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These Are The Best Instagram Filters, According To Science

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Photo: Courtesy of Instagram.
The genius researchers at Yahoo Labs and Georgia Tech finally put their collective brain to good use. They analyzed 7.6 million photos from Flickr and Instagram to definitively answer the question: Which Instagram filter is actually the best?

The researchers found that filtered photos have significantly more engagement than un-doctored images, and filters that increase warmth, exposure, and contrast up engagement the most. By using the "right" filter, you can increase that shelfie's chances of being viewed by 21%, and the number of comments by 45%. Guess we're going to start taking our filter choices more seriously.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the findings correlate with psychological studies of color: Warm tones such as red and yellow can elicit feelings of arousal and cheerfulness, the authors write. Those are the same hues that performed well in this study. The researchers also concluded that filters that increase saturation don't increase engagement, and ones that add old-timey effects result in fewer comments. (Translation: Your followers are tired of your daguerreotypes.)

According to all this wisdom, filters such as Mayfair, Rise, Valencia, Hefe, and Nashville are good choices if you're looking to maximize your views, likes, and comments. Instagram must have realized this, given that most of its recent filter additions — Lark, Slumber, and Aden, to name a few — add a warm-yellow or pinkish hue to images. Filters like Lo-Fi and X-Pro II, however, are both very saturated, so not as likely to get you a ton of likes.

If you're going for engagement, you should avoid filters with a cool, bluish tint, like Amaro, Hudson, and Walden. We're not sure what's up with Sierra — it highlights both yellows and blues, so maybe try it? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

There you have it. Now you have an excuse for why nobody liked that one photo you loved so much. It wasn't your photography skills; it was just the wrong filter. Go forth and make your Memorial Day BBQ Instas the envy of everyone. 
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