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Why Instagram's Update with Five New Filters Gives Me Hope

Why Instagram's Update with Five New Filters Gives Me Hope

For an app that brings the hipster out in everyone, Instagram showed it can really grow up today. Five new filter updates almost wouldn't matter. So what? We have a million other apps and editing tools and already sometimes too many Instagram filters. But today's update brings something that Instagram has lacked from Day One: subtlety.

Along with Instagram's introduction came amateur picture-takers with hundreds of heavily filtered, cross-processed-beyond-recognition images. Part of it is that they liked it that way because everyone with little experience in picture-taking loves contrast. But the other part of this is that it may have been necessary because when you have a photo with no depth or detail, you're almost always stuck increasing contrast to overcome the shortcomings of the file itself. But today's camera phones -- and even Instagram gave a nod to this fact in their blog post about the new release -- are better than ever; they can handle some scrutiny. So, thankfully, Instagram's newest filters (Slumber, Crema, Ludwig, Aden and Perpetua) err on the wonderful, beautiful, mysterious, and much welcomed side of subtlety.

The new update (v6.4.0) also does away with the hot air balloon -- yes, that old thing -- to preview a filter's effect in favor of a gorgeous blurred preview of your image under each filter's thumbnail -- and it really does a brilliant job of displaying the "mood" of the end result before you even click. Furthermore, you can finally hold and drag filters to re-arrange them according to your preferences. Want to hide filters you never use? You can do that, now, too!

For those interested in the video and/or social media aspects of Instagram, you can also now upload slow-motion videos; and perhaps best of all, comments now update in real time without the need for a refresh. Finally, new tools within the "Adjust"/tilt adjustment tool give you access to vertical and horizontal perspective adjustments.

Apart from the fact that we'll all have a more fluid experience with an app a lot of us use daily, Instagram's update finally raises expectations along with possibilities. With luck, we'll all grow up along with them. Soft images of a cloud-smothered Golden Gate Bridge will stay subtle without needing to introduce the harsh and rather ridiculous reds or "Toast." Instead, "Aden" can bring out a soft, slightly vintage feel we can all appreciate. Time will tell, however, if that will be enough to steal attention away on people's Instagram feeds. But this is a start that certainly gives me a lot of hope.

Adam Ottke's picture

Adam works mostly across California on all things photography and art. He can be found at the best local coffee shops, at home scanning film in for hours, or out and about shooting his next assignment. Want to talk about gear? Want to work on a project together? Have an idea for Fstoppers? Get in touch! And, check out FilmObjektiv.org film rentals!

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1 Comment

I thought the overall update with editing tools was the biggest step they could have made. It gave people the option to edit rather than just plaster a filter on their photos. I have used it completely for a few photos yet I still find myself using VSCO for the heavy lifting and custom controls in comparison. This is a great little start and feels a lot more like the VSCO app or maybe Litely. Softer and less gaudy filters that can get some of the more amateur photographers into the mindset heavy edits don't always look the best or catch the eyes of viewers. Great write up man and glad we got this convo started here quickly today. Cant wait to get into playing with these a little more. The future is bright for these guys and I am excited to see what is next!