My name's Stacey, and I'm a bit of an Instagram addict. Not everyday mind - I tend to get more snap happy come the weekend, because let's face it - there's only so many pictures of my desk and caving at the Tesco counter and buying five packets of magic stars photos one person can take. But still, Instagram is up there as one of my favourite apps. Since opening my account however many years ago, I've taken nearly 4,000 photos so I've learnt a few things on the way. Whilst I haven't got 'the best looking' Instagram wall (not sure if this is an official thing), I've edited down my top 5 go-to apps I use before my snap makes it onto the social networking app. There's probably much better ones out there (please feel free to share your favourites in the comments - or alternatively tweet me @SJMFord) but these are my editing comfort zone - the apps that no matter how shoddy the shot - can turn my image from bad to much better.
Afterlight - 69p
Afterlight is up there as one of the go to Instagram apps. I have to say it's my all time favourite and about 99% of my Instagram photos go through this app to become 'Insta-ready.' It isn't free but it is worth every penny. Taking your photo through Afterlight is like giving it a full service and MOT. Whether you want to adjust your brightness, contrast, exposure, saturation or sharpen your image - you can do that. Want to add a filter, insert a light leak or add a texture? Consider it done. Once you've added all of these fancy tweaks - you can take it back to basics. Rotate your image, crop it or put it in a shape - whatever you can imagine - this app can pretty much do. My routine for an image in Afterlight usually involves adding the filter, sharpening it up and then shrinking it to a certain size or shape. To put it bluntly, I'd feel insta-lost without this app - yes, I went there and yes that's definitely not a word. But neither should selfie but that's in the dictionary now.
Fuzel - Free
I haven't fully explored the features of the Fuzel app but what I mainly use it for is collages. There's so many templates to choose from to make your collage really stand out. I use these if I'm doing an #OOTD post or want to show the detail of a shot off.
Squaready - Free
Remember at the beginning of Instagram where editing apps were few and far between? We'd be stuck with one shape - square. But unfortunately we don't live a square life - we can't fit all of our photography subjects in a symmetrical box. So that's when Squaready came along. Again, I don't know all of its functionalities but what I do know is that it's super easy to use and it does what it says on the tin. If you want to simply show off the image's actual proportions - this is the app for you. Taken a landscape shot? It can be landscape - and the same goes for portrait. Just zoom out and the whole photo is in the frame. Then simply extract straight to Instagram.
Instasize - Free
Instasize is the most recent photo app I've downloaded but it's probably my second favourite and most used. First things first - it's free. Second - you can do so much with this app. Collages, borders, filters, stickers, overlays and text - the app is your oyster. I don't use all of these features - for instance I much prefer Afterlight's filters and I'm not a fan of stickers full stop but when it comes to sizing my images and cropping - it's my go-to and I really recommend it for that.
Phonto - Free
Phonto is primarily a text app, and is what I only use it for. It's not the only thing it can do however - it does offer filters too - but I find these quite basic compared to Afterlight. You can add text either onto a photo from your camera roll or you can use one of their preset backgrounds or a plain colour - great if you want to throw together Pinterest-similar quotes (I may or may not be guilty of this...). For being free it's got a great range of fonts and personalisation in terms of text size, colour and position. Now you can join in with the mass of 'Hello December' posts at the start of the month or annotate your favourite snaps.