The Best Instagram Filters in Photography Apps

Not all Instagram filters are created equally.

And if you want to stand out and create a killer Instagram aesthetic, you’ll need to  venture further than the 25 Instagram filters in the app, and find other ways to edit your photos.

Thankfully, there are tons of photo editing apps and filters to choose from, but picking  the right filters for your Instagram photos and overall aesthetic can be pretty overwhelming.

Not to worry! That’s why we’re rounding up some of the best Instagram filters in photography apps to help you take your photos to the next level:

instagram filters

10 of the Best Instagram Filters in Photography Apps

As we’ve said before, building a consistent and cohesive Instagram aesthetic is super important if you want to attract more followers and engagement!

To help you do that, here are a few of the most popular Instagram filters found in photography apps to help you achieve a beautiful aesthetic and upgrade your Instagram marketing strategy:

#1: VSCO’s A6 For a Minimalist and Modern Feed

If you’re looking to level-up your Instagram photos, often with just one or two taps, you might want to check out the VSCO app. It has lots of free filters to choose from, and even curated preset packs of complementary filters making it a cinch to edit your photos and create a beautiful Instagram feed.

A fashion blogger favorite, A6 is the perfect Instagram filter to help you create a minimalist and modern aesthetic. The A6 filter, part of VSCO’s analog series, includes beautiful natural tones, subtle color shifts, and slight fading.

Inspired by classic analog photography film, using this as an  Instagram filter can help you achieve an understated, yet vibrant look:

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VSCO’s Analog Series is great for Instagrammers looking to elevate their photos, without completely changing the image.

Cost: Free, download here for iOS or Android

#2: VSCO’s S2 For a Bright + Clean Aesthetic

Another blogger favorite, VSCO’s S2 will give your photos a bright and clean look if you use it as an Instagram filter. It keeps things light and works especially well at bringing out the whites in your photos.

Popular Instagram blogger Jacey Duprie is also a fan of the S2 filter, as she reveals in her photo editing tutorial. Using S2 as an Instagram filter gives her feed a classic, minimal look that works well for her everyday, lifestyle photos:

The S2 filter is extremely versatile and can be tweaked to work with many different types of photos. If you’re looking to keep things simple, this is definitely the filter for you!

Cost: 99 cents

Note: The S Series: Bright + Clean pack is also included in the Bundle pack, which offers an additional 38 filters to the 10 provided filters for only $5.99.

#3: VSCO’s M5 To Create a Moody and Warm Aesthetic

VSCO’s M5 filter, part of the Subtle Fade Series does just that. If you use it as an Instagram filter, the vintage-hues tone down harsh colors (perfect for bright blue skies) and will give your photos a classic and moody vibe:

Instagram Filters

If you want to achieve that natural, vintage-look without losing the natural tones in your image, try using the VSCO M-Series as your Instagram filters for your feed images. The desaturated filters will work wonders on your photos!  

Cost: 99 cents

#4: VSCO’s HB2 for a Cool, Bold Look

You can’t write a roundup of VSCO Instagram filters without including HB2. Although this filter has flooded Instagram feeds for years, it  still remains a tried and true favorite.

The popular Instagram filter is part of the HYPEBEAST x VSCO collaboration; a partnership “between two brands committed to pushing things forward”.

If you’re looking to give your photos and bold and modern feel, look no further than the classic HB2 filter. This filter cuts out warm tones and gives your photos a cool undertone.

Cost: Free

#5: VSCO J5 for a Simple, Elevated Aesthetic

A newly popular filter to hit Instagram is VSCO’s J5 filter, part of the Minimalist Collection. If you use it as an  Instagram filter for your feed, it gives your photos a truly elevated look, by bumping up the contrast and toning down the brightness and temperature.

VSCO’s J5 filter will give your Instagram feed a “refined” feel, adding contrast, depth, and a cool tone to your photos.

Cost: 99 cents

#6: VSCO’s AV8 for a Retro and Filmy Aesthetic

Vintage filters and retro photo apps have been seriously trending this year. So it’s no surprise that VSCO’s AV8 continues to gain popularity, especially among younger Instagrammers.

Blogger Andi Fitzgerald recently revealed on Instagram Stories that she uses AV8 filter to achieve whimsical, film-inspired feed:

Instagram Filters Afterlight

AV8 is a part of the Low-Contrast Series released last year. VSCO suggests using the filters for still-life scenes, portraits and urban settings to give your photos a beautiful, gently muted look.

Cost: 99 cents

#7: Afterlight’s Russ Filter For a Moody, Faded Look

Photo editing app Afterlight teamed up with photographer Kevin Russ, to design the Russ filter. It perfectly gives your photos a neutral, faded look.

Eat and Treats food blogger Hans Danials shared in a blog post, that he uses the Russ filter to create his moody, muted Instagram aesthetic:

Instagram Filters

If you’re looking for a low contrast filter for editing your photos, look no further. This filter works well on all types of photos and will help you easily maintain a consistent and cohesive moody aesthetic on your Instagram feed.  

Cost: Free

#9: A Color Story’s Wool for a Warm, Autumn Aesthetic

Photo editing tool, A Color Story teamed up with Courtney Halverson (@prettylittlefawn) to create a pack of Instagram filters perfectly fit for the fall season. The filters are packed with warm tones and a gentle contrast of reds and yellows:

Instagram Filters

However, the pack isn’t just limited to fall photos. According to A Beautiful Mess, the collection was named after different clothing textiles as it was inspired by classic, understated fashion photography.

