Instagram becomes less Insta, more VSCO, with latest update to version 6.0

by Felix Esser

posted Tuesday, June 3, 2014 at 1:37 PM EST


Instagram has just announced version 6.0 of its popular photo editing and sharing app for Android and iOS, and the new version brings a couple of significant changes that many advanced users will appreciate. Besides a general retouch of the app's design and interface, Instagram seems to have gone in the same direction as Apple did with the recent updates to its Photos app in iOS 8, by introducing a number of manual fine-tuning options that will help giving photos a more personal look.

Recently, the iOS version of Instagram received a minor update that included a slider to fine-tune the HDR effect, which was already a step in the right direction. The new version of the mobile photography app now lets the user edit many of the basic parameters of a photo, such as brightness, color, saturation and more before applying a filter and uploading it to their stream -- which reminds us a lot of VSCO Cam and its workflow. The full list of the new, customizable settings reads as follows (from the press release):

  • Adjust: crop and straighten your photo at the same time
  • Brightness: make your photo brighter or darker
  • Contrast: make the bright areas of your photo brighter, and the dark areas darker
  • Warmth: shift the colors of your photo towards either warmer orange tones or cooler blue tones
  • Saturation: increase or decrease the color intensity of the image (e.g. red becomes redder)
  • Highlights: adjust the brightness focusing on the bright areas of the image
  • Shadows: adjust the brightness focusing on the dark areas of the image
  • Vignette: darken the edges of the photo and direct the attention away from the edges towards the center of the photo
  • Sharpen: add a subtle crispness to your photo and make photo clearer
  • Filter Strength: tap on a filter to adjust the filter strength (Border is now within Filter Strength; tap on a filter to add a border)

Speaking to PetaPixel, Instagram's CEO revealed that the update to the app was not conceived over the weekend, but has indeed been long in the making. With the added functionality, the latest version of Instagram not only rivals the capabilities of VSCO Cam or the upcoming Photos app in iOS 8, but also that of some higher-end processing softwares such as Photoshop and Lightroom -- to a certain degree at least.

The update should be great news for the more demanding mobile photographers, some of which may previously have pre-edited their pictures before importing them into Instagram. Now those extra editing steps can be done directly in the Instagram app, helping you fine-tune and personalize your shots even further. Especially useful could be the ability to adjust the strength of the built-in filters, which could previously a bit over the top at times.

Instagram version 6.0 is available now for iOS via iTunes and for Android via the Google Play Store.

Related stories:

Apple announced some pretty significant upgrades to iOS photo capabilities at yesterday's WWDC.

Flickr aped Instagram big-time in their iOS app update earlier this year. 

How to up your mobile photography game, from Instagram celebrity Dan Rubin.