José Mestre

Notes

Exploring Instagram Filters

 

Instagram’s one tap solution to photo editing has always interested me. You can explore many different looks rapidly, figure out a direction, and replicate the look of a Holga camera or other famous films effortlessly. To understand how Instagram’s filters work I took a white square, ran it through all the filters, and applied them to a couple photographs. This was an exercise to reverse engineer the filters, so I could potentially recreate any look while editing.

Here are the filters at a glance. Notice how the white changes. The pastel colors are unexpected, but you’ll see how they come into play later. Seeing them this way shows how they’ll change a photo when applied.

Now that we've explored how a white square looks, let's apply these filters to an actual photograph. I took one that has primary-ish colors. This was shot on an iPhone 7.

One more set. I wanted see how nature shot looked. Also shot on an iPhone 7.

Pretty interesting, eh? Let's see some side by side comparisons with the white square. This view enables you to connect the dots a bit more easily, so you can create the look yourself. The important part here is that you figure it out instead of relying on me to tell you what to do or using a set of numbers to work for you. What you learn on your own can be applied to future work.

Normal

Clarendon

Gingham

Moon

Lark

Reyes

Juno

Slumber

Crema

Ludwig

Aden

Perpetua

Amaro

Mayfair

Rise

Hudson

Valencia

X-Pro II

Sierra

Willow

Lo-Fi

Inkwell

Hefe

Nashville

Thanks for reading! I hope that was helpful in understanding how filters are applied. Contact me with any questions, comments or if you’d like to see more posts like this in the future.