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The Do’s and Don’ts of Using Filters

Last Updated: Jun 03, 2014 09:36AM EDT
Thanks to Instagram, filters have become extremely popular with digital photography. Nearly everyone who has some experience with photos and graphic design seems to be using filters. Sometimes these effects are breathtaking; sometimes using filters is a mistake. This isn’t a big deal if you’re working with personal photos and graphics. However, if you’re using filters in stock photos, there are some tips you should keep in mind before giving in to the urge to use a filter.
 
Instagram Filter Cameras
 
Use Filters Like Makeup
 
Filters should always be used sparingly. You should never use a filter just because you can. The right filter can make a photo, but the wrong filter can make an otherwise gorgeous photo turn into a major eyesore. Filters are meant to enhance a photo, not distract from it. If the filter is the most noticeable aspect of the photo, you probably should choose a different filter, or not use a filter at all.
 
Avoid Popular Filters
 
It’s tempting to emulate something you like, but there’s always a cascade effect. When photographers see a type of filter they like, they tend to want to try out using that filter right away. Save these experiments for personal projects. When designers use filters en masse, the filter can cause the photograph to turn into a cliche. This is the worst kind of fate possible for a stock photo.

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