How I Edit my Instagram Photos

Full disclaimer: I do not post any photo to Instagram without editing it in some way, shape or form. Yes I use FaceTune and no I don’t think it’s a bad thing. Here’s why: if we lived in a perfect world, I would get to take all of my photos on a bright, sunny afternoon inside near a window or ideally, with a skylight. In reality, I do most of my blog work at night in an apartment that doesn’t have good lighting even on the sunniest of days.

I edit my photos to color correct, enhance details and yes, take care of a pesky pimple if necessary. My goal with editing is to enhance the photo rather than completely alter it. I’m going to walk you through how I edit an outfit photo, but you can also check out my YouTube video HERE that shows you how I edit lifestyle photos as well.

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These are my favorite apps for editing iPhone photos and primarily what I use them for:

  • FaceTune: Color correcting, teeth whitening and filters
  • Snapseed: This is the first and last app I use for each photo (also my fave)
  • SplitPic: Making side-by-side photos
  • Preview: A GREAT app to plan out your Instagram feed
  • Boomerang: Ya know, clinking drinks and stuff
  • ABM: How I add cute text and arrows to my shopable posts
  • Phonto: How I add shapes to my photos
  • Photo Flipper: To flip Snapchat/Instagram selfies

I’ve tried a lot of apps, but these are what work the best for me. If you only want one, get Snapseed. It’s incredible how much you can do in this little app. A coworker showed this to me and I’m not sure what I was doing before this app.

This is a before and after of how I’ll edit most of my outfit photos. I like to correct the color, add some highlights, clean up the background and enhance my clothing details. This one took a little extra work but for the most part, I can do a picture in about 10 minutes. Plus, it’s something I really enjoy doing. Let’s go through the process:

Step #1 Snapseed – Color correct: Depending on the time of day you’re taking a picture, the photo can turn out very cool or very warm. You can see in the Before that there are a lot of blue undertones, so I use the “White Balance” tool to even out the temperature.

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Step #2 Snapseed – Adjustments: Snapseed has a great suite of tools to adjust the brightness, highlights, contrast and even mood of the photo. I’ll go through the “Tune Image” tools and adjust as necessary.

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Step #3 FaceTune – Background Cleanup: Chicago is great but sometimes, there’s trash on the street that’s in the way of your perfect shot, but you’re not about to touch it. Cue “Patch.” This nifty tool let’s you swap out one area of the photo for another. I use this tool to remove dust in close-up shots, add leaves in a fall shot and yes, this is how people remove zits. You’re welcome.

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Step #4 FaceTune – Color enhancement: There are 3 filters in FaceTune that can really amp up the color in your photos if you like really bright, bold pictures. I normally add a touch of S-Curve, Sigmoid or Gamma to a photo to make everything stand out.

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Step #5 Snapseed – Sharpening: At the end, I take my photos back into Snapseed to add some sharpness with the “Details” tool. This is what takes your iPhone photo from amateur to professional. I add this at the end because I like to see how it all comes together before I sharpen things up.

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Step #5 Snapseed – Blurring: As a final step with outfit photos, I like to blur out the background just a little to draw the eye toward the clothes. You can adjust the shape of the area you want to focus on, as well as the transition fade, amount of blurring and the vignette. I normally put my settings on: Transition 100, Blur Strength 10-15 and Vignette 0. My goal is to gently fade the background just a bit.

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That’s it! That’s how I go from a decent picture to a (hopefully) great one. My Instagram doesn’t really have a “theme” as far as filters goes, I normally just keep the photos true to color since I do a lot with makeup. I have a lot of fun editing photos and have definitely learned a lot over the years. I hope you were able to pick up a few tips and tricks. If you want to hear me talk through everything, you can check out my YouTube video here.

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