It was recently revealed that humans now have an attention span shorter than that of a goldfish. We’ve turned into image zombies, flicking from cat gif to 'célfies' to pictures of our best friend’s lunch, constantly hungry for visual media to satiate our appetites.
We all know that images are important for increasing engagement, but with such a barrage of images to come up against every single day, it’s very easy to get lost amongst all the noise. So how can you make yourself and your business stand out?
The answer is simple: make better images.
“BUT I DON’T HAVE TIME!”, I hear you cry. Fear not. You don’t need your own dedicated team following you around for that ‘candid’ moment to post on Instagram, a la Beyonce – I’m here to share with you my favourite photography apps for creating effortless images ready to share in a snap.
Think your regular phone camera can take great photos? THINK AGAIN. Switch to VSCO and marvel at the creative control at your fingertips. One of my favourite things about VSCO is the ability to set the exposure and focal point separately, enabling you to gain real creative control over that image. Ain’t no missing grandma out of the birthday cake shot on account of bad exposure.
There’s also a wealth of editing options available, such as adjusting exposure, contrast, saturation and sharpening, plus a whole heap of free artistic filters. Think of it like Instagram, on steroids.
From here there’s the option to open the image in whichever social application you choose, and share away!
Another superb editing tool, Snapseed is like a miniature version of Photoshop in your pocket. A little clunky to navigate at first, but as soon as you get the hang of the controls, it’s magical. Fine-tune your images with the basic tools such as exposure and sharpening, or pick out details with the dodge and burn tools.
One of my favourite Instagram accounts of all time, that of jewellery maker Moxham, uses just an iPhone and this app of wonder and wizardry to create a beautiful monochromatic washed-out look with just hints of colour. A little tinkering in post production makes all the difference. Create your own signature look to coordinate your Instagram photos into a homepage of curated joy.
The go-to editing app on all the monkey’s phones has to be Afterlight. Unlike Snapseed, this baby doesn’t come for free (it will set you back 79p), but I personally find it much more intuitive and easier to navigate for editing pictures in a hurry.
As well as your basic editing options and filters, there’s a whole host of features at your disposal, such as lens flares, frames and film filters, to give your digitally enhanced images that vintage polaroid feel. Unleash the inner hipster douchebag in you!
You know that feeling when you want to take a selfie with your BFF in your feather headdresses at Glastonbury festival because your glitter face paint is totes on fleek, but you can’t quite arrange your hands in a suitable fashion to push the button without getting an unwanted limb in shot? GoCam feels your pain.
If a little pointless, this clever app is able to snap a photo on command – raise your palm to the camera to indicate you want to take an image, ball your hand into a fist to specify how long you want the countdown to be, and release to begin a timer to selfie-o’clock. Granted, your regular phone camera has a timer function, but there’s something a bit Star Trek about commanding technology with your palms which soothes me.
Not strictly a photo app per se, this nifty video editing tool is made by Instagram, and perhaps most importantly highlights the recent shift of social towards a more video-orientated market. Create a short video (or string of videos), and Hyperlapse will smush it into a sped-up, auto-stabilised nugget ripe for sharing on Instagram.
Flip it around for ‘Selfielapse’… although I'm not really sure what else you would do with it other than just make weird faces to camera to send via Snapchat.
Whilst we’re on the subject of apps made by Instagram, they’ve also recently just unveiled Layout, a beautifully designed and ridiculously simple to use app for stitching photos together. Once a fan of PicStitch, I feel I will soon be ditching it for this intuitive piece of wizardry – simply select which photos you want to merge into one and choose a layout, et voila.
Swap images around by dragging and dropping, and adjust the dimensions of each ‘cell’ by moving the bars between each photo. Flip the images horizontally or vertically and when you’re happy, either save it to your Camera Roll or upload straight to Instagram. Simples.
A Beautiful Mess
For when a single photo can’t quite cut it, embellish the shit out of it with this adorable app jam-packed with hand drawn squiggles, borders, phrases and emojis. Choose a photo (or create a collage) and layer it up with filters, and choose from a range of hand drawn cute phrases or add your own text on top, in a range of colours.
Of course, all this giddy fun doesn't come for free – they’ve got to keep their saccharine blogging empire going somehow – and this app will set you back 79p on the App Store. A small price to pay for such frivolous and adorable fun.
This little slice of fun is much like VSCO Cam – choose to shoot in app or edit a photo from your library, then apply super-hipster filters from a range of ‘packs’ including Lomo, Film, Vintage and B&W. Despite its remarkable similarity to VSCO, Pomelo comes into its own for its seamless editing ability – VSCO can be a bit clunky and confusing – and effortless sharing to social.
Of course, all this make-pretty is a bit pointless if you don’t know what size or aspect your image needs to be for social. This is where NLM steps up to help! Check out our social image cheat sheet for all your image resizing needs.
Have we missed any of your favourite apps off the list? Let us know!