Tips & Tricks: Using Photo Filters

Aside from the phone itself, the camera is probably the most used feature on smartphones today.  Whether it’s a child playing, a funny sign or simply capturing the scenes of our current location, taking photos with a smartphone has become a habit for people the world over. Over on our Facebook page, you’ve shared many photos of a wide variety of items such as pets, cityscapes, and stunning flowers.

While we all take a lot of pictures with our smartphones, often times we want to tweak them in interesting and artistic ways. Additionally, the massive growth of services like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram has made it easier than ever to share photos with friends and family.  With our latest series of smartphones, the HTC One, smartphone photography is better and easier than ever, complete with pro level post production features right in your pocket!

Here is an unedited photo taken from an HTC One X — a little slice of Waikiki beach:


It is a powerful photo that makes it easy to dream of having a drink in hand and toes in the sand. Before we share this photo with family and friends, let’s use the built-in effects to enhance the photo.  When you select the photo, simple click “Edit” and then select “Effects” to bring up the Effects menu.  This time, we only want to sharpen the colors and contrast so lets select “Auto enhance.”


To use the “Auto enhance” effect as seen above, tap on a photo in the gallery. Then tap “Edit”, “Effects” and select “Auto enhance” from the list of effects.

“Auto enhance” is a quick and easy way to make your photos a bit more crisp and really bring out the colors in your images.   But the HTC One gives you a plethora of preloaded effects to choose and apply to your portfolio of images.  While we added the basics like “Sepia,” we also developed a host of other fun options to let you add character to your photos. Let’s try “Bleak” and “Glimmer” next.

 Effects Browser-Bleak 

To use the “Bleak” effect as seen above, tap on a photo in the gallery. Then tap “Edit”, “Effects” and select “Bleak” from the list of effects.

The “Bleak” filter adds a number of adjustments to a photograph. Among them are changes to contrast, saturation, and exposure. It also changes to the white balance to a more green hue and introduces some grain to add texture to the photo.


To use the “Glimmer” effect as seen above, tap on a photo in the Gallery. Then tap “Edit”, “Effects” and select “Glimmer” from the list of effects.

While the “Glimmer” setting is in some ways similar to the previous effect, there are slight differences. Yes, contrast, white balance, saturation and other elements are changed, but there is also an addition of sharpness versus changes to levels and addition of grain.


Creating Custom Filters

One of the greatest tools is the ability to make your own effects and save them for later! When you press the “Edit” button, you get a large library of things you can change on your photographs through filters and frames. Let’s take a look at changes to the levels, contrast, and perhaps a tiny bit of vignetting (a bit of darkness fading in from the edges of the photo).


In the “Effects” menu, select “Edit” from the upper right. Then, select “Add filter” from the upper right. Select your desired filter from the drop down menu that appears.


Use the sliders on the left to changed the strength of the chosen filter.

When you are done adjusting the filters, you can either click “Done” to finish, or click “Save Preset” to retain your new custom look for future photos you take! Your new custom effect will be saved in the list of presets.


Select “Save Preset”, then entered your desired name for the new custom effect. It will then be listed among the other preset effects for later use. If you do not wish to save your custom effect for future use, you can simply press “Done.”

You can see a few more “before and after” shots below.


Rocks on a foggy coastline. The effect used here was “High contrast”


A slice of zucchini tart. The filter used was custom, changing to a more yellow white balance and higher contrast.


A plate of cookies. The effect used was “Auto enhance”


A bicycle leaning on a tree. A custom effect using high exposure and low contrast

Do you use effects on your photos? Which is your favorite (or did you make your own)? Let us know in the comments. Thanks, and happy shooting!

  • http://www.facebook.com/wieringadaniel Daniel Zygmunt Wieringa

    A bit too much hipster for me. 

  • Eric Krebs

    Good post!  I finally fell in love with phone photography when I got my HTC Sensation…. now have One S and its even better.  Need to get my One S images on line but check out some of my Sensation pics using phone adjustements: 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=737495843 James Campbell

    i got the HTC incredible about 1.5 yr ago and the reason I got it was for the camera…the best on the market at the time….i think it is only 3g can i still take advantage of these effects?

  • http://www.facebook.com/nstinctive Paul Austin

    Love my Titan!!

  • ukscj

    Great tips Wyatt
    I always edit my pictures on my one x
    mostly use custom effects
    first I chose high contrast then edit the picture from there
    I always get awesome results 🙂

  • http://twitter.com/balaji906 Balaji

    i just noticed adding effects from gallery on  my One S

  • http://www.facebook.com/julio.gonzalez.1485 Julio Gonzalez

    Wow i didnt know i could make a custom effect on my one s, Thanks

  • Ben Brougher

    I have used them before on my inspire and it does add possibilities to your pictures.

  • sanjay upadhyay

    can you tell me how can i add caption on my htc one x 
    if you don’t mind mail me the answer at

  • http://twitter.com/jayjenti jay


    can u tell me sense 4 available on sENSATIONAL XL??


  • http://www.facebook.com/barbara.bonomo Barbara Bonomo-Michels

    fell in love with photography with my thunderbolt (still use it as a camera) and now I am exploring all the possabilities of my DNA… Can’t get enough of these photo possabilities:) thank you htc. p.s. my digital SLR is gathering cobwebs.

  • kerry dawson

    I had the old HTC wildfire which was good enough for me as I adore HTC phones…But then I saw the HTC ONE X last April and had to have it…The only reason I upgraded was purly because of the camera, I love it and play around with it and the filters all the time.

  • michael colling

    Hi! I love playing with effects on my htc one x and I’ve captured/edited some ones I’m really proud of. Would love for you to check them out on my Flickr account. My user name is plunderclat, and all photos were taken on my one x, and I’ve also included what settings I’ve used etc. All photos are set to ‘public’.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=696112190 Ahmad Abdel-Aziz

    Thank you very much Wyatt.
    I’ve enjoyed learning a lot from this article.
    Keep the awesome work.