Happy Friday! This post has been highly requested and I apologize that it has taken me this long to get it out to you. I am going to teach you the exact process I use to edit my Instagram pictures. I have gone through all of the trial and error for you, and I’m here to share every app that I use to create beautiful and eye catching photos. But before I begin sharing all of that information, I want to share a little story about my Instagram photo editing experience.
Several months ago I figured out how to edit my Instagram pictures in a way to make my entire Instagram feed look and feel extremely cohesive and aesthetically pleasing. I used 3 photo editing apps (I’ll share which ones I use later on) plus one feed planning app to achieve this overall cohesive look. I wanted a white, bright, and crisp feed and I was absolutely obsessed with making my feed look perfect. At the time I LOVED how my Instagram feed looked and I got DMs on the daily asking what apps, filters, etc. I used to make my feed look the way it did. I felt this odd sense of pressure to make my feed perfect, especially because people were really starting to notice and ask me how I could help them make their feeds look better and more cohesive. I realized after several weeks of keeping up this beautiful and bright feed that it was seriously taxing. I got to the point where I would only shoot blog photos if the background behind me was white, and I became so OCD about what pictures I would “allow” in my feed. Here is an example of my feed at the time.
My “Perfect” Feed
I know this might seem crazy because it’s only Instagram, but I was focusing wayyyyyyyy too much on the look of my feed rather than the content I was producing. My husband had an intervention with me (HAHA true story, but it was so necessary) because he saw how stressed I was about planning my feed and making it look “perfect”. He said, “Kimmie…think about all the people you love following on Instagram. Do they have perfectly cohesive feeds or do they post random photos of their daily life with different colors, backgrounds,etc.?” When I thought about it, my husband was 100% right. The people I love following on Instagram do not have perfect feeds and I truly believe that I love following along with their content because it is real and relatable. Sure, “perfect feeds” are pretty to look at but I feel no connection with the person behind the pretty feed. My job as a blogger is about making connections with my audience and having them get to know me and my personality, it’s not just about having a gorgeous Instagram feed.
After that much needed conversation with my husband, I decided that I was done trying to plan my feed out and I was just going to post naturally without obsessing over the backgrounds, colors, etc. of my photos. Guess what happened?? My engagement went up on Instagram AND I was happier (my happiness was of course more important than the Instagram engagement). I still edit my Instagram pictures but not to the extent I was doing it several months ago. I use the same apps as before and I always try to make each picture look as best as possible, but I do not obsess over the micro details of the photo. If I like the picture and I think it is good content, I will post it! I do not have any stipulations like I used to about what photos I can and cannot post. With all of that said, I want to teach you the main things I learned from all of my photo editing experience.
When I take an iPhone photo for Instagram, the things I always do to the photo are: 1) brighten it, 2) up the contrast, 3) sharpen it, and 4) make the details stand out. No matter what the photo is, I always do those 4 things to each photo because I like bright and sharp looking photos. The apps I use to edit my photos are Instagram (yes, you read that right), VSCO, and Facetune. I mentioned earlier that I use an Instagram feed planning app and that is called UNUM. This was a life saver when I was working on my “perfect” feed because the app has a bunch of squares that simulate your own Instagram feed, so you can move your photos around before you post them and see where they look best in your feed. I still use the app because it has other extremely helpful features like data that shows your most popular posting times, etc. Below I will break down what features I use in each editing app.
Yes, Instagram. It is always the first app I go in with when editing my photos. I do not use any of the Instagram filters, but the actual editing tools are extremely helpful. I upload my photo to Instagram, and then to the right of where it says filter it says edit, and once you click that you can adjust the brightness, contrast, saturation, shadows, etc. of your photo. The first thing I do is turn the brightness way up on the photo. Normally iPhone photos are too dark for my liking, so I like to make them as bright as possible- just make sure the colors in the photo (skin, clothes, etc.) still keep their normal colors when adjusting the brightness. Next, I turn up the contrast on the photo because I think that helps make certain details really pop. If I feel like my photo is too yellow or orange looking, I will turn the warmth down. If I am in the photo and my skin looks too pale, I will up the saturation just a tad. I will sometimes mess with the highlights and shadows but I don’t do that for every picture I edit. The last step in Instagram is to sharpen the photo. I always sharpen the photo as much as possible unless some details in the photo start looking a little too sharp. You can play around with the sharpness until you figure out what works for you and your photo. When you are done editing in Instagram, I do not post it yet, but I take a screenshot of the photo and I’m ready to move on to the next editing app which is Facetune.
Once my photo is looking so much better and brighter thanks to the editing tools that Instagram offers, I crop the screenshot I took from Instagram and I upload it to Facetune. In the photo below, I wanted to make it look whiter and brighter, so I used the whitening tool in the app and lightened up the wall behind me. The tool is meant for whitening teeth, but I always use it to whiten backgrounds! That is my main trick with Facetune is to use the whitening tool to make anything look whiter and brighter.
Another tool I use a lot in Facetune is the patch tool. If I take a photo outside and there is something on the pavement that I want removed, I just use the patch tool to get rid of it. You can also edit out outlets on walls, and you can even edit people out of the background of your photos with that tool! The best tool in the app is the details tool. This is the main thing I use Facetune for. You can click on anything in your photo with the details tool and it will make it pop. In the photo above, I used the details tool on the little lights in the lanterns and on the Christmas tree because I wanted those things to stand out. You can also use the details tool to make your eyes stand out, on jewelry, handbags, or whatever you are wanting to stand out. Once I finish in Facetune, I save the photo and if I love the photo, I will post it on Instagram, but if it needs a little more help I use one more app.
I discovered VSCO when I was in my phase of obsessing over my feed. I thought that if I just used the same filter on every photo that my feed would look cohesive…that is not the case, but it can definitely help a little. I bought a package of filters (S1, S2, S3) because they make your photos lighter and have a slightly pink undertone to them which I love. If my photo isn’t as bright as I was hoping for after editing with Instagram and Facetune, I will pop on the S1 filter and it does the trick for me. I do not use the VSCO filters on all of my photos, I just add it when I want my picture to be a little “extra”.
That is it for the steps I take to edit my Instagram photos! Every photo is different and requires different steps in the photo editing process, so it’s definitely not a “one size fits all” type of thing. I wanted to share with you what works for me when it comes to editing, but I’m sure there are other apps out there that work the same or better, but this is what I do and it works well for me. I hope these tips have helped you if you were feeling stuck when it comes to editing Instagram photos. If there is one takeaway from this post it is to not obsess over your Instagram feed because it is just social media. I had to learn that lesson and I’m happy I learned it when I did. I still enjoy making my pictures look the best they can on an individual level, but I am no longer concerned about posting photos that don’t “fit with a theme”. Just have fun with it and figure out a method that works for you and makes you happy…that is all that really matters!
Please reach out and let me know if you have any questions at all about photo editing, I am more than happy to help!! Thank you so much for stopping by today.