Thursday, 4 August 2016

How I edit my Instagram photos

Over the past couple of months, I have become obsessed with Instagram. From browsing my favourite hash tags to looking for fashion and beauty inspiration. I want to have a feed full of beautiful pictures that people admire.

The thing I've realised recently is that it is all about the editing. A simple photo can be turned into something artistic with the right tools. Now I am still in the beginner's league of this, but I thought I'd do a little post for fellow newbies on how I edit my photos.

How to edit Instagram photos, Sally Hansen, Aflorable, Pandora ring
Original photo to final edit

Let's talk about the photo above... I wanted to show off my love of this Sally Hansen nail polish, so I needed to get the bottle in as well as a good shot of my nails. I tried holding it a number of different ways before I came up with this one. Initially my thumb was bare and as you can't see much of the thumb nail polish, I had the idea to put a ring on to add a little extra something to the picture. Also, in terms of audience, not only am I now showing off my nail polish, but also a Pandora ring, so potentially drawing in extra viewers. I took the photo using the sandard iPhone 6 camera set to 'sqaure'.

Although the orginial photo was taken in natural day light, it was quite a dull day and the white backgrond is left looking a dull shade of blue. So for the first step I took the photo into the Afterlight app to have a play around with the brightness, contrast and saturation. I always try not to play too much as I don't want the nail polish to end up looking a different colour.

Then I took the photo into Avatan to whiten up the background; this is a little tip I have learnt from various YouTubers. Apps like Avatan that have a teeth whitening tool are great for these kinds of shots. You select teeth whitening and then use your finger to run the brush around the white area and it instantly whitens it up. There is also a helpful eraser in Avatan so if you go over anything by mistake that you didn't want to whiten, you can correct it.

How to edit Instagram photos, flat lay
Example of using Avatan to whiten the background

Finally, I take the photo in to Instagram and go through their great selection of filters and have a play around and adjust them until I find the perfect one.

How to edit Instagram photos, Sally Hansen, Aflorable, Pandora ring
Finished edit

Other apps that I find useful are Layout for combining multiple photos together, Repix for adding flourishes to fill any unwanted space or to brighten up your picture and Over to overlay text on your image.

How to edit Instagram photos, Olivia Burton watch
Example of using Layout to combine images

How to edit Instagram photos, outfit of the day
Example of using Repix to add light flourish


  1. Where possible I try to take photos in day light
  2. A clean white background is always useful (I often use my desk)
  3. Try the photo from a few different angles then see which looks the best
  4. Keep an eye out for useful props (eg. plants, candles, fairy lights etc.) 
  5. An iPhone camera is all you need
  6. When editing makeup like liptstick, try not to alter it so much that the colour is not true
  7. There is nothing wrong with double filtering
  8. If you are taking the photo for Instagram, take it as a square. I hate cropping out great bits of a picture that I have taken in normal photo proportions.  
  9. Most photo editing apps, hide changes/filters/edits that you have just applied if you hold down on the picture. I use this all the time to work out if my photo looks better or worse with the change I'm am trying out

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