This filter pack is a personal favorite of Taylor from Later‘s too, and makes it easy to mix and match a few filters together on your Instagram feed for a seamless aesthetic:

Cost: Free, or $2.99 for the filter pack 

#9: A Color Story’s Pacific Filter For a Bright and Bold Look

Designed by the talented SoCal photographer Arielle Vey, A Color Story’s Weekend filter set helps you achieve her signature bright and bold look across your Instagram feed!

Instagram Filters

The filter works best for the types of images Arielle’s  best known for, including sunsets, florals, water, and everyday shots, so you can “feel a little piece of California in each filter”.

Cost: $2.99

#10: Tezza App’s Glow Filter For a Crisp, Summer Look

This year, Instagram influencer Tezza created an exclusive mobile app, featuring her famous presets. So if you’re hoping to achieve her signature aesthetic, look no further!

Instagram Filters

Among her beautiful presets is the Glow filter that will give your photos a sunkissed, summer look:

Tezza App Instagram Filters

Like its name, the Instagram filter makes whites bright and applies a warm subtle glow to your photo. If you’re trying to create a Californian, beachy aesthetic, this is definitely the Instagram filter (and app) for you!

Cost: $1.99/month or $19.99/year

Give Your Photo Editing Strategy an Upgrade By Using Lightroom Presets

Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, Lightroom is a great tool to use if you want to create that flawless, cohesive Instagram aesthetic.

Lightroom presets are one-click photo editing tools that act just like an Instagram filter, that can dramatically speed up your workflow and give your Instagram photos a much more professional look.

Lightroom “presets” are like photo filters, except you have more control over them and can adjust pretty much anything in your photo, down to changing the saturation or hue of certain colors in your image.

And since many presets are offered in “packs” or collections, you can choose from a selection of complementary filters for each of your photos while still maintaining a cohesive look on your Instagram feed.

While there are tons of presets to choose from, we’ve rounded up a few popular Lightroom presets that will help you create a more cohesive Instagram aesthetic and upgrade your Instagram marketing strategy! Check out the full blog post here.

Need some extra help in creating a great Instagram aesthetic? Watch this video to learn how you can elevate your aesthetic on both your feed and stories: 

How to Create Your Own Instagram Filters on Photography Apps

Did you know you can create your own Instagram filters?

By saving a set of editing rules, you can develop your own unique filters to give your feed a stand-out and personalized look!

Ready to get started? Here’s how to do it:

How to Create Your Own Instagram Filters in the VSCO App

Creating your own VSCO Instagram filters is easy! With “recipes”, you can quickly recreate your favorite look over and over again.

First, create your Instagram filter by making edits to your photo in the VSCO editor. Try playing with the brightness, temperature, grain, contrast and any other adjustments to find your perfect “recipe”.

Once you’re happy with your photo, tap on the recipe button and select + to save your current edits:

Instagram filters

Once you’ve created your Instagram filter, you can find it anytime on the recipe dock:

Instagram Filters

That’s it! Now you can use your personalized Instagram filters on your feed to create an Instagram aesthetic that’s uniquely you.

How to Create Your Own Instagram Filters in the Lightroom Mobile App

Creating your own Instagram filters, or presets, in Adobe Lightroom Mobile is fairly similar.

First, begin by making edits to your photo. Lightroom has a ton of different adjustments making the options truly endless! Don’t be afraid to play with different settings to see how it affects your photo.

Once you’ve created your edit, select the 3 dots in the top right corner of your app. From the menu, select Create Preset:

Instagram Filters

Next, you’ll be taken to a screen where you can name your new preset. Make sure all your edits are selected (a blue checked box will appear next to each adjustment), then click the check mark in the top right corner of your screen to save.

Instagram Filters in Lightroom

Now when you edit your photos in Lightroom mobile, your newly saved Instagram filter will be saved in your Presets menu!

Why it’s Worth Looking Outside the App For Instagram Filters

Instagram’s in-app filters are a thing of the past. Today, the biggest brands and influencers are looking outside the app to give their photos and feed a more cohesive, refined, and professional look — and you should too!

While many Instagram filters in photography apps are free, some may have a small price tag. But, if you’re looking to create a cohesive Instagram aesthetic and feed,  spending time editing your photos in advance and maybe paying a small fee for the perfect filter is a worthwhile investment!

Plus, by editing your photos ahead of time (outside of the Instagram app) you can make sure everything looks great and fits together before hitting ‘post’!

And if you really want to perfect your feed, using a visual Instagram planner like Later can help you plan out the look of your Instagram feed after you’ve edited your photos. Just drag and drop your photos onto the visual planner, rearrange them to see how they’ll look in your Instagram feed, and then save to schedule them!

Create an Instagram Aesthetic: Instagram-Visual-Planner

Ready to get started? Start scheduling Instagram posts for free with Later, the #1 Instagram marketing platform!

Written By

Lexie Carbone

Lexie is a content marketer at Later. She’s helped dozens of brands build their social presence and take their content strategy to the next level. You can connect with her on Instagram @lexiecarbone.