Ahhh Instagram, my preferred finger scrolling, double tapping social media feed which tends to occupy the better part of my day; more so than any other platform I must say. Instagram has been getting a lot of love and hate (more hate than love really…) these past few months for the new algorithms. But despite these struggles from all the changes, I still love finding new sources of inspiration and creativity on that platform. What people are creating around the world is truly astounding!

Being a creative means that I’m a visual person, hence I spend most of my time on Instagram and work hard on honing in on that aesthetic. Now, some people would say that I care too much, and I do to an extent. I will admit that I spend too much time worrying about engagement but that’s just the nature of it when you want to use it as a business tool and it can get frustrating to see the bots and spam accounts ruining the hard-work a lot of people put in. I see this blog and my Instagram as an extension of my portfolio so I want to make sure its something that I’m proud of. With that hard-work I often have people complimenting me on my feed and photos and asking how they too can achieve something similar. So with that I thought it would be fun to share my top secret (not so secret anymore) tips on how I edit my Instagram photos.

How I edit my Instagram @cheerscharlie:

  1. Take good photos: This is not to say you need a DSLR camera, but a good phone camera and good lighting are a good start. You can also upload your DSLR photos to your phone but iPhone quality will do just fine. This will allow for more range in post processing  to get the most out of a photograph. Its important to have high quality images, nowadays people come to expect it; blurry photos won’t get you anywhere unless you’re Brandon Woelfel with his bokeh magic.
  2. Snapseed: This free google photo editing app is a must. This is usually where I’ll first bring in my photo to adjust overall lighting. One of my favourite tools to use is the Selective tool, it allows you to selectively adjust areas of the photo based on the colour you chose. You can modify brightness. contrast, saturation and structure to make those images pop! The Curves tool is also super handy for those of you who want more control over colours in your photos. If you’re a Lightroom fan this tool will be a good mobile bonus for you if you don’t have a cloud subscription to get the Lr mobile app.
  3. VSCO: A great mobile app for filters. I like to use this for an overall filter to help with making my feed a bit more cohesive. I rarely use the filters at full strength, usually they get minimized to a range of 2-5, depending on the photo. My favourite are the HB series which are free to download from the VSCO store. Be sure to keep an eye out in the VSCO store as they usually have free filter packages in there from time to time. I also find their website of curated work to be very inspiring if you’re looking for photo inspo.
  4. Facetune: Primarily used as a portrait editing mobile app but the tools can be used for different purposes. Don’t go crazy with this one or you’ll look like a Photoshopped plastic Barbie. I use the free version so not all the tools are enabled, but I still find value in the ones I do use in the app.  Some great tools in this app are the Whitening tool, to bring white walls or to de-saturate floors and such in photos to bring in more light; and the Smoothing tool which is a great one to help reduce noise in a photo and of course for smoothing out those wrinkles or blemishes.
  5. UNUM: this is a great app to help layout your Instagram feed. I tend to import my edited photos into this app to see which photo flows best, next to, before, after, above and  below. It helps to work in photos that deviate more from my feed aesthetic and to place them so that they aren’t as jarring and everything feels more or less balanced. There are a limited number of photos your can upload but you can pay to get unlimited grids and other features.

All these tips are similar to the order I would do/use and apply when editing a photo. A photo edit can range from a quick 5-minute thing to a 20 minute ordeal with five plus versions. Granted this isn’t to say that you’ll need that much time but it’s really up to you to create your own feed. Don’t be afraid to experiment and if you post something that isn’t 100% related to your feed, don’t stress about it. Often times, those photos tend to do better!

Let me know down in the comments what are your favorite mobile editing apps!

If you guys like these kind of tips and tricks post, maybe I’ll post more 🙂

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