #normal – just the hashtag, not such photos – is the most viral.

Chapter III. What gets you viral?

As it is a social medium, Instagram is all about sharing, interacting and promoting. No matter how good you are, without any visible activity or a portion of fame you’re not going anywhere. To get appreciated you have to be noticed first. Let’s take a look at what can make you stand out from the crowd.

Hashtags. This tool is the one and only way to explore Instagram with its own means. Enough has been said about this vital aspect of social media life, so there’s only one advise: always use them, but do it thoughtfully. Studies show that 11 is the best number of hashtags, while many users tend to think it’s 5, so try to fit in this frame. And don’t forget to keep it relevant.

Mentions. You can mention a user by posting a message containing their @username. The mentioned user gets a notification leading to the post. The engagement increases by 56% on average when a user is mentioned in the caption. As always on Instagram, overdoing it won’t do well. Spamming mentions may result in account ban, so be careful.

Location. Geo tagging can be very efficient in increasing the engagement. Many photographers who work in popular cities/locations drive enormous amount of followers from this feature. Also, a number of third-party applications allow to find users based on their location. Studies show that tagging a location results in almost 80% engagement growth.

Outside world. Don’t forget that you are not limited by Instagram’s built-in features. If you have a site or blog, or other social media pages, or just a bunch of real-life friends – use them! Cross-promotion is one of the best tools to go viral on Instagram. Online friends following your Instagram can bring more traffic to your site and vice-versa. You can even print stickers with your photos and  username and post them on real walls (no vandalism, fellow instagramers, keep it decent).

As a summary one thing must be said. Instagram gives many ways to generate content and make it viral, it’s only up to you what to chose. But always remember: on Instagram, less is often more, so no matter what you do, it must be thoughtful, consistent and not excessive.

Instagram filter and how they work

At first, Instagram filters were one of the components of its success. A simple kit of presets was so neatly combined that it conquered millions of users’ eyes and minds. All the filters are perceived differently, all of them have their own fans. Some are used more, some – less frequently, we’ll examine this matter later.

As it was already said, the filters are just presets, applying some specific settings to the photo. Let’s take a look at what aspects every filter alters or what effect it produces.


  • Normal – No filter applied
  • Lark – Desaturates reds and increases blues and greens
  • Reyes – Adds a dusty, vintage look
  • Juno – Tints cool tones green, amps up warm tones, makes whites glow
  • Slumber – Desaturates the image, adds a haze, emphasis on blacks and blues
  • Crema – Adds a creamy look that both warms and cools the image
  • Ludwig – Slight desaturation that also enhances light
  • Aden – Adds a blue/green natural look
  • Perpetua – Adds a pastel look
  • Amaro – Adds light to an image, with the focus on the centre
  • Mayfair – Adds a warm pink tone, subtle vignetting, brightens at the center
  • Rise – Adds a glow to the image
  • Hudson – Adds an “icy” illusion, heightened shadows, cool tint, dodged center
  • Valencia – Fades the image, increases exposure, warms the colors
  • X-Pro II – Increases colour vibrance with a golden tint, high contrast, slight vignette
  • Sierra – Adds a faded, softer look
  • Willow – Adds a monochromatic look, subtle purple tones, translucent white border
  • Lo-Fi – Enriches color, adds strong shadows, warms the the temperature
  • Earlybird – Gives an older look with a sepia tint and warm temperature
  • Brannan – Increases contrast and exposure and adds a metallic tint
  • Inkwell – Goes straight to black and white
  • Hefe – High contrast and saturation, similar to Lo-Fi
  • Nashville – Warms temperature, lowers contrast, increases exposure, adds pink tint
  • Sutro – Burns edges, increases highlights/shadows, focus on purple and brown
  • Toaster – Ages the image by “burning” the centre and adds a dramatic vignette
  • Walden – Increases exposure and adds a yellow tint
  • 1977 – Increases exposure, adds a red tint and faded look
  • Kelvin – Increases saturation and temperature to give it a radiant glow

And the last thing, which is more of an overall setting than a filter, but it’s still one of the most helpful things to be found in the app:

  • Lux – Transforms photos that are underexposed or lack contrast