So, you’re posting regularly on Instagram, at scheduled times with beautiful images, and steadily building your Instagram community. Everything’s going great, but could it be going better? Let’s talk about the best filters to use. #nofilter is popular but have you ever noticed people use this hashtag when their photo looks suspiciously like it does indeed have a filter? Filters are a wonderful way to enhance your already beautiful posts and help you get more likes on Instagram. Under the Manage section of Instagram, you can turn on even more filter options (and hide the filters you don’t want to see).

Which Filter For Which Photo?

Filter choice will depend on what the subject of your photo is. The most popular filters for photos of nature are (in preferential order) Valencia, Normal and Brooklyn. If the focus of your posts is fashion, look to retro filters like Kelvin, Valencia and Nashville. Foodie shots favor using the color-intensifying filters Skyline, Normal and Helena. Lastly, the ever important selfie shots. Coming up first is Normal (no filter), then Slumber and Skyline.

#1 Clarendon

Everyone in the world agrees on this one – Clarendon tops all the lists for most popular Instagram filters. Perfect for capturing a sunset, it adds light to lighter areas and the darker areas get darker. The way it brightens, highlights and intensifies shadows creates an image with color that really pops; this makes it a great all-purpose filter.

Runners Up

When looking at worldwide favorites, Juno, Valencia and Gingham are second-most popular. In America, Gingham, Juno and Lark were the runners-up. Unless you’re using Clarendon, think about where your target audience is based when deciding which Instagram filter to use. For third place again this differs depending on where you’re located. America’s third favorite is Valencia; whereas worldwide you’re looking at Lark as the third choice.


Juno is a popular choice of filter on Instagram for photos with oranges, yellows and reds as it brightens warm hues already present in the image. Great for sunsets, fires or street art, giving these types of photos a rich, deep and almost grungy tone.


A good choice for nature shots because it brightens colors while keeping a cool feel to the image by not intensifying any red tones present. It works as a multi-purpose filter as it is a good choice not only for nature landscapes but for portraits taken in natural light and can also work with foodie shots.


One of Instagram’s many vintage-feel filters, Gingham desaturates the image, washing out the colors to give a nostalgic look. With this filter, darker shots will gain a yellowish tint while brighter photos will appear more exposed.


It’s the most popular overall choice for nature photos and is an excellent Instagram filter option if you have a photo with dull, fine colors such as light pinks or pastels. The yellow hue characteristic of this filter has an 80s nostalgia vibe about it. As well as adding a yellow tint to your picture, Valencia also brightens the colors slightly, making delicate colors more prominent, warming the whole image up.

Of course, these are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the selection of Instagram filters to choose from. Visual analytics platform Curalate, analyzed over eight million Instagram photos with 30 image variables such as dominant color, lightness and saturation. They discovered that bright images perform 24% better than dark images; and images with blue as the dominant color perform 24% better than reds and oranges.

Honorable Mentions

These filters might not make it into the ‘top three’ favorites filters on Instagram, but they are definitely worth mentioning.


Ideal for street photography and autumnal photos, Amaro can be used for any images that need to be brightened. Lighting up the center of the photo, Amaro can give an aged, vintage look to a photo. It brightens the colors in the middle of the photo, making it a great option for any blue eyes or color details you want to accentuate.


Mayfair balances out the colors and shadows in your photo, making it ideal for dimly lit or overexposed images. It’s a flattering choice, warming up the colors and adding a slight vignette to the corners.


As the name suggests, this filter mimics the rising sun. Adding a warm, soft glow to your pictures it makes skin look smooth and adds a refreshing morning glow to anything from food and a mug of coffee, to art and portraits.


If your Instagram photo feed is predominantly filled with architecture and geometric shapes, Ludwig is the choice for you. It brings light and dark to all the right places and picks out the warmest colors to intensify.


Best used for landscapes rather than portraits because it has a tendency to wash people out. The middle of the photo is brightened with a little vignette added around the edges. It makes photos look soft and sophisticated.


The most popular filter for fashion posts, Kelvin works well with lots of natural light and can make even a small amount of sunshine illuminate your whole photo to a gorgeous golden shade. It gives off the impression your photo was taken in the pre-sunset late afternoon, giving your photo a relaxed and romantic feel.

X-Pro II

This filter is worth mentioning because it’s a powerful one and works in the right places but is generally not the best choice because of the darkness it brings to photos. The contrast in the photos is bumped way up, a strong vignette is added and all of the colors of intensified. It also adds in shadows and darkness. The best place to use this filter is with an already bright photo, but generally, it’s one best left alone.

When you make your next Instagram post, think about your filter choice. What type of photos are you taking? Do you want your photos to appear refreshing, warm or vintage? It’s a good idea to keep your filter use consistent, so when people are looking at your profile and see your photos together, they look nice side by side. By making these simple tweaks to your images, it allows brands and Influencers to connect with Instagram users on a visual level, and as a result, see their number of likes and followers increase.