Despite Apple and Google’s best efforts to seamlessly keep all photos synced across all devices, sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way. Often, I have a photo on my computer that isn’t on my iPhone, and I want to be able to add nice filters and make tweaks on a bigger screen before posting it on Instagram.
Even though Instagram still doesn’t let users post photos from a computer, several apps exist that not only attempt to duplicate Instagram’s filters, but add others into the mix. Check out these four Mac apps that do just that, so you can edit and get creative right from your desktop.
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1. Filters for Photos
Filters for Photos is a brand new Mac app, and it has already become one of the best for adding filters to your photos. Out of the box, it comes with 15 absolutely gorgeous filters.
All you need to do is import the photo you want to apply a filter to and select your preferred one. You can also adjust the intensity of the filter among some other settings like contrast, depending on which one you choose.
Tip: Unlock 12 additional filters completely free just by subscribing to the newsletter. Filters for Photos prompts you to do this upon opening the app for the first time. It’s a pretty good bargain: just enter your name and email address to survive through some emails every now and then in exchange for a total of 27 filters.
When you’re done, just go to File and choose Export to Photo… to save your updated picture and ready it for Instagram. Even better, take advantage of its support for OS X’s Photos extension. Edit your photos using Filters right within the Photos app and save them immediately.
Instant is one of the most fun apps I’ve ever installed on my Mac to date. That’s because it acts as a virtual Polaroid camera. You import the photo you want to edit and Instant applies a random filter and even includes a cheesy vintage Polaroid frame and a long developing process. (You can edit this in the Preferences, though.)
As mesmerizing as it is to see your images come to life through Instant, the app also buries plenty of power in its settings. Click the Settings icon on your “developed” image to expand a sidebar with a total of 32 filters. Some mimic the effects of various Polaroid models while others just create really beautiful vintage moments. Plus in the tab over, you can adjust sliders for intensity, vignette, grain and more, and even customize the frame.
Before filters were called “filters,” most applications actually called them effects. That’s still the case with Fotor Photo Editor, but don’t worry they still look and work like filters. Fotor actually has so many filters, it separates them into categories: classic, lomo, retro, cinematic, mono, disposable, serenity, light leaking and B/W (black and white). Each filter comes with an intensity adjustment as well.
Fotor includes a convenient batch feature for applying one filter — er, effect — to several imported photos at once too. And when you’re done applying them you can check out the plethora of other photo editing options within Fotor for cropping, adjusting, adding borders, tilt-shift, text and more.
Composure’s main feature is actually to create and stitch together photo collages, but one section of the app includes an extremely vast selection of filters. You don’t even need to create a photo collage to use them. Just drag and drop a photo into the app, click Filters in the sidebar and choose from the dozens of selections. Plus, Composure features a bulk applicator so with one click of the plus icon on any filter, you can apply that one filter to all the photos you’ve imported.
Admittedly, these photos aren’t as nice as the ones you’ll find in Filters for Photos or Instant, but they’re a great way to spruce up a boring picture for your Instagram followers. They fit nicely in with Instagram’s own filters as well.