In the increasingly overpopulated app universe, name brand carries a lot of weight. This is what immediately captured our eye about the recently released Layout from Instagram, so we decided to take it for a spin. Here’s what we found.
Billed as a photo remix app, Layout answers the call from the collage-hungry Instagrammers of the world – many of whom up to this point have had to use third-party apps to doctor their photos prior to importing them to Instagram so they could share them with their pallies. With the arrival of Layout, you can now pretty much do it all within the Instagram ecosystem.
In order for the app to fly, you’ve got to give it access to your Camera Roll. This brings up an interface that lets you thumb through all of your photos. You can filter your images by Faces (which isolates photos with people in them) and Recents (which brings up your most recently taken snapshots).
From here, you get to choose up to nine photos to include in your collage. As you add a photo, Layout creates a series of randomized collages that you can swipe through. What’s cool about this, though, is that all layouts can be manipulated. Tapping on each image within the collage lets you adjust its size. You can also pinch to zoom in or out, tap the Mirror option to flip the horizontal view, or tap the Flip option to turn an image upside down. You can even substitute a photo if you decide you don’t want it by using the Replace option.
Once you’ve got your collage just how want it, tapping Save launches a sharing page that’s pre-configured for Instagram and Facebook. Additional sharing options are accessible, including message, email, iCloud, or any other photo sharing app you’ve got installed to your iOS device.
Layout doesn’t just rely on what’s in your Camera Roll. It also comes with a bonus feature called Photo Booth that’s ideal for taking selfies with friends (which should actually be referred to as dualies for two and multies for any number above that). This feature launches your iPhone’s front-facing camera and automatically snaps up to four timed photos, recreating the experience of traditional photo booths but improving on the concept by giving you the option to choose from a number of randomized layouts. Individual image tweaking and re-orientation can also be done.
Just like a cleverly-scripted standalone sequel that doesn’t require you to have seen part one to enjoy part two, you don’t have to be familiar with Instagram to enjoy Layout. You don’t even to have an Instagram account to use it (unless, of course, you want to share the final product via said image sharing platform). A solidly designed and intuitive app, Layout from Instagram is available as a free download from iTunes. It requires iOS 7.0 or later and is also available on Google Play for Android users running 4.1 and up.