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Decoding Your Choice Of Instagram Filter

The casual Instagrammer might choose their filter at random, but there is a hidden message with each subtle choice. And the pros know what you really mean when you're slapping on some Nashville. Let's go through each one. And if you'd like to point out a "No Bollocks" policy on your photos, visit the Subtexter.

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1. Amaro

WHAT IT DOES: Adds a bit more light, and focuses toward the middle and on paler tones.

SUBTEXT: I want it to look like I found this in my scrapbook!

2. Rise

WHAT IT DOES: Adds a softer, more even light to your photo.

SUBTEXT: I wanted to make this closeup look a little bit more like an oil painting, and less grossly detailed.

3. Hudson

WHAT IT DOES: Gives your photo a slight tint, and an icier look.

SUBTEXT: I'm so tortured.

4. X-Pro II

WHAT IT DOES: Makes colors more vivid, giving the whole thing a warmer feel.

SUBTEXT: I want to make this boring object look interesting.

5. Sierra

WHAT IT DOES: Similar to Rise, it gives your photo a soft light, but adds a bit of an aggressive fade as well.

SUBTEXT: I found this in MOM'S scrapbook.

6. Willow

WHAT IT DOES: The newest filter. Like Inkwell, it's black and white, but much softer with its shadows.

SUBTEXT: Wanted black and white, too lazy to scroll over to Inkwell, can't tell the difference.

7. Lo-Fi

WHAT IT DOES: Adds a bit of a shadow and makes the colors significantly richer.


8. Earlybird

WHAT IT DOES: The complete package. Fade and color adjustments and flares that make your photo pop, especially the yellow and beige.

SUBTEXT: I just needed a filter real quick to make my photo look cool. THE GO TO FILTER FOR LOOKING COOL.

9. Sutro

WHAT IT DOES: Brings out the dark color palette (brown, black, purple), and gives it a nice overlay of grey.

SUBTEXT: I wanted this to be as creepy as possible.

10. Toaster

WHAT IT DOES: It toasts your photo with a nice burn right in the middle. Very old-timey.

SUBTEXT: I found this in GRANDPA'S scrapbook.

11. Brannan

WHAT IT DOES: Really greys up the photo, and adds a lot of contrast.

SUBTEXT: I would like this photo to look like I drew it with ink and stuff.

12. Inkwell

WHAT IT DOES: Yeah, this is the original black and white one.

SUBTEXT: I am trying to make this ordinary situation extremely poetic.

13. Walden

WHAT IT DOES: Washes out the colors and slaps a light blue overtone.

SUBTEXT: I want you to look at this photo and say WOW, GREAT PHOTOGRAPHY because everything looks perfectly lit and in focus even if it isn't.

14. Hefe

WHAT IT DOES: It's like Lo-Fi, but less extreme.

SUBTEXT: I'm really just trying to use a different filter than Earlybird for once.

15. Valencia

WHAT IT DOES: It's the more tasteful extreme age filter.

SUBTEXT: I found this in Grandpa's scrapbook too, but I'm way classier than those people using Toaster. I bet they watch lots of reality TV and wear too much eyeliner and go to parties where they serve you stuff in plastic cups with your name on it. Losers.

16. Nashville

WHAT IT DOES: Gives the photo that faded feel but also adds a stylized border.

SUBTEXT: I really want to pretend this photo was taken with another device, because I think it's cooler than just using Earlybird all the time and I am the most common Instagram user.

17. 1977

WHAT IT DOES: Makes your photo look like it's from the 70s, basically.

SUBTEXT: I have a really specific time in mind for my vintage-looking photo. I scrolled all the way to the end and BAM, there it is! All thought out for me!

18. Kelvin

WHAT IT DOES: Brightens up the reds and yellows, and gives your photo a nice glow.

SUBTEXT: It was too dark in the original picture. You know this because nobody uses Kelvin unless it's too dark in the original picture.