Mark F and I really dig the photos that our pal Todd Lappin posts to Instagram under his telstarlogistics account. His shots always have a wonderful hyperreal quality that is just subtle enough not to push them into the realm of over-filtered kitsch. We asked Todd how he does it and he says:
I usually do a few simple processes to my photos, using the same apps over and over (because I'm lazy).
I process most of the images I post through Camera+. Its Clarity tool is wonderful, and I am addicted to it -- Clarity adds a strong dose of brightness and contrast, which helps things pop. Camera+ also has some filters which are handy (AND which don't require the use of those annoying image borders that Instagram usually adds).
Beyond that, I'm also addicted to the Tilt-shift tool in Instagram (accessed via the drop icon in the top navbar). I don't use it to generate tilt-shit effects per se, but more to create depth-of field between foreground and back.
That's it! Most of the time.
For the rest, I follow a lot of the tips I learned from DocPop while reporting this story for the New York Times (last year). Check out his list of Apps in the sidebar, as well as the awesome how-to multimedia the NYT built.