As weird as it sounds, I love editing pictures. I’ve had the VSCO app since it was called “VSCOcam” back in 2014 and I’ve loved it ever since! Today I’m sharing how I edit my Instagram pictures for my account that corresponds with this blog, @apocketfuloffaith. I’ve always loved watching “How I Edit My Instagram Pictures” YouTube videos so I thought this might be fun! I’m by no means a pro, but I really like the way I’ve been editing my pictures lately! Keep in mind, these steps vary from photo to photo, but this is typically about what I do. Enjoy!
After I take and upload the photo from my camera (I use a Canon EOS Rebel T6), I open my photography/editing folder on my iPhone. These are all of the apps I ever use on my Instagram photos, but it’s very rare that I use anything aside from VSCO, so that’s all I’m going to show you today! I really love VSCO and I would definitely recommend downloading it if you don’t have it already, it’s free and it will seriously improve your Instagram game if you use it correctly!
Once I’ve opened the Instagram app, I choose “Import” and select the photo(s) I’m considering posting. Today it’s just one, but often I’ll have a few that are pretty similar and I’ll edit all of them before choosing one to post.
Now that I’ve uploaded the picture to VSCO, you can get a better look at the before. I don’t think anything about this picture looks really bad, it’s just a little darker and less colorful than I’d like it to be.
The first thing I do to all of my Instagram pictures is choose the filter C6. As extra as it sounds, I did buy this filter in a package on VSCO but there are lots of great free options too! If you’re not willing to put down money on photo editing (I wasn’t until a few months ago), I would highly recommend the filter C1 if you’re looking for a colorful theme, HB1 or HB2 for a more minimalistic, black and white kind of theme, and F2 for a colorful but soft, muted look. You can actually adjust the intensity of your filter by tapping on it again and playing with the levels, but personally I usually just leave it all the way up.
The first thing I really mess with after I’ve filtered the picture is exposure. I usually turn it up just a smidge if the picture’s a little darker like I mentioned this one was, but sometimes when I use flash the pictures appear a little washed out and then I would turn the exposure down to -1 or -2.
After I’ve brightened up the picture a bit, I like to turn up the contrast just a little too. This usually makes your photos look like they’re better quality than they actually are, even if it was taken with an iPhone (been there)! The trick is to turn it up no higher than 2, once you pass 2 the picture’s shadows begin to get too dark and the highlight points become white.
Next I like to use the straighten tool to make sure all of the lines in my picture are straight. When a photo is taken without a tripod usually they’re a little crooked, so this is really helpful. I think having all of the lines in a picture straight (like the line where the road meets the grass in this picture) makes it more aesthetically pleasing to the human eye and therefore more likable if you know what I’m saying!
After straightening the image I usually turn up the sharpness a bit. I would recommend never turning your sharpness up past 4, at that point photos tend to become grainy, dark, and honestly kind of ugly.
Once I’ve sharpened the picture I usually like to turn up the clarity a bit too. This feature also helps to add more definition to the picture, but the same “don’t go past 4” rule applies here too.
Here’s a little trick for my fellow pale girls out there. I discovered the highlights feature a couple years ago while messing around with settings on a picture and it has been a bit of a life changer. Turning highlights up to about 7 or 8 will decrease the flash or sunlight reflection on your face (or whatever your picture’s subject might be) and make your skin appear a tad darker. Yes, I just taught you how to make yourself appear realistically tanner in photos, you’re welcome. This trick is especially helpful for all of those late night, bright flash photos that tend to make your face look completely washed out.
Next I like to turn up the saturation just a bit to bring a little more color to the photo. This tool can definitely make or break a photo. If you use this the right way, it’ll make your pictures seem bright and colorful, but if you use it the wrong way it’ll be super obvious and your skin will literally be orange. I would recommend never turning the saturation up past 4.
At this point, I’m pretty much done editing the photo, but I like to go back to the initial exposure setting and turn it up a little more now that there’s so much edit on the picture. Settings like clarity, sharpness, and contrast are all great, but they often make a picture grow darker, so always check exposure again before saving the photo.
My camera takes pictures that are classified as “2:3” and “3:2” in VSCO, but Instagram makes you crop it to what VSCO calls “3:4.” I usually do this cropping in the VSCO app instead of through Instagram because I’d rather crop the photo than zoom into it more, which is all Instagram really allows you to do.
This is the final product! I like my photos to look realistically bright and colorful and I think this editing does a nice job of accomplishing that. Like I mentioned in the intro, this editing varies from photo to photo because the lighting isn’t the same in every single picture I take, but this is a good example of what I usually do!