Instagram has pulled off a coup of its own making. After years of being deemed too simple for professional photographers to use, inviting hosts of “pro-focused” competitors to sputter in the market — pros complain, but they still end up using Instagram — the Facebook-owned company is ready to appeal directly to that demographic.
Instagram 6.0 introduces a host of new editing features that Instagram is dubbing “Creative Tools,” many of which, like brightness, constrast, saturation, warmth, vignette, shadows, sharpen and highlights are standard in many basic photo-editing apps.
It’s also now also possible to adjust filter strength by double tapping on the filter itself, which expands each one’s usefulness, and makes the app work more like VSCOCam, another popular photo editor.
Instagram understands that not everyone is going to want to mess with their workflow, so the tools are tucked away (and easily ignored) in an Adjust toolbar. Most Instagram users already have a means of editing before applying filters; apps like VSCOCam, Photoshop Express, Litely, Snapseed, Google+ Photos and many others have been fulfilling that role for years.
And while Instagram already had basic cropping, straightening and blur features, these new additions will hopefully keep users in the app longer, and without feeling like they need to open alternatives to achieve the same effect.
Of course, the same filters are still available, and the app, from a design perspective, is unchanged on both iOS and Android. Let’s hope that this update improves the photo output quality in the Android version, which appears to be significantly worse than its iPhone counterpart.