Layout Upgrades Instagram


By Molly Freeman

Photo courtesy of Noelle Noble.

When it comes to digital photo sharing, Instagram is the most popular app. With 300 million monthly users worldwide as of December 2014, it would seem Instagram has situated itself as the only photo-sharing app worth using.

However, Instagram itself is actually quite limited in its photo editing capabilities. The app became more user-friendly last summer with its 6.0 update, which allowed photographers to make basic edits like changing the brightness or contrast as well as tweaking the strength of the filters.

To give users more ability for customization, Instagram rolled out a new service this March. The app’s new companion is called Layout. It allows users to create collages and photographic art pieces with a handful of simplistic photo-editing features.

However, one of the early criticisms of Layout is that there are many already-established apps that provide the same, or similar, services. Some apps, such as InstaSize and Afterlight, are used for photo editing, while others, like Diptic and Pic Collage, allow users to create collages of their photos.

The final version of this photo can be found on Instagram. Screenshot by Molly Freeman.

Layout is a direct competitor of those other collage apps like Diptic and Pic Collage, which range in popularity and price in the App Store. Similarly, Instagram’s previously released companion app, Hyperlapse, is competition to other time-lapse apps as well as the iOS 8 camera function.

While Layout may be a competitor of the other collage apps, it’s a strong player. In other collage apps, users choose the layout they wish to use first, then the photos. Many alternative apps don’t allow people to customize the layout.

However, with Layout, users select the photos first, then the frame in which they will be placed. Once done, users can customize the layout and edit the photos. Layout is much more comprehensible, albeit quite simplistic, and allows for plenty more customization than other collage apps.

For anyone who was never fully satisfied by previous photo collage apps–whether because they were too overwhelming or limiting–Layout may provide a worthy alternative.