How I Edit My Instagram Photos

March 22, 2015

I face a number of challenges when taking photos for Instagram. I’ve spoken about light and surfaces and backgrounds in my post on how to take good Instagram photos but my other limitation is that I spend hours on end, on my own (ie no one readily available to take photos for/of me). I’m either propping my iPhone against something to take a picture or using my DSLR on a tripod. I don’t like having to use my tripod to take photos for Instagram so I usually end up not being in many IG photos (as I’m taking the photo). I try to get the shot I want when taking it because I don’t like having to do too much editing. I do all my editing on my phone, either on VSCO or Instagram. Here’s how I edit my Instagram photos.

Original photo before any editing

CROP. The first thing I usually do is crop my photo (remember that narrow sill I take the photo on? That makes cropping essential). The photo below was taken just beside my window when I had a little white side table close by. As you can see below, it’s not the perfect square that Instagram strives for, but for the moment I leave it as it is.

Photo – cropped 

EDITING. I used to rely quite heavily on the VSCO app to edit my photos but since Instagram improved their editing features I’ve been using that. Especially because I don’t typically use filters. It would have to be a very poor quality photo for me to add a filter. If I add a filter it’s because I think it will make the photo look infinitely better. Otherwise I rely on: exposure, highlights and shadows. At the end of the day what I’m trying to improve or perfect in my photos is the light and brightness. And just because you have 10 different features at your disposal doesn’t necessary mean you need to use all of them. I like bright, light, white photos and that’s what I try to achieve on my camera and then later in the editing process.

photo edited on VSCO – playing with exposure, highlights and shadows. No filter. 

AESTHETIC: This isn’t actually a physical ‘thing’ I do but after I’ve fiddled with the exposure, highlights and shadows I take a moment to ask myself if this image and what I’ve done to it fits the overall aesthetic of my gallery. It’s also a point at which I ask myself how the photo fits with my brand.

Does the photo fit my brand and my gallery? 

SQUARING: It took me a while to stop seeing things/life in Instagram squares! Initially I used Squaready to get my photos into a neat square, and then iPhone came up with ‘square’ as an option to take your photo in (handy) but the truth is I go between the two. Sometimes it is possible to for me the take the photo in a square, other times it needs to be cropped into a square, and sometimes I just need to put it through Squaready.

Final edited image that I shared on Instagram 
 

That’s pretty much all I do. For everyone who ask about the apps I use and what levels I play with – I’m not very technical. And I think that’s why I keep going back to the aesthetic I’m after and what feels right for my brand and the connection between the blog and my Instagram gallery. If you have any other questions, pop them below and I’ll answer them.

It’s been a crazy month talking about how to grow your instagram here on the blog. I hope you’ve found the posts useful, though having said that and having written all those posts, I think it’s this post that really keeps Instagram and social media in perspective for me.

4 comments

  • Mother Down Under

    I agree with you about asking yourself does this photo represent me before posting. I try to be mindful of what I post and only post well thought out and well edited photos. That being said, I sometimes post things for family back in the States to see!
    And I love VSCO for editing.

  • Michelle {Jarrah Jungle}

    I see my life in Instagram squares now too haha.
    I always take photos with enough space around them so I can do a nice crop and the filters make them look better too!

  • Kristian

    Very interesting, Vanisha. I think I need to starting asking myself about how it fits with the brand or other gallery photos too. Good thing to consider!

  • Kremb de la Kremb

    Duh, concentrate on quality. No brainer, but sometimes, admittedly, I get caught up in moments that take over. I like what you said about your gallery and brand. In my last four Instagram pics, I have concentrated on this (plus considered IG communities;).

    You rock!!

    Love,

    Ann from Kremb de la Kremb

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