The most popular filter on Instagram may surprise you

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Instagram filters
X-Pro II is widely used for the drama it brings to a photo. But the most popular "filter" adds no drama at all.
Photo: Iconosquare

Normal is the single-most used filter on Instagram, which means exactly what you think: Normal is not really a filter.

Still, because it lines up alongside Instagram’s 40 native filters, it came out on top, according to a database of 790,000 Instagram users. This is still considered a small sample for a user base that just surpassed 1 billion active users.

The findings were published by Iconosquare, a blog that writes about Facebook and Instagram marketing trends.

The others in the Top 10, starting at No. 2, are Clarendon, Juno, Ludwig, Lark, Gingham, Lo-fi, Aden, Valencia and X-Pro II.

Normal was used 89.5 percent of the time but as Iconosquare’s Olga Rabo wrote, this does not mean a post with a “Normal” photo is unfiltered.

“This doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re all naturals at taking stunning #NoFilter photos,” Rabo said. “In most cases, people still pre-filter their pics on other editing apps before uploading them to Instagram, so have no need to use IG’s native filters anymore and opt for “Normal,” i.ed. no edit at all.”

Rabo thinks the reason is Instagram was initially a photo-sharing app, not one for extensive post-production editing. Instagram started with only a handful of native apps and in order to avoid photos all looking the same, users turned to apps like Snapseed and VSCO to add a stylish finish.

Here are Iconosquare’s insights into the popularity of the other nine filters:

Clarendon – The No. 2 filter increases saturation and contrast, adding a cyan tint to highlight areas. Because it maintains a warmth in the mid-tones, skin looks natural, making it popular for selfies.

Juno – Intensifies reds and yellows and manipulates the contrast to a photo. This filter brings “pop” to photos, Rabo said.

Ludwig – Named for minimalist architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, filter No. 4 reduces saturation and luminance in all the colors, except for red. Ludwig actually increases the vibrancy of red, making it a good choice for portraits and architecture.

Lark – Good for brightening a photo with a slightly washed out effect. This filter increases the saturation of blues and greens and is a favorite of nature photographers.

Gingham – The Hipsters like this one, according to Rabo. The No. 6 filter makes photos look vintage by reducing highlights and saturation and adding a slight haze for atmosphere.

Lo-fi – One of the most popular of all time for the drama it brings by adding shadows and increased saturation. A picture with Lo-fi has a “dramatic look any mascara model would be proud of,” Rabo said. “It’s pretty 90s if you ask me.”

Aden – The No. 8 filter has a retro, dreamy look by softening harsh highlights and bringing a pastel-link tint to some of the colors.

Valencia – Another classic Instagram filter, popular for a yellow hue that adds warmth to any photo. Rabo said, consider this filter when you picture features light pinks and pastels.

X-Pro II – Instagram added this filter to help elevate shots from below-average phone cameras. The No. 10 filter does so with high contrast and a heavy vignetting.

Source: Iconosquare via The Phoblographer