Instagram is a FREE photo sharing app that allows you to take pictures, add cool filters and share them with friends and family — all from your iPhone or Android device! Like Pinterest, Instagram was a bit of an instant success, and it really is a very fun social app for easily sharing your own photos and seeing the photos that other people post.
Whether you’re a new Instagram user or already a regular Instagrammer, here are some great tools to do even more with your photos:
Online Instagram Apps
Online Instagram apps allow you to interact with Instagram even when you’re away from your phone. Since my husband and I share an iPhone, this is the primary way I interact with other people on Instagram.
Here are my favorites:
What I love most about Followgram is that it offers vanity URLs, so you can search right in the address bar for any user. So, for example, my username is @mandiehman, and to follow me, you just go straight to http://followgram.me/mandiehman. If you want to follow @simplemom, you can just type http://followgram.me/simplemom. You can also search for users based on username or profile name, but I like that the vanity URLs are an option.
- Online Viewers
In addition to Followgram, there are a ton of online viewers to let you view and interact with Instagram users and photos. Although the interface and a few of the features may be different between these, at the end of the day, they basically do the same thing. It really just comes down to personal preference (mine is Ink361), so give these a try to see which is your favorite:
I don’t know about you, but I now use my phone — and Instagram specifically — more often than my regular camera for everyday photos. That means some of my most precious memories of my girls are stored on my phone and/or Instagram’s server. I’m a big believer in backing up digital files, and I keep most of my files on multiple computers, in the cloud and — for the most important — on a disc in a fire box. Yet I haven’t yet thought to backup my Instagram photos!Use Instaport to download a backup of your Instagram files to be sure you don’t lose them should there be another — more serious — server crash in the future. This app downloads your entire history as a .zip file so that you can have a copy on your computer and wherever else you want to back it up!
Photo Editing Apps
Although you can take pictures with the Instagram app, add cool filters and some blur effects, many Instagrammers prefer taking pictures with the phone’s main camera (which is much faster and also allows you to capture many photos and then choose your favorite). Another benefit of taking pictures with your phone’s camera is that you can then edit those photos with a separate app to create collages, add text and more.
Here are my favorite photo editing apps:
Snapseed has been rated the best photo editing app, not just by the “officials” but by every person I know who has used it. Add frames, tilt & shift, adjust the saturation and color and more with this easy to use app. (It’s $4.99, which is pretty pricy for an app, but if you take a lot of photos with your phone, it may be worth the cost!)
Diptic is my favorite app for creating collages. Choose from their default layouts or create your own.
Labelbox allows you to add pretty captions and labels to your photos…and not much more. But the labels are pretty and the app is free, so you can’t really complain!
PhotoNotes also lets you add captions as well as speech bubbles, clip art, borders, shadows and more. These effects are a bit on the goofy side (compared with something like Snapseed), but could be a fun way to jazz up your photos!
Things to Make with Your Instagram Photos
It doesn’t take long before you have a ton of memories saved in your Instagram account….and then what? Choose from these Instagram photo products and share your photos offline as well:
Create a collage of your Instagram photos to use as your Facebook cover photo. This app just keeps getting better, and it’s really a fun way to customize your Facebook page!
Make a t-shirt, mug or necklace featuring your favorite Instagram photos.
I’m planning to make a Keepsy photo book of our summer Instagram photos come fall, and I think this is a great alternative for those of us who don’t scrapbook but still want to preserve memories in some way!
I pretty much love this idea! Next week my oldest daughter and I are heading to Florida to visit my grandmother and my cousin’s daughter for the week, and being able to send postcards right from the phone will make doing that so much easier. How fun!
- More Instagram Products:
These companies each specialize in a single custom product, like photo prints, magnets and stickers:
Follow Life Your Way Contributors on Instagram
Looking for some more people to follow? Why not start with the Life Your Way contributors? Here’s a list to get you started:
“Wife to my best friend. Mom to 4 girls. Full-time WAHM. Homeschooler. Christian. Lover of coffee, chocolate, beautiful things & minimalist spaces.”
“So Cal girl who loves organizing!! Find me at OrganizingMadeFun.com.”
“Mom of 3 living the American dream in suburban Philadelphia. Loves mocha lattes, jogging and ocean breezes. Hates iced tea and football.”
“The voice behind Life as Mom and Good Cheap Eats. Mom of 6, wife of 1.”
“Christian, homeschooling mom of 9 just trying to get through the day with joy and not kill anyone.”
“Food loving geek girl with smartphone.”
“Inspiring you to creatively thrive in your home.”
“Freelance writer, photographer, recipe developer, and cookbook author (Desserts in Jars, June 2012).”
“Guilty of not using Instagram enough.”
“Passionate about encouraging moms. Loves running, Jesus, her husband, TexMex food and her 3 kids. Not necessarily in that order.”
Are you on Instagram? Share your username in the comments!