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Structure, Sharpening and Lux on Instagram - A Quick Comparison


Editing an image with Instagram is a relatively simple process. Settings like Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, Highlights and Shadows are all tools that make a predictable impact on a potential post. But there are a few adjustments that are a little less clear.

On the surface, it seems as though Structure and Sharpening are much the same. But depending on the image, one adjustment may be more effective than the other. In addition, Lux is a tool that can significantly enhance the appearance of a photo, but how does it work exactly? Here's a quick breakdown of Structure, Sharpening and Lux on Instagram.

This article is based on an Android operating system, with Instagram version installed. Some features may differ depending on OS and version.

How to Access the Edit Function on Instagram

To access the Edit function in Instagram, first tap the new post button (the enclosed cross symbol) in the top right corner of the home and profile interfaces. Take a photo in-app or select an image from the phone's gallery. Once an image is selected, tap the arrow in the top right corner of the screen, this will bring up the Filter interface.

Next, tap Edit at the bottom of the Filter screen, beneath the filter selections. The Edit interface will open with a range of editing tools including Structure and Sharpen as well as Lux which is located at the top of the screen (signified by a magic wand symbol). Tap the icon of each tool to open it and make individual adjustments to the selected image.


The Structure tool on Instagram is designed to emphasize detail and texture around the lines that make up an image, enhancing strong subjects and patterns. Almost like a combination of sharpening and contrast, Structure can help clarify slightly out of focus subjects too.

Applied with a slider spanning from 0 to 100, Structure is applied to increase the impact of flat-looking or unfocused pictures. In general, a medium application of Structure can be effective when used on a range of subject matter - product, nature, landscape and abstract subjects will likely benefit for example. But because Structure emphasizes lines and texture, it is not usually an ideal option for portraiture, exaggerating wrinkles and other imperfections.


Located last on the Instagram editing interface is the Sharpen tool. Sharpen adds a degree of crispness to a photo to make an image appear sharper overall. The Sharpen tool operates on a slider ranging from 0 to 100, clarifying and focusing an image, much like Structure. However, the key difference between Sharpen and Structure is that while Structure amplifies detail and texture, Sharpen only makes visible details more clear, it won't enhance minuscule details, so it won't deliver as harsh an effect when it comes to portraiture for example.


Lux is another tool supplied by Instagram to help refine images before posting them. Located at the top of the screen in the editing or filter interface, the designated icon for Lux is a magic wand. Designed to increase brightness and balance exposure, Lux is applied with a slider ranging from 0 to 100. Best used on photographs with areas that are underexposed and/or overexposed, Lux lightens shadows and darkens highlights, slightly increasing saturation at the same time.


Megan Kennedy is a writer and multidisciplinary artist based in Canberra, Australia. More of her work can be viewed on her website or on Instagram.


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