Top Apps for Improving Your Instagram Game
Before I started blogging, my Instagram feed was full of photos from my daily life, pictures of my husband & I, food, the occasional landscape scene. This was perfectly fine and sharing my photos with friends and family was simply no more than a way of keeping everyone in the loop.
Once I made the decision to start blogging, I realized I had to change my approach with social media. What used to be just an everyday account of my life now had to transition to pretty, appealing photos with a cohesive flow to create an aesthetic or theme.
As I looked at the Instagram accounts of other bloggers, I soon discovered that their feeds were clean, pristine, and visually stunning. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to creating your little happy squares. Everyone has a different style and different goals with what they’re trying to accomplish. Before blogging, I edited most of my photos with the filters Instagram provides, and the occasional VSCO app. I didn’t know any different, and I quickly realized that I was VERY new to this game.
Investing in a blog can be quite expensive and time consuming, and while I was not (and still am not) in a place that I want to overspend on unnecessary high tech applications, equipment, and software, I have done a lot of research over time in order to find simple-to-use, effective apps to transform your photos for FREE or at a very low cost.
Here, I am going to share the apps that I use and love in hopes that aspiring bloggers can also save some serious cash while still creating the social media presence that they desire!
This is by far my most used app for Instagram. It is a photoshop app that is free with the basic download. In the free version, you can upload photos and videos and edit them with a variety of tools, including cropping/resizing, lighting, color, effects, and detail. You also have the ability to create and download presets as you wish. I download all of my presets from Etsy for a small fee. My favorite shops are LouMarksPhoto, BestLightRoomPresets, and VictoriaBeePhoto.
The premium version of the Lightroom app allows you to make selective adjustments to photos, adjust perspective, batch edit, as well as photoshop elements out of photos with the healing feature. It also enables additional sharing capabilities. The premium subscription is $4.99/month -- but I’ll be honest in saying that I have been very happy with my photos just editing with the basic feature thus far!
Preview is a useful app for planning your Instagram feed. You can connect your Instagram to the app & view your entire feed to design it the way you’d like for free! Preview allows you to upload your photos to the app first to see how they look without actually posting them to your feed. Edit your photos, rearrange them, see which photos flow better, plan out your captions, etc. Preview offers both Pro and Premium features in addition to the free version for an additional monthly charge. The Pro version allows unlimited posts, all filter packs, full account analytics, and a repost feature for $7.99/month. The Premium version gives you the same features as Pro, with the option of adding multiple users/devices, backup, and a desktop version for $14.99/month.
Unfold is my go-to app for creating visually appealing stories! The basic version is completely free and includes 27 different story templates, 6 fonts, and a variety of stickers to make your Instagram stories personal and fun! Connect your account and create story prompts & share them directly to your Instagram! The Plus version opens up 100+ story templates, additional fonts, and stickers for the low price of $2.99/month or $19.99/year. You also have the option of purchasing individual collections for $0.99 - $1.99. Overall, Unfold’s free version is awesome, but the Plus version is also very affordable if you like the extras!
CutStory is a great app to have if you enjoy making videos! It allows you to upload a lengthy video, edit it, and cut it to the allotted amount of time for a variety of social media outlets including Instagram stories, Facebook, IGTV, TikTok, Snapchat, etc for free. The only downside I found to the free version is the “CutStory” watermark that is visible on the finished video after downloading it, however you can remove this with a one time purchase of $1.99. Worth it in my opinion! You also have the option of adding background music to your videos for a one time purchase of $1.99. The Pro version unlocks all paid features, including ability to upload your own logos and stickers, and change the color of your templates for $3.49/month or $30.99/year. In all honesty - the Pro version does not seem worth it to me and I have managed just fine with the free version!
This is also a very helpful app for video editing! There is somewhat of a learning curve and editing here is somewhat time consuming, however if you are patient and good with a smartphone, you’ll get the hang of it in no time. With the free version of this app, you can upload one or multiple videos and photos and merge them together, cut them & remove segments, speed up or slow them down, add text, music, and effects. The Pro version allows access to all paid transitions, effects, and stickers, and removes ads from the app for $14.99/year or a one time purchase of $34.99. *TIP* I create videos on InShot with effects & text and then upload them into CutStory to cut them to the 15 second length for Instagram stories!
I’ve been using Canva for years to create graphics for Instagram and my blog. It’s super fun and easy to use with thousands of templates, fonts, and photos. I prefer to use Canva’s free desktop version but the app is helpful if you need to create a story or post template in a pinch. You can create stunning web designs, logos, and marketing tools all for free! In fact, my blog logo and all of my post graphics were created on Canva. The Pro version of Canva opens up access to millions of images as well as new templates and fonts, easy resizing capabilities, and transparent backgrounds for $12.99/month or $119.99/year. The Pro version is a bit pricey, but if you’re really into marketing and building your brand, I think it’s 100% worth it. I haven’t taken this plunge just yet, but I’ve been contemplating! Check out Canva here.
There you have it! My top picks for free/affordable apps to improve your Instagram! Is there an app that you enjoy using that isn’t listed here? Let me know below!