Review: Layout is an OK free collage maker from Instagram

instagram, layout, layout for instagram, collage, iphone, photo, iphoneography, mobile photo

If you’ve been debating what app to use for creating Instagram collages, you might not have to look any more. Instagram has just released an app called Layout that will easily create some very nice photo collages. It’s free, easy to use, and will meet a lot of people’s needs if you want quick and dirty.

The app gives you templates that hold up to 9 photos. Pick the photos, assign a layout, then you can individually adjust the position of each photo within the frame, flip any photo, or mirror it, or replace a particular image with another photo.

 

The app offers a “Faces” mode, so it will scan your library and only display photos with faces. I tried that feature and it worked very well. That’s a time saver. The app saves your collage to your camera roll, and allows you to upload it to Instagram, or Facebook, or some other social services, but Instagram is the main attraction here and the photo will output in the square Instagram format.

A “Recents” tab will show you your last 30 photos, and you can output any photo to other apps for adding filters or other effects.

Happily, the app does not require you to create an account. It doesn’t matter if you are a Facebook or Instagram user. So make your collage and just save it to your camera roll for whatever use you want to put it to.

Up until now, Instagram didn’t offer a collage feature, so some will say it’s about time. On the other hand, Layout is pretty basic, there’s nothing offered for custom frames or text. Another issue is the resolution of the images. I saved a few to my Camera roll and they were 750×750 pixels, far lower than what any iPhone can display. You can’t select a higher resolution. You get what you get.

Other Options

A better option is Diptic from Peak Systems. It has a lot more designs and is also free. There are some in-app purchases that can add textures, text etc, but the basic app is quite solid. Even better, Diptic saves at a much higher resolution, up to 3264×3264 pixels. It has filters built-in so you don’t have to output your work to another app to add them.

Another nice collage app is ProCollage ($1.99). It let’s you size the frames on your own, supports up to 9 photos, allows text overlays and patterns, and allows a lot of creativity in how the final product looks. It outputs at up to 1800×1800 pixels, far better than Layout.

The Bottom Line

I think it makes sense for Instagram to offer a collage app, but it could also have been included in some of their other Instagram created photo apps. Having to integrate it to your own external editors is a bit of a drag. On the other hand, if Layout does the tasks you want, it’s certainly good enough.

Layout is pretty basic, but it’s easy for on-the-fly collages if you aren’t too picky about the quality. I expect Layout to be popular, but I’d also like to see Instagram add more features and higher photo quality.

 

App Store link: Layout from Instagram – Instagram, Inc.

 

Well, is Layout worth the download? Let us know what you think in the talkback below.

– Mel Martin


If you've been debating what app to use for creating Instagram collages, you might not have to look any more. Instagram has just released an app called Layout that will easily create some very nice photo collages. It's free, easy to use, and will meet a lot of people's needs if you want quick and dirty. The app gives you templates that hold up to 9 photos. Pick the photos, assign a layout, then you can individually adjust the position of each photo within the frame, flip any photo, or mirror it, or replace a particular image with another photo.…
It's free, easy to use, and will meet a lot of people's needs if you want quick and dirty.

Layout from Instagram 1.0

Effects Quality
Resolution and Image Quality
User Interface
Price/Value

Good Enough

It's free, easy to use, and will meet a lot of people's needs if you want quick and dirty.

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About Mel Martin 122 Articles
Mel Martin is an experienced writer and photographer. He spent 6 years at TUAW writing about photography for the Mac and the increasing catalogue of iOS apps that have made the iPhone the preferred camera for so many. Mel hails from Missouri, attended college in Iowa, and spent most of his life in journalism. He now lives in Arizona, a great place for iPhone photography.

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