The researchers at Yahoo labs have just quantified the use of filters on digital photos. Say what you want about the death of the art of photography – filters will get your photos noticed.
“We find two groups of serious and casual photographers among filter users,” write the researchers at Yahoo Labs. “The serious see filters as correction tools and prefer milder effects. Casual photographers, by contrast, use filters to significantly transform their photos with bolder effects.”
The best filters for engagement, however, tended to be the ones that increase warmth, exposure, and contrast, rather than the cooler, more obscuring ones.
This is big news if you’re looking to get popular on sites like Flickr and Instagram.
The Yahoo Labs team interviewed 15 Flickr (which is owned by Yahoo) photo producers to see how they used and perceived filters. The team then analyzed 7.6 million Flickr photos to see which got viewed and commented on more often.
Apparently, if you use a photo filter like the ones popularized by Instagram or the iPhone camera itself, your pictures are 21 percent more likely to be viewed, and 45 percent more likely to get commented on.
While Yahoo Labs found warmer filters to increase engagement, an earlier study using Instagram photos found almost the opposite, that photos with cool color filters tended to do better than warmer ones. Go figure.
Bottom line, though, if you’re looking to get more response on your Flickr photos (or your Instagram snaps), be sure to cater to the preferences of the other folks using that photographic social network.