How I Edit My Instagram Photos

Instagram is by far my favorite social media app. Besides being a great platform for connecting with a like-minded community, it allows me to look around the world with my own rose colored lens; paying heightened attention to a scenic street, the shadows of nature, or an interesting color palate. While I'm not interested in making things perfect, I am interested in seeing the beauty in the little things, while developing my own aesthetic. A big part of keeping a cohesive feed lies in editing, so I wanted to share what I do on my feed (@northern_daisy). 

Set the Mood: VSCO

This app is my absolute favorite and I never post a photo without it! VSCO can be a little confusing in the beginning to get used to, but it's a real game changer in adding personality to your photos. You can also use their grid feature to plan out your own Instagram feed, ensuring an overall cohesive look. Here's a guide for those unfamiliar with the app: http://bit.ly/2e79Y25.

 NOTE: This photo was quickly snapped as I was wandering through a dark green house with a friend (yeah, she's a model so it's like NDB). With VSCO, I was able to elevate the photo's brightness and pink glowy tones. For reference, one of my most-used presets is C1!

NOTE: This photo was quickly snapped as I was wandering through a dark green house with a friend (yeah, she's a model so it's like NDB). With VSCO, I was able to elevate the photo's brightness and pink glowy tones. For reference, one of my most-used presets is C1!

Add A "Wow" element: A Color Story

This app is great for really making your photos "pop"! I particularly love the "Organic" series, which allows you to add soft or concentrated brightness to a photo. If you like to get a little playful with your Instagrams, they also offer color fog and sun flares to add a little something extra to your photo! Lately I like to start with a VSCO filter, add an "organic" bright filter and then do my final tweaks like fading or cooling. Quick tip: If you're layering filters, be sure to not add them at full level to avoid too much over-editing which will reduce the overall quality of the photo. 

 NOTE: Edited using Organic/Bright filter and upping the warmth via A Color Story. 

NOTE: Edited using Organic/Bright filter and upping the warmth via A Color Story. 

Fine-tuning: Photoshop Express + Snapseed 

Photoshop Express (free): While I can't live without VSCO, it can sometimes make photos a bit grainy, so I love use the "reduce noise" feature to combat this. It only takes a second, but it really softens the image before posting. It's also great for fixing weird spots or stains in a photo. 

Snapseed ($): You know those pesky shadows you get on an otherwise great photo? Snapseed is your remedy! To correct a weird light/shadow issue, use the "selective edit" feature. Simply click on the area of the photo you wish to brighten (or darken) and move your finger to the right to increase brightness (or to the left to decrease brightness). It takes a bit of practice, but once you get it down it's a real photo saver. Here's a great guide for using advanced features: http://bit.ly/2dWjVfR.

Quick tips:

  • Wipe your lens before you snap! You can really tell the difference with a lack of clarity and focus (and that unfortunate white glow that's impossible to get rid of). 
  • Find your aesthetic and stick to it, but make sure it's truly a reflection of your life. For example, super white minimalist photos are very popular and definitely beautiful, but my life just doesn't reflect that so I don't pretend that it does. While my feed isn't perfect, it's still very much me and it's more fun to tell that story than to agonize over fitting my life into what's popular. 

Do you have any tips for editing your photos? What apps do you love to use to edit your Instagrams?