How To Be Awesome At Instagram: My Top Six Photography Apps.

How To Be Awesome At Instagram: My Top Six Photography Apps.
Carly Jacobs

#photoadaymay Day 2 - skyline

I’m a bit of an iPhone photography addict and since I’ve been participating in Fat Mum Slim’s Photo A Day Challenge I’ve been regularly cruising the photography section in the app store trying to get my hands on the next hottest thing before it becomes mainstream. I’m just so current like that. I generally post about 1 to 3 Instagram photos per day (because everyone is so interested in my lunch/outfits/rustic cups of coffee) and I get asked all the time about the apps that I use. Here’s a list of my 6 favourites – just click on the titles to go to the app store.


I put this one first because it’s probably the one that I use the most. You can upload a photo from your camera roll and go nuts. They have classic filters, vintage filters, cross processing, textures, scratches and an awesome light section where I get a lot of my bokeh from.

Tip: I often use two or three filters from Picfx on the same photo by simply saving the photo to my camera roll and reloading the photo back into Picfx. Sneaky.

#photoadayjune Bathroom... At the Chateau de Jacriox. It's bullshit french for the House of Jacobs, what I calls my parents place.


This is a beautifully designed and simple app that provides a selection of light filters including an assortment of bokeh and things like disco lights or streaks.

#photoadayjune From a high angle. Getting ready for Bollywood Royalty party.


I never shoot with anything but Camera+. I then edit and crop within Camera+ and then export the photos to my camera roll.

#photoadayjune Imperfect. A casting project that turned into a major solder job yet it's still one of my favourite pieces I've ever made.


I’ve used a few other framing apps like Pictureframes and PicFrames but Diptic has a more interesting range of frame options and you can also adjust the size of each frame after uploading your photos and do things like flip an image within the frame. I do still use the other frame apps because they each have different options but Diptic is definitely my default.

#ootd #fashiondiaries #smagglestyle


Theoretically speaking I’m a bit cautious of this app because air brushing gives me the heeby jeebies BUT if you don’t have great light or you’re having a bad face day this app can be a real life saver. Whatever you do don’t just publish right after it’s airbrushed you. It likes to go a little bit mental and will eat your features. I always let it do an auto adjust and then I bump it back quite a lot, just so it looks like I had better lighting on my face. I also only use this if I’m doing a stylized photo.

Color Splash

This one is really cool and quite underused in my opinion. I use this for particularly colourful photos that are begging to be turned into something a touch more interesting. Basically you make a photo black and white and then colour in the bits you want.

American themed treats at #kiehls product launch

Here are a few filter combinations I’ve used in the past so you can see how using editing, filters and even cropping can turn a pretty ordinary photo (see the original one of me dying my hair – you’re very lucky I’m sharing with you) into something a bit more special or at the very least not completely horrifying.

Picfx ‘lush’ filter + PicFx ‘olden’ filter

Crop + RealBeaute2 + Lumie + Instagram ‘amaro’ filter

Picfx black and white ‘inverted’ filter

PictureShow ‘vivid’ filter + Instagram ‘rise’ filter

RealBeaute2 + PictureShow ‘calm’ filter + Picfx ‘bokeh 1’

If you want to have more of a sticky beak at my photos you can like Smaggle on Facebook or follow me on Instagram… I’m smaggle!

What are your favourite photography apps? What are your standby filters?


  1. Carly Findlay 9 years ago

    I love Pudding Cam – the effects are so vivid. My current UK photos are taken with it.
    Thanks for the Lumie tip – will download

    • Author
      Smaggle 9 years ago

      Will HAVE to check out pudding cam!

  2. Melinda 9 years ago

    Off to download all of these. I’m becoming a bit of an IG addict!

  3. Jolee262 9 years ago

    I am always dying to know what apps you use.  Thanks so much!

  4. Anonymous 9 years ago

    Awesome! Love how you’ve shown the pic changes – have just downloaded a couple! Thanks x

    • Author
      Smaggle 9 years ago

      I was pretty brave to post the hair dying one!

  5. allconsuming 9 years ago

    Dear GOD!

    Note to self: try harder. Subtext: I had NO idea these even existed. 

    • Author
      Smaggle 9 years ago

      I’m such a photo app store stalker!

  6. Hannah 9 years ago

    I am such a photography app addict. Camera+, VSCO and Magic Hour are my favourites. I need to get that Lumie one! x

    • Author
      Smaggle 9 years ago

      I love Lumie, it’s just beautiful!

  7. Jeanie 9 years ago

    I am falling for your instagram pics, they’re always so interesting and lovely. Have shared this post around, great tips. I starting using Camera+ after reading this. I like it because you can snap away and only save the ones worthy of using to your camera roll. No ‘oh which photo was best’ confusion.

  8. Anonymous 9 years ago

    What an awesome post – thanks for sharing your generous tips. So helpful for a novice like me! 

    • Author
      Smaggle 9 years ago

      No worries at all! I love to share my fave apps!

  9. Lape 9 years ago

    And I thought I liked Instagram 🙂  I’m now following you on Instagram now.  Have lots to learn apparently.

  10. Lisa 9 years ago

    Hi Carly

    I have just found your blog (via Styling you) so I have major catch-up to do…I signed up to instagram last night so let the newbie lessons begin!! Love your blog- especially opinion section…thanks for such a great post

    • Author
      Smaggle 9 years ago

      Thank you so much! That’s lovely to hear!

  11. Julie Umlauf 9 years ago

    Omg thank you! I was trying to decide between picfx and lumie then I see this and I want to get all the apps you mention but I’ll first I’ll get picfx and then get the rest! Thanks! 

    • Author
      Smaggle 9 years ago

      You can get very far with just Picfx. I love it.

  12. Hi..this is a great pictures of instagram..keep sharing this..

  13. 8 years ago

    Vsco, Snapseed, Camera+

  14. kolby 7 years ago

    Do u know any apps that can make my frames into cool little crosses?


  1. […] Melbourne blogger Carly Jacobs (aka Smaggle) knows how to work her iPhone camera for selfies and has written a handy dandy post about how to be awesome at Instagram. […]

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