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3 Must-Have Apps for Any Instagram User

Kenny Novak • Updated on December 30, 2013
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Because of Instagram, the instant photo-sharing community-building photo app, we’re all insatiable, magical photographers. Since 2010, the app has not only allowed the ordinary people, sports stars, businessmen, entrepreneurs and unlikely internet celebrities to share images, but has also created a global community of instant artists. With every follower gained, every “like” added, every share on Facebook or Flickr or Twitter, users of Instagram have a new way to find and capture the poignant, meaningful, cute and lovely. Despite the ever-prevalent duck face, Instagram has made the world a more vivid and artistic place one photo at a time.

So why do you use Instagram?

  • Are you one of those artsy types that just wants to make the world a more interesting place?
  • Do you find Instagram to be the perfect medium for capturing your day and remind you of the simple beauty around you? Are you obsessed with your lunch and you want the whole world to know exactly what you’ve eaten?
  • Or, are you a budding entrepreneur and you’re using Instagram to gain followers, fans and ultimately sales?
  • Or, has Instagram triggered in you a new passion for photography, one that might not have been there if you were required to have expensive equipment?
  • Or are you in it make friends and gain followers for its own sake?
  • Are you one of the over 150 million users of Instagram who puts thought into the filters you choose, who you want to send it to and how many likes you’ll get?

Whatever your reasons for using Instagram, your pictures and videos could probably use some sprucing up. As you upload your images to Facebook, Tumbler and Twitter, you may want them to be just as awesome as possible. There are dozens of apps available for iPhone and Android users who want to trick out their photos. How do you know which apps to buy? If your needs include being more creative, having fun, and making your photos stand out, these three apps are great choices for you All are affordable, easy to use and have the potential to change everything about the photos you take.


Much to the chagrin of hipsters everywhere, Instagram is now mainstream. To be really different, the Instagram user may have to be even more vintage, more faded and more cool. Retromatic is perfect for the photographer who has the ironic desire to take a current image and make it look old. This is the kind of app for those Instagram photographers who want to be whimsical, bold and retro.


This is the app that will capture a lot of attention. But like a lot of good things — too much can backfire. If you’re messing around with your photos, that’s one thing, but if your boss is counting on your instagram shots to drive traffic — you might want to spend some time learning this one first before you upload it to Facebook. By cutting out a portion of an image, say your delicious fish tacos that you ate for lunch, or maybe your dog at his cutest, the tools of this app allow you to insert it into one of it’s many backgrounds. This is where the retro part comes in. The backgrounds and options and colors are dizzying and hundreds of combinations are possible. Your image can easily be created to have a ‘50s poster feel to it, or maybe something psychedelic or vintage or Mad Men-like. (Think gift-making possibilities! Or unique art for your walls!) Once that is done, then the user can apply numerous filters too. Other add-ons can also enhance a photo to give it even more bling. Of course, it can be added to your camera roll and uploaded onto your favorite file sharing app, similar to Facebook.

Anybody can take a selfie in their bathroom, but only the Retromatic users can make a selfie look like something whipped up by the art department at Sterling Cooper Draper and Pryce. The Retromatic app, which can be bought at the iPhone app store for $1.99 is a lot of bang for the buck.


Perhaps your big social media dream is to be the one who creates those inspirational photos on Pinterest. You have the photography skills, thanks to your smartphone and Instagram, you have your built in audience because you’ve collected hundreds of followers who like everything you do. Now you can write your favorite bits of wisdom on your shots and inspire those around you. With Phonto, a free app, your text has never been easier to create. Over 100 true type fonts are available and you can tinker around with size, color, background and even more options. It is with apps like Phonto, that the best memes are created. (You could be the next Grumpy Cat or Condescending Wonka!) Even if world fame isn’t your intention, by using Phonto, you could send messages to your loved ones, create gifts, dazzle your Facebook friends or spark a revolution. The options and combinations with Phonto are endless. Phonto is easy to use, even though directions don’t come with the app. If you need text on any of your photos, you can’t go wrong with Phonto. This is free and is available for iOS or Android.



So, with Retromatic,you have your retro feel taken care of and with Phonto, you have a way to add text. What you need now is an app for creative layouts. Diptic is the one. Diptic is a creative and diverse layout app that can take your myriads of photos and arrange them creatively. No more wishing your verticals were horizontal and vice versa. Your photos will always fit perfectly and you’ll never curse the aspect ratio under your breath again. This app can tweak and stretch and adjust all of your photos into beautiful arrangements. Don’t stop there! Tweak the brightness, contrast and saturation too! This app is easy to use and the effects on each photo can be dramatic or subtle. And like the very best apps, you can upload them to your favorite photo sharing platform, like Facebook, Twitter or Flickr. Users can also export these photos to create a gorgeous calendar for Grandma. Create themes from your trip to California. Put those awkward first day of school photos in a creative collage. Mash up every lunch photo you’ve ever taken! This is a really fun, easy-to-use app that can meet most of your creative layout needs. It’s $.99 and is available for iPhone.

The most innovative and technologically advanced pocket-sized communication device, the smartphone, is also the brush, palette, canvas and of anybody in the world who wants to capture an image. Since its inception in 2010, millions of people have used Instagram to forge relationships, build their businesses, make money, and connect with the world. The right apps can help you do that too. There are dozens of photography apps available but with these three easy-to-use, affordable and brilliant apps, Retromatic, Phonto and Diptic, you have even more creative ways to share your photos with the world.


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