While Instagram’s native tools are fine for basic image adjustment and giving them that cool, retro feel, they are somewhat limited. There are many third party apps for Instagram out there, which you can download for free or very cheap, that will help take your photos to the next level. There also some great tools to help you manage your Instagram account more efficiently.
None of these apps are one-stop solutions. This is mostly because Instagram has placed limitations on what these third party tools are able to do. Still, with a combination of techniques, you can get a lot more from your Instagram account with just a few great apps. Let’s look at some of the most popular.
- One that we really like is PhotoGrid. Some of the things that you can do with this app are create multi-image collages, overlay text, add a border or frame, and use stickers. What’s more, their re-touching tools are more extensive than those found on the Instagram app.
- Another favorite among shutterbugs is Snapseed by Google. It has many of the same features as Instagram’s tools, but with more power and versatility. Use the “Tune Image” set to clean up the saturation, tweak the contrast, and adjust the white balance. Then you can add one (or more) of the pretty filters to make it a work of art.
- To really take it up a notch, finish your editing with VSCO Cam. This app has an amazing choice of preset filter options that make your photos look professional quality to add some final magic.
These and other such programs also allow you to upload the newly enhanced photo directly to Instagram without having to leave the app. Some will also let you share on various social media platforms.
Account Management Tools
- Primary has many great features that you don’t find on the native Instagram platform. One of the features that we like the most is “Lists.” With this feature you can manage curate personalized feeds filtered by either people (coworkers, friends, family, etc.), or hashtags (#igerslondon, #foodporn, #yankeesfan). Primary also allows you to manage multiple accounts, pinch to zoom, hide unwanted photos, and sync with your iCloud account to provide a backup of all your photos. All things that Instagram does not do.
- By far, our favorite Instagram management tool is Iconosquare (formally Statigram). This is actually a web-only app, and hands down the best third party Instagram app for managing your Instagram account from your desktop or laptop. This program gives you tons of stats, and allows you to track comments, send personal messages, and enter contests, among other things. Under the “Promote” tab, you’ll find all kinds of buttons, widgets, and other promotional tools, all pre-customized for your account. Just copy and paste to your website, blog, or Facebook Page.
- We also really like JustUnfollow, which is available both as a web app and for your smart device. One of the best features here is that the app shows you who has unfollowed you recently, so you can unfollow them back, if you like. Why would you want to do this? Well, some social indicators use the “followers to following ratio” to determine your account’s influence. And while there are probably big name accounts that you’ll follow anyway, you should probably delete 90% of those that don’t follow you back.
Remember, the photos are the number one thing, but it's sure nice if someone's looking at them and interacting with your account. If you need to give your numbers a little boost, check out our list of Top Instagram Providers to see who recommend to help you kickstart your account.
These are just a few of the most popular apps for Instagram today, but of course there are many more available, and certainly many more to come. It’s probably best to just choose two or three, and don’t get too carried away. Remember, the original spirit of Instagram was that it was supposed to be “instant,” just using your smartphone’s camera and Instagram’s own tools. But let’s face it – these apps make Instagram even more fun.
What are some of your favorite Instagram apps? Leave a comment and let us know!
Date: January 8, 2015 / Categories: Apps, Uncategorized, / Author: Ian