Isn’t Instagram just about slapping filters onto pictures of chicken nuggets and checking back to see how many likes you've managed to acquire?
Well given the amount of useless shots littering our news feed yes, we suppose that's a large part of the whole experience.
But there's far more to Instagram than meets the eye, especially since its latest update. And we’ve kindly poked around its nooks and crannies to help you make the most of all that the photo sharing app offers.
Manage your filters
Instagram’s latest update adds five new filters to your shady repertoire. But with so many at your disposal, it can be a little difficult to keep track of them all. So now, not only do the filters come with a little blurry preview of the treatment your photo can expect to receive, you can also manage them for easier Instagram-ing.
Make it happen: You can reorganise your filters directly on the filter list. Tap and drag to rearrange or hide the ones you don’t use at all so you don’t have to swipe through the lot to find your favourite filter. Scroll right to the end of your filters and you’ll see Manage Filters hidden right at the end. Tap on it to bring up the whole list of filters to re-enable those you've hidden.
Using Instagram Direct
That little inbox icon in the top right hand corner that you've probably never used? It’s the key to a little-used service called Instagram Direct.
Make it happen: If you’ve got a photo you’d like to share with a select few, activate Instagram Direct instead of sharing it with all your followers. When Instagram-ing, do the usual (select photo, edit, and share). Instead of sharing to Followers, tap Direct instead and select the lucky recipients.
Refusing Instagram Direct
Of course, not everyone wants to be constantly hammered with group pictures via Instagram Direct. And that's just fine.
Make it happen: Tap on a conversation, then tap on the icon next to the comment bar to bring up the options relevant to this feature. You can choose to either Ignore posts or Hide this post. The former stops you from receiving direct requests from a particular person while the latter allows you to exit without the sender finding out that anything's amiss because the photo will still reflect your presence in the group.
You can even report photos as inappropriate, if you're unlucky enough to be on the receiving end of one or two questionable snaps.
Playing with perspective
With the new update, Instagram has added a myriad of ways to tweak your photos into looking better than they actually are. Besides the obvious filters, you can go into detailed tools to play around with aspects like Contrast, Vignette, and Shadows, just to state a few. But the most underrated has to be Adjust.
Make it happen: Tapping on it automatically straightens your photos. Not only that, but it also allows you to play with perspective (both vertical and horizontal), for a more interesting angle. Because who cares about properly straight photos anyway? It's all about expressing yourself artistically. Though of course you can also straighten up wonky shots if you're all about that sexy symmetry.
Geotagging your shots lets you keep track of where you've taken them, and offers a nice way to look back over your travels. It’s also useful to see where other people have taken their snaps, letting you find the perfect spot to recreate an Instagram moment or figure out where to buy your own arty latte.
Make it happen: Simply go to any user’s account (especially those travel-related ones) and hit the geotag icon to see where people have been. Do note though that there are profiles without photo maps either due to their privacy settings or their lack of geotagging activity. If you want to selectively hide your own travel activity, you can access your own photo map and deselect certain photos.