How I Edit My Instagram Photos

A question I always seem to get from time to time, but has picked up within the past month is: How do you edit your Instagram photos?  I did one this past Spring, but I think it’s safe to say my editing has changed a bit.  To me, editing photos is a part of the artistic aspect of content creation.  I get so excited while shooting outfits just thinking about the ways I can slightly tweak the photo to make one of the colors pop more or set a mood that fits with the outfit. Sometimes, I even joke that the only reason I do this whole blogging thing is solely to edit the photos that come out of it… definitely a joke, right? 😉  Anyway, today I’m sharing an updated how I edit my photos!  The edits I’m sharing are the basic edits I use on about half my photos, while the other half I use more specific editing that’d we’d be here for days if I tried to explain it.

For all of my photo edits, I use a free app on my phone called VSCO.  At this point, I’m almost positive everyone and their mother uses or has heard about this app, which based on the editing you can do on this app, I’m not surprised!  Everything from filters and borders to exposure and grain can be found on this app, and there’s so much variety with the types of edits you can create.  Let’s get into my editing process!

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For every photo, the first thing I do when editing is to pop on filter over the entirety of the photo.  I love filters as they quickly create and give a certain vibe to the photo and are the perfect base to begin editing with.  My favorite part about filters on VSCO is that you can control how strongly it affects your photo.  In order to not have all my photos look to uniform, I always turn down the filter to anywhere between +5.0 and +8.6.  Currently, the filter I use on my photos is DOG1, which is what I’ve been using for the majority of my photos within the last month or so.



One thing that stays consistent within all my photos (except for black and white ones) is the amount of contrast I add.  I love having a good range of differences between the tones of my photo and +1.1 contrast always seems to do the trick for me!



The DOG1 filter on VSCO ussually de-saturates the photo a lot, so I like to go back and add a bit of color back into the shot.  The amount I add back really depends on the colors and lighting of the shot, but I normally give the photo around a +1.6 boost of saturation to liven it up.  Especially when the colors of the photos are contrasting, like the red of this jacket and blue of the sky, it’s important to play around with saturation and see which fits best, but still leaves the photo with a natural feel.



After saturation, I play around with the temperature of the photo.  Depending on whether you prefer cooler (blue and white) tones or warmer (red and yellow) tones will change the temperature you add to a photo.  I’m a big warm tones person, so by turning up the temperature around +1.5 I add just the amount of yellow, hot summer day tones to the photo that I love.  Be careful with this tool though, as it can easily change the true color of objects in the photo if too much cooler or warmer tones are applied!


Screenshot_20181119-170749_VSCO (1)

I always tweak my skin tone a bit.  As I have naturally very red undertones, I add a +2.8 to my photos to take away a bit of the strong red that always embraces my cheeks.  Depending on my skin tone in the original photo, I’ll change the skin tone edit accordingly.



To ensure the edges of my photo are completely blown out or overexposed, I add a tounch of a vignette (a shadowing technique around the corners of the photo).  As I still want my overall photo to be bright, I only ever add a slight vignette of +2.7.



Normally, exposure is my first go-to edit aside from filters on every photo, but the lighting in this photo wasn’t terrible so I decided to save it for the end.  Through editing the exposure of a photo, you can adjust how dark or bright the lighting is to make it just how you want it.  Here, the photo was a little too bright for my liking so I turned it down -1.1.  On most photos, the exposure I use is -0.5 to -0.9.


The last step for all my editing processes is to crop the photo down so it will fit into Instagram’s settings for size.  The photos I take on my camera are 2:3, but Instagram requires 4:5 photos.  Using the crop edit from VSCO, I will change the size of my photo to fit this!

Here is the final product:

Processed with VSCO with dog1 preset

Woohoo, there you have it, friends!  I hope you enjoyed this post and that it helped to inspire you in your own editing ventures 😉  Leave a comment below with any questions or blog post ideas you have!  Thanks so much for reading!

💜Love, Olivia


8 thoughts on “How I Edit My Instagram Photos

  1. Pingback: Creative Direction 101: Editing! | Absolutely Olivia

  2. Pingback: Q&A!! fashion, life, activism, and more!! | Absolutely Olivia

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