This past March, the social network for photo-sharing that helped spread the selfie trend topped 200 million users and the amount of photography—some of it quite average and some actually really good—that now passes through the platform is impressive. If you consider yourself an Instagram addict who can’t resist snapping a shot of all your lunches, there are third-party apps that can make your creations stand out among the rest to make the most of your images, videos, profiles, and even Instagram itself.

‘No-crop’ tools

It’s quite possible that you already use an app with this feature: adding a square color background behind your rectangular photo to make Instagram detect the correct dimensions. InstaSize is one of the best-known of these and allows you to upload panoramic images with white borders, although you can also select the color and background you like most. The good thing about this app is that it also functions as an image editor, offering filers, effects, layers, captions, and collage templates, so you have two tools in one. No Crop is another tool with the same features, and has more than 100 background designs, more than 10 frames, 14 filters, and nearly 400 stickers to decorate the photos.

More effects, tones, and layers

We’ve already talked here on the blog about the famous Retrica and Pixlr Express, but another image editor that’s making a splash on Android is VSCO Cam. This tool does not include either frames or stickers, but rather focuses on giving a more elegant touch to your photos via filters that improve image quality by retouching the shadow, warmth or color tones. Like Instagram it’s also equipped to crop, rotate, add designs, reduce noise, focus and unfocus or change the white balance and other parameters.

By default, VSCO Cam includes some twelve filters, but from its store you can get more free packages that include not just filters but skin-tone enhancers and other similar features like textures or layers. From the app you can share your photos on both Instagram or other social networks as well as send them by email or simply save them on your memory.

Make your videos stand out

Instagram also allows you to upload small, 15-second videoclips that you can capture and edit from its interface. What you can’t do is combine two different clips into a single video nor include a different soundtrack. VivaVideo offers a interface from which users can capture videos directly or put one together via photos or several clips.

Once the multimedia material is selected you can crop and combine the clips, add different transitions—such as curtains or fades—and apply filters to the final result, which can be static or animated.

Get more ‘likes’

Without any tricks or traps, you can make your photos more visible on Instagram using the appropriate hashtag. TagsForLikes is an app that simply displays a series of popular tags divided into categories so you can put them on your posts and hit the mark with keywords that will help your photos reach users. You just have to type a keyword that describes your image and the hashtags will appear to go along with it.

Another tool that will help you win hearts is Get Likes on Instagram, a sort of social network where users send images by paying with the app’s own currency, with the aim of getting others to view and rate them, even if they’re not your followers and without having to ‘discover’ them on Instagram. Just like that: to keep receiving currency and sending photos you have to rate other users’ images and give them your ‘likes’. Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.

Manage two accounts at once

If you keep a personal Instagram account alongside a fan or Community Manager profile for a company, you should be well acquainted with how annoying it is to have to log out and log back in all the time. But thanks to tools like Instwogram you can manage two accounts simultaneously without having to go through that palaver. Basically, this tool is a clone of Instagram where you can have a session open in a different account alongside the original app and manage each one separately. The interface is identical and doesn’t offer any extra features.

Download photos

Viewing photos on Instagram is all fine and good, but if you want to save them in case that profile should close down, you can also save them on your hard drive with Free Instagram Downloader in a matter of seconds. The only thing this tool needs is the username to download the photos. A list of all of them—as thumbnails—will appear and you’ll just have to deselect the ones you don’t want.

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