How to Edit Your Instagram Photos


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Instagram is a completely visual platform, meaning that your photos have to be the attention grabber and stopper that says “Read my post!”. You don’t have to take a course in Photoshop to understand how a few minor tweaks can bring your photos to the next level.  Do you need a fancy schmancy camera to get great photos either? Short answer: No. Does it help? Heck yes.

If you’re anything like me, you are using your phone to take a lot of your social media photos. To be honest I don’t even own a nice camera. I take all my shots with my Iphone 6si. Now don’t take my words the wrong way and start bashing the bad ass Nikon’s of the world – there is definitely a place for professional and fancy camera photos, like your website and for your product photos. That being said I promise you can get away with your phone for almost everything else. Bonus? It means you won’t have to lug around a heavy camera and then transfer files to your computer to edit, to then your phone to post – yadda yadda yadda.

OK, so you’ve taken your picture (in natural light may I add cough cough!) and you’re in your insta app ready to post. Now onto the next step. Please for the love of god do NOT use a filter. We are not in 2014 anymore and they are just super tacky and make your photos go crazy ass colors. Hit the “Edit” button on the bottom right of your app and the bottom half of the screen under your photo will now have a bunch of tools you can use.


My personal advice:

  1. Brighten your photo by boosting up the brightness towards the right. This makes your photo lighter as well as starts to show off those colours you captured. Don’t over do it though. You don’t want to wash out your photo!IMG_4248
  2. Slightly pump your contrast & saturation so you are still getting definition and those colors aren’t disappearing after pumping up that brightness.IMG_4249
  3. Tone down that warmth. I like my white backgrounds to pop, so I cool down my posts by dragging to the left of the scale. If you go to the right it starts bringing more yellow (warmth) in. Cooling brings in more blue. (Think teeth – you  never want yellow teeth..)IMG_4250
  4. SLIGHTLY sharpen. This makes the objects in your photo stand out. Again don’t over do it otherwise it looks like a comic.IMG_4251
  5. Remember that you don’t want to completely change your photo, but simply enhance it. Don’t botox the shit out of it!

Should you have harsh shadows or too much light in your pic you can always play with the highlights and shadows tool too. Play around and see what you do and don’t like. My editing style may not fit your feed so test it out and find you’re own mix. Want to see what your photo looked like before all the editing, like a before and after? Complete working on you’re last tool and then click “Done”. Hold down your finger on the screen where the actual photo is – it should now show you the original. Stop pressing and it returns to the edited version.

There are plenty of apps out there that can also do these types of things too, so don’t limit yourself just to the Insta app. Some other favourites out there are VSCO, A Color Story, Pic Tap Go and Afterlight. Happy editing!


4 thoughts on “How to Edit Your Instagram Photos

  1. caffeinefueledfool says:

    Snapseed is also great for this if you want to edit first and then add to IG and your other social media things. I use it so that I have an edited photo to add to Twitter and my blog as well. 🙂 I find that I like the colours cooler and more contrasted than most people….but I grew up around photo editing and was told that you just have to find your preference and roll with it. People will respond if its clear and bright and welcoming no matter what, I find. Oh man, this is long winded and sounds preachy. in short, I love this post. It was a great refresher! 🙂


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