My 6 Favorite Instagram Apps

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At the end of each fun day as we settle in bed preparing for book reading, I scroll through my photos from the day on my iPhone 7S, deleting, favoriting, and editing. This process has become a conversation with my children as they see the pictures and we discuss our favorite parts of the day, consolidating memories before sleep.

Instagram provides a window into my life for others to see how gentle parenting, unschooling, and family travel bring us a life of joy, connection, and freedom. (Click here to follow me!) It also allows me to connect with others with similar passions and peek into their lives for inspiration.

There are a few apps that are essential to my process that I wanted to share with my fellow momarazzi.

1. VSCO: This is my primary editing app. I don’t use a filter but I do have a consistent post process that gives my gallery a consistent style: warm, natural, and rural. I adjust the crop, up the exposure and temperature, down the contrast, and green it up a bit. Playing with the levels can help you fine tune your signature style too.

2. Retouch: This app allows me to remove annoying objects from my photos and can be fun to play with. For example, I removed power lines from a waterfall. It’s not an everyday app but when you take that amazing shot and there is a power line in the middle of it – Touch Retouch to the rescue!

3. Phonto: I actually don’t have any text overlaid on any of my images right now but I keep this app in my Instagram folder just in case I ever feel so compelled. It quickly and easily lays text over your image with good font and design style.

4. Spark Video: This app is stunning and allows you to create top notch videos with trimmed clips, text overlay, photos, narration, and music. I’ve not yet posted a video using it but I can’t wait to put together a sweet clip real from a big adventure.

5. Mosaico: This app allows you to preview your gallery and manage tags. You can make your individual photo look lovely in VSCO, but if you want to try out photo placement in your gallery as a whole, Mosaico allows you to do that. You can simply drag and drop photos in different placements to find a good balance and a perfect posting order. One major downside is that it doesn’t do video – boo! The biggest benefit for me is that this app manages all my hashtags with tag clouds. If my photo is about unschooling, for example, I simply click that cloud and it pops in for me to copy.

6. Buffer: This is the app that facilitates time efficiency and storying for me. While I process my photos at the end of each adventure day, I don’t actually post them then. I might get 5 special photos from one afternoon and I don’t want to dump them into Instagram all at once. Sara Tasker tells me consistency is king, so I spread them out to once a day. When I was manually posting one photo at a time, I found that my captions felt disjointed. With this app, I sit down one afternoon and set up the next 10 days of posts with photos, captions, and tags, allowing for a more coherent story across posts. Then each morning at 10am a little notification pops up on my phone and a couple mindless clicks later my post is live. I can also utilize this app to automate posts on other social media platforms so it’s a definite win in my book.

In all honesty, I wish there was one app that had all this mojo. But until VSCO adds a drag and drop gallery or Buffer adds tag clouds (hint, hint VSCO and Buffer), or Instagram gets all of the above, here I sit toggling between camera, photos, VSCO, Mosaico, and Buffer.

Which Instagram apps do you love? Who are your favorite people to follow? How does Instagram add to the joy on your journey?

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