Instagram keeps it simple with Layout

Layout 2 1

We’re no strangers to Instagram in the office. It’s probably one of the “cooler” user-friendly photo and video-sharing apps on the market. Simply take a snap, add a little oomph with your favourite #filter – ours is Mayfair if you’re asking – type a witty caption, then share it with your followers. Don’t forget to post it on your Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr accounts too…extra likes never hurt anyone.

So when a quick #layout search brought up over 230,000 posts (selfies and food pictures galore) within days of Instagram rolling out the app to iPhone users this week, we had to take another look.

According to Instagram’s latest blog post, Layout is fun, simple and gives you a new way to flex your creativity.

Users are shown previews of custom layouts – now we understand the name – as you choose from photos from your camera roll. Drag, drop, pinch, zoom, flip and rotate. Complete artistic control is at your fingertips.

There’s also a Photo Booth button that sets off a countdown for people to take multiple photos simultaneously. Faces, Mirroring and Previews complete Layout’s main features.

Currently a standalone app, an added perk is that you don’t need to have an Instagram or Facebook account to use it. Once you’ve saved a collage, it can be emailed, sent by text or shared to apps including WhatsApp and Dropbox.

A curious drawback is Layout’s cumbersome mismatch with Twitter. Sharing images directly to Facebook or Instagram is simple, but Twitter users have to save collages to their camera roll before posting. This is a continuation of Instagram’s decision in 2012 to stop images shared from its main app showing within tweets.

We must admit our initial thoughts were that Layout was aimed at the selfie obsessed. Nine pictures to a collage must be their dream come true. That was until we saw a collage of American First Lady Michelle Obama on her official visit to Japan and Cambodia.

Dignitaries aside, it seems Layout has been quickly embraced by well-known brands & marketers too with Victoria Secret and Sephora amongst the early adopters.

On the sporting front we’re looking forward to testing Photo Booth’s time-lapse feature, which provides the opportunity to capture movement in a short space of time.  The forthcoming 2015 BMX Supercross World Cup in Manchester will present just the right opportunity.

Our verdict? If it’s good enough for the First Lady of the United States and 300 million active users, it just might be good for enough for us.

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