My 6 Favorite Instagram Tools

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It's no surprise that Instagram is the darling of the creative world when it comes to social media platforms. It's instinctually creative by nature, it's fun to use, and the community there feels like the culture of old blogs.

Instagram has come a long way in its development as a social media platform and it continues to grow. It's become increasingly dynamic with live video, Stories, direct messaging, advertising, longer video in the feed, and more is on the way. As the platform grows so does its community, and with it reach for your business.

Below are my the tools I use in my Instagram planning. Keep in mind, I love getting to know different apps and learning to use different technology - s0 by no means am I advocating that you use every single one of these apps and resources. Take what you need and leave the rest. I think they're all great, and each offer something valuable to building your content strategy.

Grab your Social Media Checklist here!

I use a lot of stock photos on my professional IG feed to keep it easy for me, but for my personal photo I do love to edit my pics. I also don't do a lot to my photos other than brighten them and add a little bit of a filter here and there. But I use everything below, and I love having the options to play and create with images.

Scheduling & Planning

Planoly:  Is a visual scheduler that has saved me so much time, and really allowed me to recreate a whole new look for my new business Instagram account. It was created by wife and husband team, Brandy and Andy Pham. The tool grew out of Brandy's intricate (and as they have both said, complicated) hacked Instagram scheduling for her jewelry business. They turned Brandy's process into a powerful scheduler, and it is amazing!

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Planoly's phone app is a powerful visual tool to help you line up your images, giving you a lot of power in your hands. The feature that initially sold me on Planoly is the ability to physically move your images around until the grid looks good. The app also offers the feature of splicing images (see above) so you can create a fun and exciting visual experience if you feel like it. Their newest feature is pretty exciting too, the ability to plan out and schedule your Stories. Planoly has revolutionized my Instagram strategy in a big way. I can't say enough about this tool! Website // iOS app // Android

Editing

Editing is your friend. You don't need to get crazy with tons of filters. Less is more. Too many filters will obfuscate your image, and heavy filters are played and dated. But there are so many powerful apps now that help you brighten and sharpen your images, bringing out the best of your photos and the content in it. Here are the ones I use:

PicTapGo - Emily Quinton of MakeLight uses this app, which is how I discovered it, and if you want to see drool worthy photos her's are it. What I love about this app is it's easy and very straightforward. It's worth the $2 bucks. If all the shapes and doo-dads confuse you (like me) on other editing apps this one is a breeze and makes your pics look great. I'm a fan of the Auto-Contrast, Cool It Down, and Slow Burn...and their filters are fun too. $1.99 website // iOS

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VSCO - I use specific filters in VSCO and that's all I use it for. I know others love this app, and I understand why but I find their editing tools confusing. I can never remember which is what. But I do absolutely love their filters, and tend to use them but decrease their strength a lot. Free (in-app purchases) Website // iOS // Android

Instagram - Instagram has come a long way with their tools, and that's true with their editing tools. So if you want to keep it simple, and don't want to learn or purchase new apps then use Instagram. I specifically like Lux (it's the sun icon at the very top after you upload a photo), Brightness, Warmth, and Saturation. I think using those tools can really sharpen up an image.

SKRWT - This is my secret weapon. If you're a shutterbug with your phone, I highly recommend this app. Everyone should have it. Its tools are super powerful for high precision editing and correcting lens distortion. It's gold. Worth every penny! Don't take my word for it. Watch the video below. $1.99 iOS // Android

SKRWT - TUTORIAL from SKRWT on Vimeo.

Getting Fancy

As I mentioned above I don't go crazy with filters or tons of editing, but every now and then I do like to have some fun and these tools will help you do that.

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A Color Story - A dynamic app by the women of A Beautiful Mess, this app offers fun and super colorful effects. It has so many options and fun filters. Use them sparingly to add some pop. Favorites of mine are Color Fog, Light Leaks, and Flare Bokeh. (in-app purchases) Website // iOs // Andorid

Whitagram - This is an app that lends a white or a colored border to your images. I like to use this on my accounts because I like the look it gives, and I like to use it specifically because Instagram still crops portrait (vertical) photos. iOs

Over - Over offers fonts and icons to your images. The app itself is a little complicated - but if you want to add lettering easily to your images, this is it. Website // iOs (If you have an Android, Phonto is a great alternative!)

How about you? What apps do you use to add to your photos? I'm always interested to hear what others are using let me know below, or in our Facebook Group!