Hey guys! Welcome to this blog post where I walk you through my ultimate guide to editing photos, specifically for Instagram. The most frequently asked question I get asked on Instagram is how do I edit my photos. While I’m sure the intentions are good, I definitely don’t want to share my editing process as a source for people to copy from. (I will hopefully be releasing a couple Lightroom presets this year, so watch this space!) Instead of sharing my exact recipe for editing just now – I thought it would be more beneficial for you guys if I created a guide to editing photos so you can find your own unique style & create a page that represents you, rather than a different version of somebody else.
Choose a Colour Palette
Before you even get to the editing process, it’s important to choose a colour palette for your photos! This helps you stay within a consistent theme. For me, I have chosen warm colors. Lots of pinks, whites, browns, neutrals, and pops of green. This means I will rarely include a blue, purple or bright green item in my photos.
Choosing a colour palette and sticking to it is the key to creating a consistent feed. It means that editing your photos is so much easier since you don’t have to tone down any unwanted colours. And when you look at your feed as a whole, it will look consistent and well-balanced.
That being said, have a balance. If yellow is your primary colour, work it into your feed well. Don’t just have YELLOW EVERYWHERE in every photo. Balance it throughout.
Also – as well as colours, you can choose motifs. I had a phase where I had gypsophila in every single photo and my feed looked sooo pretty! So maybe have a staple object that features in all your photos, like flowers, a favourite mug, or a specific backdrop.
There are lots of colour palettes on Pinterest. Just type it into the search bar and choose one that suits you!
Tell a Story
Again, before you even start shooting, think about what kind of story you want to tell. I’ll break this down into two factors.
First, what is your Instagram account for? Mine is obviously about books and home decor. Maybe yours is about cooking and baking; maybe it’s fitness; maybe it’s to share your studying and reading routine! Whatever it is, tell a story.
Second, once you have the story you want to tell – stick with it. For the most part. It’s important not to be too strict with this, but it helps to stick to it around 90% of the time. It’s rare that I share anything except books and home decor, but of course, I might occasionally share a travel photo, or a self-portrait or sometimes, I even post about something yummy I’ve eaten lately! However, sticking to this storytelling of my reading life and how much I love staying at home, really helps my followers to know what to expect. It also helps me to engage with people, since people return when they realise they like the content that I share.
One of my favourite accounts, @sabrinafelizitas, shares the story of her home and how it makes her feel. It has this soft, slow afternoon, feel to it, as well as some great tips for home decor.
@elizabeth_sagan tells the story of how books transport her into other worlds, using epic photography and photoshopping skills.
Finally, @booksandpeonies shares the story of how little things can make up a happy and joyful life.
What’s your story going to be?
Once you finally feel ready to shoot, it’s so important to shoot your photos consistently. This means shooting in similar lighting. I like to choose cloudy days with bright light to minimize graininess and harsh shadows. I also stick to the same white balance setting on my camera to ensure that the colours are similar across my photos.
However, it’s a good idea to mix it up when it comes to your style of photos. Flatlays all the time are great, but your feed can look really repetitive. Personally, I like it when it’s a surprise what my favourite accounts are going to post.
So mix it up when it comes to flat lays, portraits, and other types of photos.
@shetellsastory is a great example of how to use different style of photography to create a more dynamic feed and tell a wider story.
… And Edit
Now, the moment you’ve probably been waiting for. However, this portion of the post means nothing if you don’t stick to the tips above!
Anyway, when it comes to editing, there are so many options and no two accounts should ever look the same.
That being said, I use A Color Story to edit my photos. I create a unique preset on there, which I won’t be sharing because, as mentioned, it’s reflective of my personal storytelling on Instagram. However, the app is super easy to use and if you’re a beginner, it’s a great option!
VSCO is also a great place to start, but it is great for advanced photographers, too. There are dozens of filters and you can personalise them with all the extra settings.
If you want to shortcut it, buy some Lightroom presets on Etsy! There are so many and I used them for a while, but I always found it kind of hard to represent myself using something that was entirely created by somebody other than myself. I’ve been experimenting with Lightroom a little bit, and hopefully will come out with some presets, too. I’d rather use this than A Colour Story because it keeps the quality of your images better.
Other great apps: Snapseed, Afterlight, Kuni Cam, A Design Kit and Dazz Cam.
Top Tip: Use a few apps to mix and match your favourite filters! I like mixing VSCO filters with extra settings in Lightroom.
Post & Engage
Once your photo is ready to go, post and engage, engage, engage! Engagement is the most important part of growing on Instagram so keep chatting to people, ask questions & please… if you’re going to DM somebody, be nice, introduce yourself and look through their FAQs and blog posts before asking questions. It means a lot for someone to know you’ve looked through and given time to their content before wanting something from them.
Hopefully this post is helpful! Remember to experiment and persevere.