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Sometimes, a single photo can’t tell the full story. That can be a problem on Instagram, where one picture is all you get. So the popular photo sharing network has released Layout, a new app to make it easy to create collages and share them on Instagram.

While there are plenty of ways to create collages without Photoshop 5 Easy Ways To Create Diptychs & Other Photo Collages Without Photoshop 5 Easy Ways To Create Diptychs & Other Photo Collages Without Photoshop A diptych consists of 2 images displayed side by side, and can often be a creative and attractive way to tell an even more elaborate story with your images. While with a little bit of... Read More , Layout’s focus is on simplicity and the ability to share the images quickly with Instagram and Facebook. Facebook owns Instagram, having bought it for a billion dollars. And if you haven’t heard it already, the Instagram founders’ story is very interesting $1 Billion In 2 Years: The Story Of Instagram, As Told By Its Founders $1 Billion In 2 Years: The Story Of Instagram, As Told By Its Founders "What are some good places to get professional business cards printed?" When Kevin Systrom put this innocuous question on Quora 3.5 years ago, little did he know how valuable those business cards would become. Read More .

Things to Know About Layout

Layout-from-Instagram-collage-edit-replace-mirror-flip

  • Layout is a separate app from Instagram, just made by the same developers.
  • You do not need an Instagram or Facebook account to use Layout.
  • It is a free app with no in-app purchases at the moment.
  • Layout is currently available only for iPhones and iPads running iOS 7 or later.

What Can You Do With Layout?

  • The word “collage” isn’t exactly what Layout does. Its focus is more on diptychs and triptychs—i.e. a photo collection with two or three panes, each with an image in it.
  • Layout mainly uses images from your Photos gallery, you don’t shoot new pictures with the app (except in Photo Booth, which we will come to later).
  • So open Layout, select multiple images to put together into a collage, and choose a layout—for e.g. three vertical panes, one rectangle and two squares, split screen, and so on. You can see a live preview of what your final image will look like.

Layout-from-Instagram-edit-share

  • Finally, you can edit individual images in the collage. You can pinch in or out to zoom. You can flip an image vertically or mirror it horizontally. Or you can just replace an image.
  • Once you’re done, save the image or share it on Instagram, Facebook or other options in your iOS share menu. If sharing on Instagram, you can apply filters there.
  • Photo Booth is another cool feature, where you can take a series of four selfies within the Layout app to create a quick collage of your reaction to something.

Layout-from-Instagram-photo-booth-selfies

What Can’t You Do With Layout?

  • The app itself does not come with Instagram’s range of filters, that is still restricted to the Instagram app.
  • Layout only supports still images, not videos or GIFs.
  • You can’t add captions to the collage or edit the images in any way apart from the options available i.e. resize, flip and mirror.

Tips to Use Layout Creatively

Layout opens up more possibilities in what you can do with your photos. For example, if you want to show off your new outfit, you can use a split pane to demonstrate multiple angles, like so:

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Layout-from-Instagram-dress-diptych

Mirroring and flipping images can lead to some cool effects. It’s all about getting creative, like so:

If these walls could tell a story. #cuba #havana #layout

A photo posted by Khaver Siddiqi (@khaversiddiqi) on

The Social Media Today blog shares four creative ways to get more out of Layout, especially to push your brand. In each instance, they offer tips on how to send your message across well. For example, when you’re using three images in a comic strip-like fashion to tell a progressing story, make sure the user can understand it without needing to look at a caption.

We have some more tips on how to turn random snapshots into a uniform-looking photo series How To Turn Random Snapshots Into A Uniform-Looking Photo Series How To Turn Random Snapshots Into A Uniform-Looking Photo Series A few tricks can save you hours of editing in Photoshop. Let's say you want to combine a random set of photos into a harmonious series. How about taking a creative shortcut? Read More .

What About Android Users?

Right now, Layout is available only for iOS, but Instagram has announced that in the coming months, an Android version will be available. If you can’t wait, you can already create beautiful collages for Instagram Create Beautiful Collages For Instagram With Photo Grid for Android Create Beautiful Collages For Instagram With Photo Grid for Android Ah, the coveted Instagram Like. Many of us say we don't care, but it's hard to remain truly blasé in the face of 15 (or 150) Likes on that photo you've uploaded yesterday. Read More with Photo Grid for Android. It’s free and has plenty more options than Layout.

Layout vs. Competitors

Layout isn’t the first collage-making app, and it won’t be the last. We’ve already shared some impressive diptych and triptych making apps for iOS Create Impressive Diptychs & Triptychs On Your iPhone or iPad Create Impressive Diptychs & Triptychs On Your iPhone or iPad Once upon a time, you had to know some Photoshop tricks to create your own diptychs and triptychs. This is no longer the case. Read More . In fact, Instagram is now in a bit of controversy since there is an existing collage-making app called Layout on the App Store, which was named in the App Store’s Best of 2012 collection. Its developer Mike Swanson alleges Instagram is being “insincere” in launching an app that does the same thing, by the same name:

In this case, I’m sure that Instagram first tried to register Layout as the app name. When the App Store rejected the name as already in use, they simply tacked on “from Instagram” to pass the uniqueness test. The fact that they made this decision willingly and decided to release it under that name anyway—all-the-while knowing that it would cause confusion with an existing app—is what makes me sad.

We tried out Juicy Bits’ Layout app and found it had far, far more features than Instagram’s Layout, such as the ability to add captions, plenty of editing options for each image, and so on. It is quite easy to use too. The only catch? It costs $2, compared to Instagram’s free version.

Our recommendation would be to buy Juicy Bits’ Layout if you find yourself using collages a lot. But to start off, get Layout from Instagram now, try it out and see how much you like making collages and diptychs.

Download: Layout from Instagram for iOS 7 and up (Free)

Share Your Creative Layouts

Since this is a new way of telling a story through images, we are curious how you are approaching it. If you have used Layout or have a creative suggestion on how to use it, drop a line or share a link in the comments below!

  1. Linda Williams
    March 15, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    Layout is a great app, but kind of restrictive in the sense that it allows to create only photo collages. I've been using PhotoVideoCollage lately, because it lets you create video collages in addition to photo collages.
    The app is free, so whoever's interested can check it out on photovideocollage.com.

  2. Rob
    April 10, 2015 at 10:01 am

    This looks pretty nice. Given that it's from the founders of Instagram, I expect it to be pretty nice to use... I'll be giving it a try as soon as I can!

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    April 9, 2015 at 4:48 pm

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