Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME
By Alexander Aciman
May 13, 2015

If your Instagram feed is starting to feel dull, maybe that’s because it is. After years of seeing photos in the same layout and with the same filters, everything can begin to look the same — even your own photos start to look like everyone else’s.

While Instagram adds new filters once in a while, you can also look to other apps to liven up your snaps.

One of the most popular options is Hipstamatic. The app lets you choose between a variety of lenses, film types, and flashes, which means you can stack filter upon filter and then tinker with the lighting to create an almost endless combination of image styles. That means Hipstamatic gives you a little more creative freedom. Hipstamatic also released a TinType app, which mimics old film stock to make your images look like Civil War mugshots.

Another popular camera app is VSCO Cam, which gives you even more control over your images. VSCO allows you to edit photos until you find a setting you like, and then save it to a preset that can be applied to multiple photos. VSCO also offers its own constantly growing line of filters, many of which are far better than Instagram’s stock offerings.

But for those who like complete image editing freedom, there’s yet another app called Shift designed specifically for engineering and saving filters that you can apply to any number of photos. Shift allows you to choose the color hue of your filter, the texture of the image, and then adjust the strength of your color gradients, light, brightness, contrast and saturation. You can also choose any of Shift’s presets to edit to your liking.


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