Internet Windows

5 Desktop Apps to Give An Instagram-Like Effect to Your Photos

Matt Smith 01-07-2014

Instagram is a hit on mobile platforms, and for good reason. There’s no better way to make your selfie pop 5 Things To Avoid When Taking Selfies Selfies shouldn’t be taken lightly, and there are many things you need to avoid. Read More than a little artistic touch, even if that touch comes from a standardized filter. The only problem with Instagram is the fact its app only works on Android and iOS. What if you want to filter your photos later, on your PC, and upload them directly to Facebook or some other network? You have a few options.



Exeone’s Vintager is a purpose-built tool for adding filters to photos on your desktop. It exists for no other reason and is entirely free to download and use. The developer’s other (paid) apps are unrelated to this one; it seems a side project.


Even so, the app does what you’d expect, and does it very well. A solid selection of filters are included alongside basic crop, rotate, resize and contrast adjustments. You can also choose from seven different “frames” (i.e. borders), as well as an optional depth of field effect.

You can edit images in a series, one by one, using the “previous” and “next” navigation buttons. There’s no batch editing 7 Free Apps to Batch Edit, Resize, & Rename Images Some of the most common edits your images will have to go through are simple things such as resize, rename, format conversion, basic color fixes, etc. While you can’t be expected to sit through an... Read More option here, but this is the next best thing. Vintager is a solid choice if you want a simple, free, no-nonsense filter app.

Camerabag 2

Though it performs a similar task, Camerabag 2 is otherwise the direct opposite of Vintager. The latter is simple, but also fairly limited. Camerabag 2 is more complex, but offers a huge volume of options.

Most of these options come from the ridiculous variety of filters available here. You’re spoiled for choice, and at least some of the filters are arranged in a unique way; by year. In other words, you can select a filter based on the vintage you’d like to apply to your photo, with preset choices ranging from 1937 to 1985. But don’t worry; you can add all the usual named filters you’d normally expect, and a lot more besides.


The filters are joined by a wide range of more precise adjustments. You can crop, change color temperature, alter exposure, move the RGB curve and far, far more. We’re talking Photoshop-level detail adjustment Adobe Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts 101 Whether you're a beginner or a pro, these Adobe Photoshop keyboard shortcuts will save you hours of time. Read More . Oh, and borders? You’ll find plenty of those, too.

What’s the catch? You have to pay $20 after a free 15 day trial. Also, the program crashed at launch when I first downloaded it. Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable for Visual Studio 2013 is required, but oddly was not installed alongside the software.


Pixlr is known for its online photo editor, Pixlr Editor, which is basically a stripped-down Photoshop that’s available for free through your web browser. The organization also provides Pixlr-o-matic, however, which is very basic filter app for the PC.


There’s not a ton to say about this app. The selection of filters is excellent (better than Vintager, in fact), and joined by some very basic editing tools, like aspect ratio adjustment. Other basic tools are missing, though; there’s no crop, no exposure adjustment, no color balance.

But hey, it’s free and it’s online, so you can use it at any moment on any computer with an Internet connection. You can also use if offline, if you’d like, by downloading the app’s tiny executable.


Most people, most of the time, only need to add a single filter to a single photo at a time. But what if you’re the exception and you want to add a ton of filters at once? Then you need BatchPhoto from Bits & Coffee.


This tool isn’t built for adding filters specifically, but filters are a significant part of its feature set. There are about 36 filters in total, and they’re joined by image color adjustments and the ability to add watermarks. You build a job by deciding what filters you want to use and then apply them to all the photos in the batch in one go. With all of this said, not all the filters are great for providing a vintage look, and you may need to get creative to produce the results desired.

While it doesn’t match the fine detail as CameraBag 2, BatchPhoto does offer more options and detailed adjustments than Vintager. The big downside, once again, is price; this software will set you back $29.95, but a free trial version is available. Check out our full BatchPhoto review Easily Edit Multiple Photos At Once With BatchPhoto for Windows and Mac [Giveaway] Have you ever taken a lot of photos and needed to edit them all at once? Whether they need to be resized, rotated, or combined into a photo album, editing the photos one-by-one can be... Read More to learn more.


Another solid choice for batch editing, Fotor is a multiple-purpose app for the PC that offers Photoshop-style image editing, collaging and batch editing with filters and other effects, like borders. Since we’re talking about Instagram from your desktop we’ll just focus on the batch features.


There is a very wide varity of options here. Detailed image adjustments are less than what you’ll find with BatchPhoto or CamreaBag 2, but there are almost as many filters as the latter. You can also batch edit photo names, add borders and throw in some additional “scene” effects like sunset and clouds.

Surprisingly, Fotor is free. The app does include advertising for additional software from the developer, EverImaging, and frequently prompts users to review the software. This pop-up asks users to post reviews on Chrome’s Web Store even when using the desktop version, which is arguably deceptive.


Normally, I like to round up an article with some best-of recommendations, but that’s hard to do here. All of these apps will let you mimic the photo filtering capabilities of Instagram, but do so in different ways. Some users will like the detail of CameraBag 2, others will demand the batch capabilities of BatchPhoto, and still others will prefer the simplicity of Pixlr-O-Matic. Each app defines itself in some way.

What’s your choice? Is it one of the apps here, or have you found another Instagram-a-like? Let us know in the comments.

Explore more about: Batch Image Editing, Image Editor.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Enjoyed this article? Stay informed by joining our newsletter!

Enter your Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Bahtiyar
    January 27, 2018 at 10:11 am

    Thank you very much for this helpful article. I really need Instagram like app for PC.

  2. barks
    April 4, 2017 at 11:29 am

    Check out it's a real cure for photos. I use it as first aid and the other filters work better with it.

  3. Elizabeth
    July 8, 2016 at 2:45 pm

    Hey, I'm interested in how they effect the quality of the photo as want to print my photos to relatively large sizes but instagram strips to much - do these vary or do all leave high megapixel images? Thanks

    • Lorena
      April 13, 2017 at 8:44 pm

      pixlr-o-matic does save your photos as a smaller file, the 1.2 MB photo added a filter to got saved into 765 KB. I would also like to keep the size for printing, if you found how let me know.

      • Megan
        April 8, 2018 at 12:40 am

        Did you ever figure out how to keep your size?

    June 28, 2016 at 2:23 am

    I recommend Adobe Lightroom :)

  5. afraz
    February 11, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    koi nhi sab jhoot hai

  6. Jason
    January 19, 2015 at 6:45 am

    Thank you Matt Smith for an interesting and useful article. As a photographer even I sometimes appreciate the simple programs mentioned here, to give my images that little bit of extra pop or creativity while also saving bags of time. Cheers.

  7. Anonymous
    July 16, 2014 at 12:16 pm


  8. Ashok k
    July 2, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    Thanx. All these are quite simple apps to edit photos otherwise desktop photo editing softwares are hard to master at.

  9. Tim Matheny
    July 1, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    Fotor is also available for the Mac in the Mac App Store.

  10. Optimus Prime
    July 1, 2014 at 2:24 pm