How to Add More Dimensions to Your Social Media Photo Posts

It’s easier than ever to edit your social media pictures to heady heights, using sophisticated yet accessible tech to add an artistic element.

Jeff Broth, Contributor
4-minute read
The Quick And Dirty

Social media users are using photo editing apps to edit in more artsy elements to their snaps, like special effects, moody filters, and shapes, to better express themselves.

It’s becoming more common to make obvious, artistic edits to otherwise normal pictures when sharing a post on social media. 

Much like Instagram and Snapchat filters affected the way people interact with their photos, great photo editing apps give users a way to make sure the picture they share tells the story they want it to. This can include a specialized filter, a special effect, or even adding in additional visual elements.

Photo editing apps are changing social media

Social media has always been a way to express yourself online. In the early days, almost every picture on Instagram used one of their innovative filters. However, it was difficult to do much more than make a photo sepia or increase the saturation. Most complex photo-editing software was still expensive and hard to use.

As the technology became more accessible, more social media users began adopting it. At first, apps like Facetune were touted as a great way to make your face and body look nicer, but as the appetite for authenticity in social media rises, users learned how to make overt edits that help them express their artistic sides, rather than only smoothing away a wrinkle.

Today’s social media users are embracing edits as a way to turn smartphone snaps into icons of pop surrealism. 

With AI-enhanced photo editing technology, you get to use your photo to tell the story you want in just a few taps. With a color edit, or by adding in some decorative elements like clouds or geometric shapes, you can expand on the two-dimensional nature of your picture and share more of what you were feeling or thinking. 

How do these photo-editing apps work?

The premise of using one of these apps is simple. First, you download it. Then, you upload a picture to it. From there, most apps offer a range of different editing options. You can add them one at a time until you’ve elevated your original picture to an artistic edit that conveys a message. 

Most photo editing apps offer an option to quickly compare the before-and-after shots, which is a great way to gauge the impression you've created.

One example of a photo-editing app is Artleap. This app, developed by Lightricks, lets you turn your photos into art with a wide variety of options with an easy-to-use interface.

To get started, you can either go into the app with an idea of what you want to create, or play around with the options to see what speaks to you. 

Here are some of the options they offer.

Special effects

One possibility is using one of their special effects. Artleap has a library of options, but one that’s been popular with users is the shattering option. Here’s an example from @TheRealAlexandraShow, a hairstylist and coach on Instagram.

This sort of edit is arresting, grabbing the attention of anyone who might be causally thumbing through their feed. The effect is powerful. 

Add a Filter

While Instagram filters are famous, they’re very one-size-fits-all. Artleap has a library of filters to choose from, but it also offers options to effectively create your own filter. This is great for enhancing or altering the mood of the image. Here’s an example from @MamaThodebird on Instagram.

Here, she’s created a peaceful, one-hued image that evokes calm and warmth, and the glitter halo addition turns it into an ode to religious iconography. 

It’s almost sepia, but not quite. The tone (and her mood) perfectly matches her pose. This tool can be especially useful for those who want to curate not just one picture but a whole set of them, to ensure their entire Instagram grid looks similar. 

Digital artwork

Along with special effects and filters, you can also add artwork like paint-strokes or neon wiring on any element of your photo. This makes your photo eye-catching and more communicative than just a simple selfie. For example, take a look at @garimabharucha’s piece here:

She’s added the box around her head, which corresponds to her caption (“boxing to unbox, trap the untrapped, and you shall be free”). She’s also blurred the background, to make herself the standout element in the photo. 

The filter is sophisticated enough to lighten the upper parts of her body incrementally, so although she’s leaning away from the camera, her face is the brightest focal point. Finally, she has made her arms and face luminescent, making her look almost backlit. 

The overall effect goes far beyond what the original photo could have told us as a viewer. 

All these options offer a bouquet of possibilities to users, from making small highlights that can change how a photo is perceived, all the way to transforming a photo into digital art. 

From filters to all-out artistic edits, photo editing apps like Artleap are giving you a way to add more dimensions to your social media posts, in just a few taps.