How I Edit Instagram Photos

Instagram is one of my preferred social media platforms. I upload what I want and don’t plan pictures very often. I don’t stick to a specific theme or schedule and I like that the majority of my photos are taken in the moment. That doesn’t mean I don’t have a routine for editing photos and there are certain things I do to make sure photos look their best!

Note: The following process refers to photos taken on my iPhone.

Step One:

Think about the image, how it will look and the subject.

Step Two:

Choose a camera mode. If it is a selfie or an outfit picture I will mostly use ‘photo’ and if I am taking a picture of my nails or one object I will use ‘square’. This allows me to see how an image will look when it is uploaded to Instagram and there is minimal cropping.

Step Three:

Take pictures using the phone’s camera rather than the camera in the Instagram app. I find the phone camera is better quality and you get different mode options, I think the app only allows you to take a square photo.

Step Four:

Editing time! I do very minimal edits and like my feed to have a clear, bright look. To achieve this I play around with three of Instagram’s editing tools: brightness, contrast and warmth.

  • Brightness: I will increase the brightness somewhere between 30 and 60.
  • Contrast: I turn the contrast down slightly, usually -10 or -20.
  • Warmth: Certain lights can cause a yellow tinge and turning down the warmth makes the cool tones in an image shine and also adds to the bright, crisp effect. Again, I turn the warmth down -10 or -20.

Occasionally I will leave a photo unedited, normally the quotes for #PinterestThoughtTuesday. I don’t use filters very often either, if I do it’s most likely a black and white one.

Step Five:

Add caption and relevant hashtags. Save post as a draft or share instantly. Saving posts as drafts is useful if you want to post the photo later on in the day or the week and it means it’s all ready to go. If you don’t have internet access and can’t share your post instantly saving as a draft is also useful as the post is ready for when you do.

Now I will share some before and after comparisons with and without editing. All the before photos are on the left and the after photos on the right.

Example #1:

The second image shows more of the plane’s colour. The background elements are easier to see too.

Example #2:

The second image makes my skin look more flawless and gives my lips and hair colour more depth.

Example #3:

I remember debating whether to use the edited version when I shared this photo. The first image gives more of a true representation of the red but the second image is brighter and the petals look sharper and more defined.

Example #4:

The white and pink colours in the second image look clearer and don’t have the yellow tinge that the first image does.


In all four of these examples the differences are subtle but it is an editing style that takes up little time and works for me.

How do you edit Instagram photos? Are there any apps you use?

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13 thoughts on “How I Edit Instagram Photos

  1. stashy says:

    I just use the built-in IG edits – I like doing the edits rather than just a filter but sometimes I get lazy. πŸ˜› I used to use a few software like Instasize and Pic Collage but they started stamping their logo on the photos which was annoying! I know a lot of people like VSCO which I want to try.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nadine says:

    What a wonderful idea for a post! You are always so creative with your post ideas. πŸ™‚ I agree with you that taking a photo on the phone’s camera rather than in Instagram itself makes a huge difference to quality.
    I love the way you edit your photos too, by the way! They look very natural but still enhanced. I wouldn’t have looked at them immediately and thought they were edited if it wasn’t for the comparison which is something I greatly appreciate in such an over-edited digital world. :)x

    Liked by 1 person

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