How I Edit Instagram Photos Using Four Apps

Instagram, ohh Instagram. Everyone’s favourite frenemy. If the social media platform was personified, it would be one of the mean girls at school who treated all of her friends badly, but whom you somehow still wanted to win approval from, even though you hated yourself a little for it. Yup, Instagram has us all hooked: it is the biggest mobile platform with the largest number of active users, and I have never had quite the same reception on my Insta Stories as I did over the summer when I posted a step by step guide on how I edit Instagram photos to turn dark, shadowy pictures into posts which pop.

How to edit Instagram photos: before and after

It’s safe to say that the platform has made a huge impression on the world of the influencer, and the extreme power that those little squares have over consumer behaviour has sealed its fate. As a blogger, I know that many of us are complaining that the algorithm is killing engagement, that our posts don’t show up on the feeds of those that really want to see them and the entire platform is awash with accounts employing dirty tactics to get ahead of the game, but love it or hate it, Instagram is here to stay.

How to edit Instagram photos: before and after

So how can you make sure you stand out from the crowd and draw in real, genuine engagement from people that are positively influenced by your posts? The answer is simple: consistently produce aesthetically-pleasing, quality visuals. In this post, I’m going to talk about the techniques you can employ to edit Instagram photos and introduce you to the apps you need to do it.

1. Add vibrancy and light with Lightroom

The first app I always upload my photos into before I do anything else is Photoshop’s Lightroom, which is happily still free on iOS and Android, and can completely transform a photo in a matter of seconds.

How to edit Instagram photos: Lightroom

As its name suggests, Lightroom is best at changing the balance of light in a picture. The pictures that consistently do well on Instagram tend to be bright, with minimal shadows (unless that is your style), and increasing the exposure slightly, before reducing the shadows and increasing the white balance can achieve this in an instant.

I often then move to the Color function to add some vibrance and a little bit of saturation.

2. Touch it up with Facetune

Selfie junkies have known about the life saving features of this App for a long time. Dark circles under your eyes due to too many late nights? A spot on your chin? Teeth looking a little yellow? Never fear, Facetune is here with its Smooth, Patch and Whiten functions to transform your face in an instant. There are also some slightly scarier functions, such as the ability to resize your face and make your eyes bigger and further apart, but unless you want to look like you’ve had a bad argument with a plastic surgeon, I would leave these well alone.

How to edit Instagram photos: Facetune

Here’s my big Facetune secret: I don’t usually use it for my face! The Smooth function can smooth out creases in your clothes, the Patch function can remove unsightly objects that you don’t want in your photo, such as litter, and my favourite functions of all, the Glow and Vibrance functions can make your hair look glossy and sunsets pop. Have a play around, it’s really good fun!

3. Fine tune with Snapseed

My favourite app of them all, Snapseed, is the place I take my picture last, just before I upload it into the Instagram app itself. There are a huge array of things that you can do with this app (25 tools to be precise), but the best way to use it I’ve found, is for a little fine tuning.

How to edit Instagram photos: Snapseed

In the Tune Image tool, I use the magic wand to automatically detect and refine the elements of my photo which require tweaking. It usually adds a little more contrast to the colours, and makes the image ‘pop’. I then move to the Curves tool, where I always select the ‘Brighten’ curve. This is purely a matter of taste, because I like my grid to be full of light and airy images, but I suggest playing around with the various effects here, or in the Looks function to see what kind of effects you like.

Finally, I use the Brush tool to fine tune certain elements of my photo which I want to draw the viewer’s attention to. A little saturation on brightly-coloured flowers for example, or lowering the exposure of the sky to make it a brighter blue.

You can be extra fancy by employing the Double Exposure tool to overlay one image on another. But the best thing about this app is that it tracks your edits across the various tools you use and allows you to apply them to other images using a simple copy and paste. So, if you want all of your Instagram images to match one another, this is the easiest way to do it, without having to remember all your settings.

4. Make final touches with the Instagram native edit option

Finally, I import my photo into Instagram for my very final tweaks, which usually involves nothing more than adding a little Brightness and Sharpening.

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So there we have it! Four simple but genius (and free!) apps to help you to edit Instagram photos. The results may not be perfect, but employing a few of the techniques above will certainly help your images to stand out much more than they would if you left them in their original state (and then hopefully go on to gain you a lot more followers and likes).

Let me conclude by admitting I’m not an Instagram expert. I might have worked out how to edit Instagram photos, but my photography has a hell of a long way to go. At the time of writing I have a measely 4,680 followers, which may sound like a lot to some, but is nothing noteworthy in the IG world. However, my stats are constantly on the increase, and I am consistently averaging a 4% engagement rate on my posts and gaining over 60,000 impressions per week, so I figure I must be doing something right. I put this down entirely to my ongoing endeavour to improve my visuals.

What are your favourite apps and techniques for editing your Instagram photos?

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How to edit Instagram photos using four easy apps

11 Comments

  1. November 9, 2017 / 9:10 am

    That’s a good one …. I did not know about Facetune … should check it out …. thank you for sharing

  2. November 9, 2017 / 11:01 am

    Lovely post and so useful. I use Lightroom and Snapseed a lot too! Love them!

  3. November 9, 2017 / 11:12 am

    I LOVE how crisp your photos are. I am obsessed with Lightroom at the moment and Retouch but will give Snapseed a go!

  4. November 9, 2017 / 11:42 am

    Wow!! Thank u soo much! I downloaded lightroom and facetune right away! Very informative!πŸ‘ŒπŸ»

  5. November 9, 2017 / 12:57 pm

    Great tips! I love all these apps but I definitely need to play around with snapseed more!

  6. November 9, 2017 / 1:34 pm

    So useful Pol. Love it. I;m now off to facetune my face!!

  7. November 9, 2017 / 10:16 pm

    So useful

  8. Aff
    November 10, 2017 / 9:17 am

    One of the most generous posts I’ve seen, thank you so much 😊 I downloaded each app step by step βœ…

  9. November 10, 2017 / 7:41 pm

    Thanks for this post Polly, it’s so helpful. I’ve not used any of these apps but will definitely by trying them out because your photos are always fabulous. Instagram is a pain in the derriere so any help is much appreciated!
    Steph
    http://www.pricelesslifeofmine.com

  10. November 14, 2017 / 3:51 pm

    Hi Polly – this is a really useful post. We are huge fans of Instagram and like you said, love it or hate it, it is here to stay πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing! PS: We also use VSCO for editing but I think Snapseed is better.

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