How I Edit My Instagram Photos

Tuesday, July 25, 2017


Of all the social media outlets, Instagram might be my favorite. I like documenting my day with a single photo, and I like seeing how others capture theirs. It's a virtual scrapbook where we can express ourselves visually or in writing, or both.

I'm not gonna pretend I don't edit my Instagram pictures. I do. We all probably do, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I don't think adjusting a picture so it's more clean, vibrant, or eye-catching is dishonest.

To edit my pictures, I use the VSCO app. (In the past, I've used Afterlight and Rookie.) I tend to make the same general tweaks to all my photos: add a filter, sharpen it, and increase the contrast a bit. There are plenty of people who would be considered better Instagrammers than me, who are more creative and have more unique shots and a nice color scheme. But you know what? I like my messy, uncoordinated Instagram feed. I have fun with it.

Here's a peek at how I edit:


F O O D 

 
Filter: C1 | Increased: Sharpen, Clarity, Shadows
I took this picture quickly so I wouldn't hold up the line of eager dessert-lovers. Looking at it afterward, I realized that I had gotten my foot right in the shot. Solution? Crop it. The close-up view ended up looking better anyway.

 
Filter: A6 | Increased: Sharpen, Clarity, Saturation, Temperature


N A T U R E 

 
Filter: C2 | Increased: Sharpen, Contrast, Exposure | Decreased: Temperature
Sometimes I'm editing photos in an attempt to make it look more like it does in real life. The fluorescent lighting at my work didn't do my roses any favors.

 
Filter: C3 | Increased: Sharpen, Clarity, Contrast, Saturation
Cameras can never quite capture the beauty of the sky, can they? With a little help from VSCO, now you see what I see.


S E L F I E S 

 
Filter: HB2 | Increased: Sharpen, Saturation
With selfies especially, I don't make any drastic changes. I'll add a filter, yes, but I never blur out blemishes or smooth my skin. I'm only human, after all.

 
Filter: HB2 | Increased: Contrast


S N A P S E E D

Recently I've started playing around with Snapseed. VSCO is still my go-to, but there've been a few instances where I've needed to utilize Snapseed to work a little magic.

 
Filter: C1 | Increased: Sharpen, Contrast, Saturation, Highlights | Decreased: Exposure, Temperature
Snapseed: The top and right corners ended up looking a little pink for some reason, so I used the "Selective" tool to lower the saturation in those areas.

 
Filter: HB1 | Increased: Sharpen, Contrast, Shadows, Highlights, Clarity | Decreased: Temperature
Snapseed: I didn't realize until after the picture was taken that the scuff on my desk was visible. One tap with the "Healing" tool in Snapseed and it was gone.


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