F is for Filters

With the rise of Instagram, many amateur photographers suddenly fancy themselves professional, in large part due to the impressive array of filters available through this app. While, on your phone, filters can absolutely make your photographs look amazing, they are sadly far from professional quality.

I do not, in any way, want to disparage your photography, nor do I want to imply that you are not a great photographer. I don’t want you to stop posting pictures to your Instagram account, or feel any less proud of an amazing shot! But I also don’t want you to use the pictures that you post to Instagram as the images within your marketing pieces, or as your book cover, or even on a birthday card that you are creating for a loved one.


Sample of a photograph taken from an amateur photographer and enhanced by a professional editor (me!)

Instagram photos and filters are meant for Instagram. While smartphones these days often have cameras just as powerful as may point and shoot devices, as soon as you upload them to the app and apply a filter, the resolution is set at a quality and size meant for screen viewing. The image is also cropped – you may have noticed – into a square. Most professional marketing materials and books are not.

So please, continue to snap pictures of the beauty in your world, apply your favorite filters, and share them socially as you please.

But get in touch with a graphic designer for any images you need that will be viewed outside of the internet. And even for materials that will be viewed ON a computer, but still require a professional appearance.

Here’s a fun fact for you: many professional photo editors and even photographers will apply filters to their work as well, within a program called Photoshop, or Lightroom, or something similar.

The filters used within these programs are a bit more in depth, customized and specific to high resolution photography, but if there is a specific filter you absolutely love on Instagram, your designer can create a similar style for you and still provide a high resolution, high quality end product.

This can go both ways. If you work with a designer for all your marketing materials, and there is a specific style they consistently apply to your artwork, you can ask them which filters on Instagram most closely resemble their style. It won’t be an exact fit, but it can help you maintain a cohesive brand image, if that is something you are striving for.

Just out of curiosity – what is your favorite Instagram filter to use?

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Monique Nelson is the head designer for Designed by Monique and loves to focus mainly on creating epic, attention grabbing and click demanding book covers!

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