How I Edit My Instagram Photos

… and maintain an aesthetic without going batsh*t crazy.

INSTAGRAM with its vast and ever-growing content uploaded daily by foodies, bloggers, and meme-ers, it’s easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of it all. You may have 13.5k followers, grown over time with strategic tags and follow for follow requests; or you can be the everyday uploader, who posts to share her highlights with the closest of family and friends. Whichever type of ‘grammer you are, the way you present your instagram will allow you to tell the story of your life, one 1×1 photo at a time. This may all sound a bit superficial… But you clicked on this post! Time to get what you came for.

Part I: Taking your photos

There are certain steps that must be referred to in order to snap the perfect instagram moment. I say “steps” and “referred to” so that you take these tips with a grain of salt – there are no rules for instagram. Do what you like! But in order to maintain a theme that suits your style atm and best tells the story you are trying to convey, there are certain steps that make the instagram process all the more easier.

Step 1: Setting Your Scene


It’s time to take a pic. You haven’t posted in about 6 days and you’re starting to become one of those “invisible instagrammers”. You like your friends posts and try to maintain the like4like relationship you have with some of your mutuals – but other than that, it’s been almost a week, and all you’ve done on instagram is creep memes and contestants from this season’s The Bachelor on the popular page. Girl, it was time to post yesterday.

Whether you find inspiration in your highlighter-on-fleek-da-fuq-face or your freshly clean kitchen that is going to last approx. 3 minutes, snap a shot. You don’t need to be a world-traveller or spend $125 on a meal to take an instagram-worthy picture. It’s about telling the true story of your life and the scenes around you that make a really outstanding feed.

Step 2: Consider Lighting


The best place to take a picture is somewhere in the setting where lighting is prime. Perhaps a pendant lamp hanging over your dinner table is making even the simplest of dishes look like a a foodie’s dream. But more likely, it is somewhere with natural light.

Whether I’m taking a selfie or doing an unpaid promotion of a sleek cold press juice (because it cost me $7), I’m usually taking the picture in my kitchen. With these bay windows lighting the space naturally, some of my best at-home instagram shots come from la cuisine. Pro Tip: If you’re taking a selfie in front of a window, open up the shutters and let the light in so that there are no weird lines obstructing the shot.

Step 3: Background is Key


There’s truly nothing worse than a pretty picture ruined by a messy background. Find a spot where you can showcase the focal piece of your pic. If you’re drinking a starbs or showing the world your latest thrift store find, do it with a clean background.

For instance,  I prefer a white counter space to show off my goodies for instagram. Others find inspiration in a some opaque, solid coloured sheets or carpeting. Either way, if you’re taking a picture of a few things rather than a scene, it’s best to clean up the clutter of the picture with a clean background.

Step 4: Make it Easier on Yourself


Finding apps that help you take better photos is a great way to up your instagram game. Using the “square” function on your phones camera app allows you to see exactly what is going to appear on instagram when you apply that 1×1 ratio. This trick also allows you to play up the symmetry or asymmetry you want to convey in the picture by giving you a clear border to work within.

There are even apps that allow you to take a perfectly aligned snapshot. The level across the viewfinder appears on the screen to help you align your photo.

Part II: Editing Your Image


Thinking back to the concept of an aesthetically-pleasing, thematic instagram feed, editing your images will help you create a coherent flow of pictures. My favourite app to accomplish this is VSCO.


Using VSCO, you can edit all the basics of your photo from brightness and saturation to colour hue and contrast. You can also apply subtle filters and adjust the amount to your liking. Pro Tip: choose your favourite filter off the VSCO app, and apply it to every photo before uploading. This ensures that the photos flow together because they will all have the same filters applied. This helps create an “aesthetic” or “theme. VSCO has filter packs that may be purchased in app, often offering bundles of similar ones. However, there are some standard filters that come free.

The current filter I am applying to all of my photos has been HB2. I love the glow this gives all my pictures, even those underexposed. To edit my pictures, I choose a pic from my camera roll – perhaps I’ve just taken it or I scroll for a #tbt. If necessary, I edit the image using the basic functions such a crop or contrast. I apply my filter-of-the-minute to my desired likeness. I go back to my VSCO feed and see how my newly edited image fares against all my others. If I like the flow, off to instagram it goes.

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

So that is how I edit and maintain my instagram feed. Feel free to share some of your instatips in the comments section below and check out my personal instagram linked in the sidebar.



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