Hello! First off all, I want to tell you how excited I am to be sharing this information with you. This is the good stuff. I wish that someone had told me about these applications and techniques when I had started my style blog and Instagram. I feel like there is a lot of “hush hush” around these types of topics and no one wants to share their tips, secrets, and advice. Well, I believe in #communityovercompetition and think there is room for everyone in this community. Whether you’re a blogger or a normal person that wants to use their phone as the amazing photography tool that it is. You really don’t need a DSLR to create a beautiful image. Some of my favorites have come from my phone. With that said, let’s get editing.
Here is our base image. I shoot all of my blog photos for Instagram in square mode so that they don’t require extra cropping. My phone is always on this setting and it takes the guess work out of framing your photos correctly. This photo was taken on a rainy day with a thick cloud cover in the sky. I don’t like how there’s so much brown and there is no highlights.
Step 1: I use the Afterlight app (it’s .99 cents!) for basic fixes. I know that this exact app isn’t available across the board for non apple users but most photo editing applications will offer similar features. Keep in mind, the exact levels of each feature that I use vary based on the photo. Some photos need more editing than others. This example needed a lot of love to make it “insta worthy.” Here’s what I did in the app.
–Brightness: I increased my brightness to 100, the maximum brightness allowed in the app. My feed is typically bright so I like to keep that up.
–Contrast: I boosted the contrast up to ten to gain back some definition that was lost when I increased the brightness.
-Saturation: I increased the saturation to 5. This was a very subtle difference but I wanted the reds and blues in my scarf to be more pronounced.
Save the photo and move on to the next app.
Step 2: The VSCO app (also free) is amazing for filters and achieving that artsy effect on your images. When I upload an image to VSCO, I like for it to already be bright, contrasted, and overall balanced. I don’t rely on VSCO to improve my image, just to give the finishing touch.
–Exposure: Once I uploaded the previously saved image to VSCO, I decided I wanted it even brighter so I increased the exposure by one.
–Filter: I used the S2 filter from the “clean” range at a level 2 for this image. I purchased a filter expansion pack but the free ones are really, really great. I typically don’t go extremely heavy on filters and use similar ones most of the time. If you like the look of heavily filtered images, that’s totally fine too, but try to stick to a very similar or the exact same one each time to keep your feed consistent (which we’ll talk more about later.)
Save image for the next app.
Step 3: This is my last step and it’s not one I do every time, but in the case of this image, it was totally necessary. I use Whitagram for spot whitening. Essentially, they have a “whiten” tool that allows you to paint over a portion over your image with various size brushes and whiten them. I whitened over the stone in this entire photo and it took the brown tones out. This is an amazing app if you love the look of a bright white aesthetic on Instagram. It’s also great for making white clothing or teeth pop against the background.
The above image is the before and after with all three apps. It sounds very intensive but the apps are easy to use and I can do this whole process in two minutes.
Maintaining a Cohesive Instagram Feed
I believe that for any business/ creative professional Instagram feed, being cohesive with your images is so important. Whenever you go to someone’s IG profile, you subconsciously decide whether or not it’s pleasing to the eye. The vast majority of successful accounts are cohesive in their image type. This could mean all black and white photos, bright colors of similar subjects, etc. My two simple pieces of advice are:
1: Stick to your niche- if you’re a style blogger, post photos related to that 90% of the time. People want to see that consistency from you.
2: Stick to your editing style- if all of your photos are similar in color, tone, brightness, and temperature, your feed will appear cohesive. This can be accomplished by taking photos strategically so your photos flow with each other. You can also do this in editing with the use of filters.
It is late Fall right now, so my feed has darker colors and similar tones throughout. I love bright photos and use the editing technique above for most of my photos. You’ll notice that my photos are all related to my niche.
Over the summer, my feed was very white and bright which I loved. I always went out of my way to compose my photos in a way that made it easy to edit. Example… I wasn’t taking photos with a lot of dark colors and hoping I could edit them away.
I really hope you all gained something from this post. Just remember that whatever equipment and skill level you have, you can absolutely create beautiful images. I’d love to know if you have any apps or tips for editing your phone photos.