In my last post I took you behind the scenes at the glamorous location of my dining room table aka my very own Instagram photo studio. This week I’m back to show you the next steps of what I do with my photos once they’ve been taken – edit!
I really enjoy seeing other people’s Instagram editing processes as everyone has completely different steps to achieving their desired finished product. Having a default editing method plays a big part in ensuring a consistent Instagram grid (if that’s what you’re aiming for of course!).
There’s a great deal of debate about the merits of having a distinct ‘Instagram style’ and a cohesive, coordinated feed, as some would argue that it takes away the whole ‘instant’ element of Instagram.
I like a lot of colour in general so I struggle to keep mine consistent, but defining an editing style has definitely helped! The aesthetic I like to go for is bright and glossy but with a touch of moodiness (if that makes any sense at all haha!).
The following editing steps are how I achieve this aesthetic, sometimes I’ll use a combination of them on an image, sometimes I’ll use them all!
Use Instagram’s built-in editing tools
I hardly ever use Instagram’s default filters, instead I kind of create my own using their edit tools. Instagram’s own editing tools (under the ‘EDIT’ tab next to ‘FILTER’) are surprisingly powerful yet simple to use. These are the adjustments I’ll usually make:
- Increase brightness slightly.
- Add a little ‘structure’.
- Increase highlights.
- Add a little contrast (not too much as that can skew the colour).
- Reduce shadows (for that ‘moody’ look!).
- Take down the warmth a notch.
- Add a dark blue overlay using the colour button. I’ll literally only add about 5% but as all my photos have it, it helps the whole feed have a similar look.
The below photo was edited completely using Instagram’s editing tools and nothing else!
Remove warm tones
Take note, because this is one of the niftiest blogger Instagram tricks in the book!
Quite often certain lighting casts a yellow glow over your subject, which isn’t a true reflection of the image. Taking out the yellow tones instantly lifts a photo and makes it look cleaner and more professional.
So how does one remove the yellow tones? With a teeth whitening tool!
You’ll need to download an app like FaceTune (I use Airbrush, the Android equivalent). Simply select the teeth whitening tool and magic away any warm tones in your photo.
Some bloggers take this to extremes by whitening entire backgrounds to help keep their feed matching, but I just tend to use it here and there (the outfit photo example below being a rare exception!).
If you ever see bloggers intently rubbing at their phone screens, now you know what we’re doing!
Other apps worth mentioning
The 2 previous steps are my most used, however I’ll occasionally bring a few other steps in.
I like to think of Snapseed as a pocket version of Photoshop. You can make all the usual edits you’d expect such as brightness, contrast, exposure and more, except with Snapseed you have a bit more control than with Instagram’s editing tools. But easily my favourite feature of Snapseed is the ‘healing’ function, which works much like it does on Photoshop, except it’s much less painful. I mostly use the healing tool to get rid of signs/unwanted background elements that creep into my photos.
A Color Story
I’ve only been using A Color Story for about a month now but I’m enjoying playing with its filters and effects. So far I’ve bought the Blush filter pack, and the Good Vibes one came free. I have to say I much prefer these filters to the Instagram ones. Above all, I can’t get enough of adding the light flares and leaks from the ‘effects’ section; they just add instant charm to any shot!
The below photo was edited using a combination of A Color Story & Instagram’s own editing tool.
So there you have it! Whilst Instagram’s filters are cool, I would definitely encourage experimenting with other editing methods if you want your profile to stand out. Come up with your own style and have fun with it!
What one edit do you always make to your photos before ‘gramming them?
Stay tuned for the third and final part in this series where I’ll be demystifying planning, hashtagging and the best times to post on Instagram!