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A Color Story Tips: Filter Stacking!!


Filter stacking with A Color StoryOne of the big reasons we opted against the VSCO or Instagram model of filtering that doesn't technically apply a filter until you save is because we knew we wanted to be able to stack filters! Mix and match, save, and make your own flair. So we're bringing in another AMAZING A Color Story user and master mural-hunter, @rclayton, to talk about her favorite filter combos that can offer a subtle but impactful touch.

Hey, guys! Rosie here, and I'd like to share some of my favorite A Color Story filter combinations with you. Layering various ACS filters can really make your photos come alive. Each filter you layer on will pull out different color elements in your photo and pop varying features. This creates more depth and interest in your photo. I find that the order in which the filters are applied makes a difference in the final photo since each filter is playing off the previous color edit. After I play around with the filter combinations, I make small adjustments with tools and curves to finalize my edit. 

My favorite filter packs are Essentials, Good Vibes, and Chroma. I go to these packs first, and then move on to the others when playing around with the filter combinations. I also tend to use Everyday from the Essentials pack in almost every edit since it's a good baseline and helps boost the brightness and saturation of my original image. Very rarely will I go above 40% on a filter just so the image maintains a natural feel, but there's always an exception!

Filter stacking with A Color Story 31% Lipstick {Essentials}, 16% Everyday {Essentials}, and 9% Punch {Blush}

The Lipstick filter warmed up the photo before anything else, Everyday was added for brightness and some vibrancy, and Punch does exactly what its name implies as well as brightens and adds contrast. 

Filter stacking with A Color Story        24% Lipstick {Essentials}, 15% Pop Song {Good Vibes}, 10% Everyday {Essentials}

Here's a similar but slightly different filter combination where you can see the before and after results. First, I used Lipstick to warm up the pink and blues, then Pop Song to brighten, saturate, and add warmth, and Everyday to again, brighten, even, and add a touch of overall saturation. After this, I worked with tools and bumped up the saturation a ton to create a bolder color combination.

Filter stacking with A Color Story       25% Pool Party {Airy}, 21% Lite Bright {Essentials}, and 12% Punch {Blush}

I found the cutest wall at dinner one night, but we were in a dimly lit space. I took this photo with my iPhone, and the image was really dark and yellow before I applied my ACS filters, which made all the difference! I started with Pool Party to lighten and cool down the image – 25% seemed just the right amount without adding too much blue. After that filter provided some color correction, I wanted to brighten the photo with Lite Bright. Side note: Lite Bright, Ice Ice, and On Lock are my favorite whitening and brightening filters – Lite Bright will whiten and brighten, Ice Ice does the same with a bit more blue and a slightly faded look, and On Lock whitens and brightens with deeper contrast. Punch was the last filter I applied to make the colors pop a bit more. After those three were applied, I played with curves, added brightness, more saturation, decreased warmth, and sharpened. Remember to always use the tools after you apply the filters. Tweaking the image in this final step really makes the photo crisp, vibrant, and puts your own signature on the image.

Filter stacking with A Color Story      21% Everyday {Essentials}, 13% Lipstick {Essentials}

So not every edit I do has three filter layers (and rarely do I use more than three). Here's an example of a very clean, simple edit with Everyday to brighten and add a bit of "oomph" to the original photo. I layered in Lipstick because I wanted to make the sky a warmer blue and bring out the happy, sunny color in those yellow stripes. I boosted the brightness and saturation to make the image bright and bold. 

Filter stacking with A Color Story   26% Everyday {Essentials}, 13% On Lock {Essentials}, 6% Punch {Blush}

Here, Everyday provided an even brightness and saturation boost, On Lock whitened and brightened further, and Punch really made the colors POP! I love this wall, but because of the browns and maroon color, the photo can look a bit dull – I always trust the ACS filters to really brighten it and bring the photo to life!

Filter stacking with A Color Story    22% On Lock {Essentials}, 24% Everyday {Essentials}, 17% Disco Ball {Good Vibes}

As I mentioned previously, On Lock brightens, whitens, and adds contrast. It's such a great filter for white based backgrounds and really cleans up the photo. Everyday was added to boost a little color saturation and vibrancy, and Disco Ball was the finishing touch to cool and brighten because Everyday brought out a bit of the yellow from the track lighting in the space. 

Filter stacking with A Color Story  17% Everyday {Essentials}, 18% Toasty {Essentials}, 13% Magic Hour {Good Vibes}

This photo was on the cooler side due to the silver outfit and the dark green, shaded wall, so I wanted to add some warmth to the image. I used Everyday to add some bright saturation, and then Toasty warmed up the colors and added a touch of yellow/green. Magic Hour was the final filter to warm a bit more with a golden tone. 

Filter stacking with A Color Story     So I know that was a lot to go over, and it seems overwhelming sometimes, but I love that the team at ACS has provided us with so many different filters to give us options. Each image is so different, and you'll definitely find yourself gravitating towards a few specific filters that become your go-tos. Be sure to play around and tap various filters to see how they enhance each image. The one thing that really helps me is using the filter names as a guideline. I bet the team spent hours coming up with just the right name for each filter, and they really do make perfect sense! If you have any questions, feel free to email me, and I'll try to answer them as best I can! -Rosie

Thanks so much, Rosie! Get the app here if you haven't gotten to try A Color Story yet!

Credits//Author and Photography: Rosie Clayton.

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