Literally every Instagram user has this inner monologue that keeps them thinking “which of these filters is the best …RISE? No, MAYFAIR, VALENCIA or maybe X-PRO II, but HUDSOM gets the most like though…”.

Well, at long last Science has made some sense out it. Georgia Institute of Technology and Yahoo Labs’ research says it all. Photos uploaded to flickr via mobile devices were examined using a quantitative number of audience views and comments (about 7.6 million photos were used). The researcher came out with what photo editing tool is most effective.

The results: Photos that are edited using filters are more successful in engaging audience than photos that aren’t. In fact 21% more are likely to glance at filtered photos, and for comments, 45% are more likely.
There is a high correlation between filters that increase warmth, exposure and contrast and the chances of engagement audience. On Instagram, filters with overly aggregated effects such as X-PRO II or Kelvin do not get a lot of audience because they look too artificial and can also lead to loss of detail.

t7xnqn2gyd6mfie4ukkntxmzno12gzmca0dkatddgcizarfzyqysee7gdj5qepopit.jpg source: Why We Filter Our Photos and How It Impacts Engagement

Interviews were conducted by the researchers to find out what type of people use the filters. Some Filckr mobile users also confirmed that most people enjoy using and seeing fileted photos. However the difference lies in the type of users who the researchers spoke with – nonprofessional and professional photographers.
Professional Photographers – “a person who takes photographs, especially as a job and owns a professional Camera” – These people are most likely to use filters to fix image errors, to enhance and emphasize a specific object or color
Nonprofessional Photographers – “casual photographers who take pictures of moments, usually with their phones and none professional Cameras” These people use filters to make their pictures appear cooler and fun.
Okay, so your friends say you use filters to make you look cooler in your photos? They may be right, but without the filters you may not engage your followers as much as you wish.