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Social Media Tech

Filters are kind of dead

I stopped using Instagram filters almost two years ago. You don’t need them. The snap should be able to speak for itself, in its raw untouched nature.

But I do believe that some images still need a little pop. And that’s when you should use the VSCO app, Litely, or Snapseed, whichever apps enable you to adjust the strength of filters without making the photo look fake.

The newswire photographers such as David Guttenfelder, who documents North Korea and other parts of Asia, never use filters. Images that show up in newspapers aren’t even allowed to be retouched.

AP pictures must always tell the truth. We do not alter or digitally manipulate the content of a photograph in any way.

The best filter is none at all. I guess this is why #nofilter or natural is the most popular on Instagram, although it’s the second most engaging.

Word of Caution:. Using filters outside Instagram doesn’t permit you to use the #nofilter hashtag. You will get called out. Oh, and stay away from borders too since that’s said and done.

Instagram blew up because of its iconic filters. People used filters to call out that they were on Instagram. But those days are over. Instagram is less about filters and more about context and a carefully edited aesthetic. The challenge for any mobile photographer today is leveraging filters while retaining the authenticity of the photo. Still, the best filter may be none at all.

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By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of Discvr.blog and four books.