Beginner Cat Photo Skills

Instagram Photos Without Filters: Worth It?

Instagram is a social media platform that is known for its highly filtered photos. But what if you wanted to post a cat photo on Instagram without using any filters at all? Would it still look good? Do you have to rely on filters to make an impact? I don’t think so, and here’s why. [Revised 2023]

Thankful Thursday Graphic at Dash Kitten

In a challenge I saw recently in the book 52 Assignments, you were asked to photograph buildings in natural light with no filters, but as I have not been anywhere near interesting buildings recently so I have had to compromise and photograph what I could, at the right time of day. Check out how I did with my cats and unfiltered Instagram!

The challenge was interesting as you were asked not to use any filters at all. Try in a pretend smrtphone frame looking out.

Instagram Photos with No Filter What a Challenge
  • You must select ‘Normal’ and avoid the staged or artificial look filters can give your photographs. Your only aid should be the golden hour of light around sunset/sunrise.

You can see the effective use of golden hour in the image of Sienna above.

#NoFilter as a Statement

The hashtag #nofilter on Instagram is a statement of intent rebelling against the extravagant use of filters by some Instagrammers. Their search for a unique look means they overuse filters in a bid to look unique. This has provoked a backlash from frustrated users who use their own hashtag vocabulary with such statements as #nofilterneeded and #nofilter to show they have not felt they need a filter to make an impact.

A New #52Assignments Challenge with cats

No Filters? Why Not?

For the challenge I mention at the start of this post, your photograph has to be interesting enough to stand on its own with no editing so it needs to make a statement with light alone. The photograph above is a story photo. What is going on? Are the two cats, Toulouse (tabby) and Thomas playing? Is something more serious happening? The low light casts dramatic long shadows and adds texture across the grass throwing their figures into shadow.

Toulouse was captured early in the evening in this image. I am just about holding on to the light and it is still an effective shot

Does it work for non pet photos as well?

Yes! I have included one non-cat #nofilter shot as I know my readers love seeing about anything fun and unusual from New Zealand. After reporting on the Pohutakawa tree and its drifts of red snow that happen each summer, I thought you might like to see a close-up of the flower. The drifts of red I mention in my post come from the slim orange or red flowers.

A New #52Assignments Challenge with flowers
Smartphone Photo © Dash Kitten

Not adding a filter means you, the cat photographer, have to rely on light and your own judgement to take a picture. It’s all about using your imagination and learning to see pictures in special light. Now are you ready to try?

Marjorie Dawson

Marjorie is a motorbike riding blogger and award winning cat photographer who believes that everyone can create impressive cat photographs and fun movies with the camera they carry.

She is a Professional Member of the Cat Writers Association, Kuykendall Image Award winner and published photographer at the Guardian newspaper.

13 thoughts on “Instagram Photos Without Filters: Worth It?”

  1. Marvelous pictures! I love that golden hour light! I’m using the phone and posting mostly on IG. The phone offers “enhance”, “dynamic”, and a few others and I use the first two only. So I guess those are considered filters? If I post on IG it has a row of what it calls filters. I may have used that once. I mostly just use the few editing options IG also offers.

  2. No filters look plenty darn good to us! Thanks for joining Angel Brian’s Thankful Thursday Blog Hop.

  3. We are not fans of filters except for occasional use. Everything has a filter today and it is way overused. If you have a “real” camera and know how to take photos, there is no need for a filter, but everyone uses a phone, photos are not that great, and filters help hide all the flaws. We opposed filtering everything.

    • Exactly why I want to encourage smartphone users to think about their photos and how to use real light!

  4. Oh, MY! I have lots of pics taken at what I would have thought were not so good times on account of the sun(light) being all wrong. I don’t use filters at the time of taking pictures, and mostly I just up the brightness of those that seem dull.
    Hmmm, I wonder if I have any of structures…not likely, but I will hint. Mostly they are of things in my yard as well…I haven’t taken my camera to anywhere either than my backyard lately…stupid virus has much to do with that!

  5. I really enjoyed viewing your ‘natural’ photographs. Sometimes, the filters make an image look completely fake. Your challenges give me so much to think about when I take my own photos; thank you!

  6. You did a really great job on this no filter assignment. The best light is the natural light that hits just right. My favorite is the first shot. The reflection of the natural sun off the cat’s coat and the motion is captivating. Keep doing your thang!

  7. I am reading and think am getting better with my photos but I really need a better camera which hopefully will get one of these days. Thanks for the blog hop

  8. I’m terrible with a camera. I leave it to those that know what they are doing. Beautiful shots.

    Have a fabulous Thankful Thursday. ♥

  9. Yes, what Brian said! We are thinking of you, dear ones, and hoping you are safe from the earthquake and tsunami.

  10. That flower is gorgeous! I hope the earthquakes and tsunami leave you alone, yikes. Thanks for joining our Thankful Thursday Blog Hop!


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