Do Photo Filters Have An Impact On You?



I recently came across the article “Top 5 Instagram Filters”. It wasn’t the first text I read about the impact of Instagram filters on the amount of photo likes and comments. But I admit I hadn’t paid attention to that so far simply because I don’t make use of Instagram filters or any editing software promising you the ultimate grunge or vintage look.*

However, the article got me thinking. The next time I visited Instagram I noticed I tend to swipe past images which seem to look completely over edited. Can there be too much HDR? I think so!

How about you? Would you say that photo filters have an impact on you? Do you prefer more or less drama, bleached or glowy look? Does a certain style cause you to like or comment on a photo for sure? Are you a #NoFilter ambassador? Or do you consider the image theme or caption as most important motivator to engage with the photographer?

It clearly boils down to personal taste I guess. As someone being on Instagram on a daily basis I would refrain from saying there is a best or worst filter. It’s interesting though how Social Media Analysts seem to spot a pattern.

Here are a few edits to keep you thinking. Any favorites?


Temperature filter


Grunge filter


Vibrant glow filter




Temperature filter


Glow filter


Vintage filter

*Don’t get me wrong; I do edit most of my photos. I might adjust the brightness, contrast, or saturation. I just don’t apply a pre-fabricated set of filters. 

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Update: People kindly answered also on Facebook and Google+. My Facebook profile isn’t public, however, I was told there “the more drama, the more likely I’ll like a photo”. And here you can have a look at what’s been said on my Google+ profile as well. Many thanks to everyone who joined the discussion!

6 thoughts on “Do Photo Filters Have An Impact On You?

  1. Hi Anja,
    Instagram is not my cup of tea, because mostly it’s used for junk photographie with mobile phones.
    This has — in most cases – nothing to do with concious photograpie but with spontaneous documentation.
    And same way I see the automatic filters. They might make a photograph better or more interesting but in many cases filters are “too much” or even unnecessary. It’s just junk use of the broad palette of modifications a photo editing software delivers.
    As in every case there are of course exceptions. Even photoshop comes with predifined filters, that save time and make a good job, when you use it carefully.
    Of course you are right, when you say, that modifications can be too much. HDR technic on the right photographs can support the story of the photo, but used over the edge the result only will be a caricature of the original.
    Viele Grüße von Stefan aus dem vor Hitze stöhnenden Deutschland (yeah!)


    • Thanks Stefan! I agree that filters often change an image too much, leaving a photo as a “caricature of the original” (as you nicely describe it). But that’s your opinion, reflecting your taste. I think we have a similar taste!

      But given the huge amount of filtered photos, and how many likes/comments they get on platforms like Instagram, I am not sure if filters are unnecessary. I believe if we wouldn’t have pre-set filters people would still try to post-edit a shot to make it look like a sketch, watercolour, or apocalyptical event :D It’s part of an artistic expression.

      You’re right; people use/see Instagram as channel for spontaneous documentation. That’s why you always find exceptional photos there; photos of events, newsworthy stories or real time happenings (even a storm or lunar eclipse would fall in that category >>> just to avoid you think I’m talking about selfies and lunch boxes).

      Which brought me to the idea that maybe people apply a bundle of filters to make an event look more dramatic than it is in real life (???). As we all know from the news, dramatic events are more interesting to present than the “average to boring happenings”…

      Or, to create a different theory, people actually like the real time documentary on Instagram and don’t care about the look (???). They’re just happy to stay up to date thanks to a couple of easy to digest photos. So they like the photo topic, not the look.

      Questions over questions! I might be overthinking – if yes, your fault ;)


    • Interesting point Amanda! When I got used to Photoshop 10 years ago, the software had no pre-fabricated filters. That trend really picked up with the introduction of mobile photography / smartphones. So I honestly never thought of filters as a way to show “newbies” what kind of options exist. But now that you say it, I can definitely imagine that filtered looks of one capture are a good starting point to see in which directions a photo could potentially go (for artistic reasons).


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