I get a lot of questions about how I edit photos for Instagram - how many of my Instagram photos are taken with my phone vs. my camera, what filters I use, etc. My process is quite simple and most people are surprised to find out that the majority of my photos on Instagram are taken with my iPhone 6plus. Below I created a simple step-by-step guide to help you create better iPhone images for social media.
My editing is pretty streamlined at this point and I do it all with simple iPhone apps. My process is quick and easy and can be applied to any photo. Most photos take me no longer than 5 minutes to edit. As you can see below, a few simple tweaks can make a world of difference.
Step one - I take my original image and I bring it in to Snapseed.
Click the pencil tool at the bottom and it will bring up this menu:
There are many things you can do here but I mainly use the first set of tools called "Tune Image"
Once you have clicked "Tune Image" it will bring you back to your image and you will see the first adjustment available to you is brightness. This is usually the most important step for me when editing iPhone photos. A well exposed photo is a great starting point but on the iPhone is usually darker than I like my photos to look. By sliding your finger right or left across the screen you can adjust the brightness level.
On this particular photo, I hiked the brightness up pretty high to achieve the sunny brightness I was actually seeing with my eyes.
If you slide your finger upwards and downwards you can access the other tools in the "Tune Image" menu. Another great tool is the "Ambiance" tool. This tool either lightens shadows and brings down highlights or the opposite depending on which way you slide your finger from right to left. This is a great tool to create some "moodiness" to your photo. I usually swipe towards the left (the minus side). The best way to understand how this tool works is to just try it out on a few of your own photos.
Next, I will almost always add contrast to my photos. It helps colors pop and enhances the overall look.
At this point I usually leave well enough alone unless the highlights or shadows need to be corrected. In this photo, the clouds in the sky could benefit from sliding the highlights down a little (swipe left).
Next, I will export this image as a "copy with permanent changes". This way you will still have your original if you want to go back and make changes.
Step 2 - I bring this newly edited photo into VSCO to add a filter so that the image fits in with the feel of my feed. Since most people are familiar with VSCO, I will skip a step-by-step guide on that and focus on what I do specifically. If you need a guide on basic usage click here.
My favorite pack on VSCO is The Legacy Collection. I almost solely use the filters in this group to a varying degree. I recommend downloading all the packs and seeing what works best for your style of photos - there are an overwhelming amount of amazing filters. By using the same or similar filters, VSCO really helps to add consistency to your feed, which is especially important if you are using Instagram for business.
Another thing I love about VSCO is that you can adjust the intensity of the filter on your image. This is great because sometimes you want a little less of a "filtered" kind of look.
To see more of my Instagram photos follow along here: