Editing for instagram - My step by step process

I'm asked several times a week about how I edit my photos for instagram so I thought I'd share my step-by-step process with you guys! I have my own little process down, but you are more than welcome to tweak it depending on your own aesthetic. I personally love light and bright photos and that's what I try to achieve when editing in VSCO. This entire process is pretty simple and not that intricate or difficult, but that's why it works for me! In my current season of life, editing for the web isn't something I want to spend more than a few minutes on. I do use lightroom for more in depth editing, like brightening some of my photos without losing quality. I'm prepping a blog post for the near future on brightening photos in lightroom. I live in a little basement apartment with little natural light for part of the day, so getting those bright shots are something I've been trying to hone in on. I'm excited to share with you all soon! In the mean time here's my step by step on editing for instagram. I almost feel a little silly sharing because it's pretty simple, but sometimes those little adjustments can make the biggest difference! In this example I'll show a specific photo taken in the afternoon and how I got the look I wanted. I usually use these few steps in all of my photos. I work mostly with the exposure, contrast, and as of recently the highlights. Without further adieu, here's what my process looks like!


1. the original image

Here is the original image, I edit all of my photos in VSCO using the A6 filter! this shot was taken in the late afternoon, but with some tweaking it almost looks like it could've been a bright and clear morning. 


2. I apply the handy a6 filter

I love using this filter because it gives enough contrast and depth while also adding some brightness. It also tones down some of the colors to make them less saturated. Simply applying the filter doesn't give the exact effect I'm going for though, so I make some other adjustments.


3. Bump up the contrast

Bumping up the contrast makes your images look sharper without losing their quality. Doing this exposes textures, and enriches colors. 


4. Exposure

This is how I get my photos to look light and bright. I shoot on my iphoneX, but was previously shooting with my iphone7. Our phones are so powerful and it's been really fun to get unique shots without having to whip out my dslr. In this specific photo I don't lose a lot of the quality when exposing because it was shot in natural light. Using contrast also helps balance it all out. So don't be afraid to play with the exposure and contrast until you get the look you're going for. 


5. Highlights

Recently I've been playing around with the highlights. Sometimes outdoor shots with the sky in the background look a little too bright. Highlights helps tone down some of the brightness and brings out some of the details in your image.


6. post! the final result

And there you have it, 5 easy steps to editing your photos! These tips can be incorporated into any of your favorite filters!

I recently purchased the 50mm for my camera and have loved seeing the sharpness and depth in my images, but I still shoot primarily with my iphoneX for my instagram posts. I'd love to hear any other questions you might have about taking photos for instagram. It's such a fun creative community and I've loved learning from other amazing photographers. I truly believe you can capture the beauty in your everyday, and that's honestly one of the reasons I love using + sharing on instagram. I hope this was helpful and feel free to leave any other questions in the comments!