7 Popular Instagram Filters And When To Use Them


Before Meta transformed Instagram into the fine business engagement tool it is nowadays, the well-known app was already using software engineering to achieve ravishing results.

These looks are what we briefly refer to as filters, and pretty much we all have experimented with them. Nevertheless, filters can't transform a “meh” photo into a fine piece of art. Just like with any other tool, good-quality inputs usually mean high-quality images for us to publish online.

Instagram comes with nearly 40 built-in filters for us to play with. Despite the expected basic level of anything that comes as a bundle, picking the best is not a straightforward task.

Similar to developing a raw file, applying a filter could change the whole mood of a photograph. Making it more attractive for the audience you are trying to communicate with. Such interest leads to engagement, which then increases likes and comments!

Today, we are diving into a handful of popular Instagram filters! And along the way, we'll share our humble opinion about when to use them as well as what we consider the best filters on Instagram.

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Kate Torline

1. Clarendon

Clarendon offers a smart filtering system for general portraiture. It detects where light is needed and procures to balance bright and dark areas for a smooth look. Additionally, Clarendon does a fantastic job at increasing vibrance and saturation via a cooling approach on the tints. About the mid-tones, which are often challenging to deal with, Clarendon uses a warm tinting technique. Combined, they achieve spectacular skin tones!

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Photo by Roberto Delgado Webb

2. Juno

For a more versatile filtering system, Juno is the way to go. It slightly works around contrast and saturation, intensifying warm tonalities like reds, oranges and yellows. Opposed to cool tones, warm colours offer a soothing style for your story to be told. Juno is popular among photographers working on cities, meaning from from scattered skylines to urban shots. Definitely a worthy of installing tool!

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Vince Fleming

3. Ludwig

This Instagram filter comes with an interesting name, which at the same time works as a wrapper for a cool story! Ludwig is an Instagram filter named after a German-American architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe who coined the phrase less is more. A popular maxim of the general visual arts.

Under the hood, Ludwig aims to reduce saturation and luminance for yellows, greens, cyans, blues, and magentas. The logic behind this call? Enhancing the presence of colour red's shadows and highlights. Also, Ludwig offers a bold black-and-white conversion!

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Tobias Keller

4. Lark

Lark puts light into the dark, and it offers a clever solution for various shooting conditions, especially low light! Consider using this filter if you find the need to recover some light from a dark shot. It achieves this result by increasing exposure, and decreasing saturation of reds, purples, and magentas while pulling up the blues and greens. And because it emphasises those tones, it's ideal for both landscapes and seascapes!

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5. Gingham

Recently, Gingham stood out among the favourite filters for Instagram users interested in portraiture photography. This filter delivers a vintage vibe by introducing a slight desaturation and a pinch from the haze. It's also designed to recover from the highlights by applying a bright vignette to the image. Due to such specific result of warm and retro vibes, it’s perfect for stylish portraits and product photography. It's also one of the best Instagram filters for selfies in our opinion.

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Kal Visuals

6. Lo-fi

Lo-fi is a praised Instagram filter known for its intense results. This filter is also well-versed in terms of back development, it has been around for many years and it’s still going strong. Lo-fi increases saturation while intensifying the shadows, a classic recipe with which one cannot go wrong. The result is a pretty dramatic photograph people won't miss! Lo-fi is just perfect for emulating the fashion and urban photography from the 90s.

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Lauren Ferstl

7. X-Pro II

Just like the legendary X-Pro II from Fujifilm, this filter offers the most dramatic filter on Instagram. It adds a strong vignette and it makes shadows very pronounced.

Curious about where this result comes from? It is based on a photo-developing technique called cross-processing. Popular among Lomography, this is a processing technique where photos are intentionally processed in a chemical solution for different types of film. The result, as expected, is funky!

As Lo-fi, this is one of the oldest Instagram filters still popular. However, you might want to avoid it if you are not into this type of result. This is one of the best Instagram filters for photos where you want a tomography effect though.

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Tim Mossholder

To learn more about the importance of Instagram and Instagram filters for photographers, check out the following links!

Further Reading On Instagram And Instagram Filters:

  1. 11 Reasons Why Every Photographer Needs Flickr Or Instagram
  2. 9 Tips To Finding The Best Photography Hashtags On Instagram
  3. 6 Steps To A More Enjoyable Instagram Experience
  4. The Best Instagram Filters In Photography Apps
  5. Lightroom Presets vs. Instagram Filters
  6. 5 Of The Best Photo Editing Apps You Need To Boost Your Instagram Feed

About Author

Federico has a decade of experience in documentary photography, and is a University Professor in photography and research methodology. He's a scientist studying the social uses of photography in contemporary culture who writes about photography and develops documentary projects. Other activities Federico is involved in photography are curation, critique, education, mentoring, outreach and reviews. Get to know him better here.

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