How to use photo filters to enhance your images


Filters are a fantastic way to transform a lack lustre shot into a vibrant and striking image.

Each preset photo filter in Canva has unique characteristics; familiarise yourself with them all or read on to learn how to create your own.

Here we introduce you to the basics of using photo filters in Canva – from where to find them and how to apply them, to how to use them to create character in your designs!

01. Add a filter to enhance the mood of your images

1

Experiment with filters to alter the mood or feel of your images. The best filter for your design will vary depending on your content, so make sure you have a clear idea about the emotions you want to project.

In this case, ‘Drama’ has been applied; one of several easy-to-use enhancing filters in Canva.

02. Apply filter codes for consistency

2

Filter codes can be found on the bottom right of the advanced slider. If you’re making your own unique filter, copy and paste the code for consistency; a great tool for brand images.

Try your filter out on a few different images to ensure it applies well to different styles. Some images that are more over-exposed than others will respond to an application of contrast or brightness differently.

03. Apply a vignette

3

The human eye sees a focal point within an image which is what becomes visually appealing. Applying a vignette will enhance this process.

Don’t overexert the vignette as it can look contrived or fake – use it to enhance the focus of your image.

Vignette is a particularly nice effect to apply to a black and white image as the dark gradient works well on monochrome.

04 . Revert images back to ‘normal’

4

The ‘Normal’ setting refers to your original state of your image – before any filters have been applied. Be cautious not to get carried away with the filters, as images can become over-exposed, over saturated or very unnatural quiet easily.

Check how your filter setting is looking by clicking ‘Normal’ on your presets to your image back to its original state.

05. Apply the same preset filter consistently

5

Apply the same preset filter to your images for quick easy and visually effective results.

If your image needs a little more contrast or saturation, you can add and edit these presets in the advanced sliders. If you are using a grid, give the photos an extra something special by lining up a feature (like a common horizon line) from photo to photo.

Inspired to start designing? Complete the interactive tutorial below to put your new design knowledge into action! 

Poppie is passionate about helping people become better designers. As Canva’s Senior Graphic Designer, she’s responsible for many of Canva’s amazing graphics including the daily design tips on Canva’s social, runs educational webinars and workshops and recently authored a book – How to Create a Memorable Brand that Catches On. Got a design question? Ask her on Twitter @poppiepack.