How I edit my photos for Instagram

Whether you take photos with a phone, compact camera or DSLR, more times than not there’ll be something you want to change about it. It might be the exposure, contrast or the temperature of the shot but you’ll never end up editing a photo the same way twice. When it comes to editing software, I’ve experimented with a few but have found VSCO app to be the deal breaker.


I am far from a photo editing expert, in many ways I’m the opposite. If you asked a group of people to edit a photo they would all edit the photo in a different way and the end result would be totally different, if you asked someone to edit the same photo twice they would also be slightly different. When it comes to photo editing there is often no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to edit a photo, as long as you don’t over edit then you’re likely to end up with a pretty decent shot.

Before Editing

After Editing

As I mentioned, I use VSCO and the key tools I look for to edit a photo are as follows:


  1. Contrast and Highlights

By increasing the contrast of an image you’re brightening the highlights and defining and slightly darkening the shadows. Typically, high contrast photos exhibit a brighter, happier type of photo. In most cases, by increasing the contrast of a photo, you’ll make the photo bolder and are likely to attract more attention to it’s features. The next thing I look for is strength of highlights exerted by the image. Strong contrasts tend to look better with bright lighting; increasing the highlights separately from overall exposure will not only lighten the image but will keep the shadows looking dark and well defined.


  1. Sharpness

The sharpness (or acutance) of a photo, to put it simply, is a measure of how clear and detailed the objects in the image are. I like photos to be pretty clear – blurred or fuzzy photos are generally a poorer quality and are less attractive.


  1. Temperature

I like my photos to fit the season; this means warmer yellow colours in the summer and bolder blues in the winter. I often find that photos can vary depending on time of day and position and therefore being able to change the temperature is so useful. Increasing the temperature towards yellow will make the photo feel a little more summery whilst decreasing it will fit the winter more. I don’t have an exact number that I always stick to with this, it really depends on the individual photo and it’s purpose.


  1. Saturation

Saturation is also affected by the contrast of the image. A stronger saturation will make colours bolder/deeper. I leave this tool towards the end of the editing process as increasing the saturation too much can leave photos looking totally over-edited.


  1. Exposure

The final step for me is to edit the contrast. Usually I increase it very slightly, but it really depends on what editing you have already done. I like photos to be bright as it warms up the photo and gives it a happier feel.

Before Editing


After Editing


What apps do you use to edit photos?

B xx


1 Comment

  1. Louise
    June 1, 2018 / 4:33 pm

    Thank you for this post. It was helpful for me as a total newbee to Instagram.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *