People often ask me, “How do you edit your Instagram photos?” Now, I’m by no means Instagram famous – I only have about 5,000 followers and I don’t think the photos I post are anything spectacular, but I do keep a pretty consistent theme.

First of all, let me say that I edit my photography differently than the photos I post on Instagram. When I use my Canon digital SLR, I edit those photos on my laptop on Photoshop. Most of the photos I post on IG I’ve taken with my iPhone 8+, so I typically edit those on my phone. Since this post is simply how I edit for Instagram, I’ll walk through the steps I take and apps I use when editing the photos I take on my phone.


I’ll use the photo to the left as an example. I actually don’t have the original saved, but it was quite a bit darker when I initially took it.

The first step I take to edit my photos is to adjust the curves. In my opinion, the curve tool is one of the most powerful tools you have. You can learn more about adjusting curves in Photoshop here. I typically use curves to brighten my photos, while still maintaining the level of contrast I want. In the photo to the left, I have already adjusted the curves.

The iPhone app I use for curves is Color Story. This app has a lot of helpful functions, but I usually just use it to the adjust the curves, then move onto the next app that I use – VSCO.


The VSCO app is definitely my go-to photo editor on my iPhone. I typically make all other changes (cropping, straightening, temperature, tint, etc.) on VSCO, mostly because it’s the app I’m most used to. I also use its presets to keep the theme of my Instagram posts consistent.


After I’ve made all the lighting and cropping adjustments necessary, I apply one of my go-to presets to the photo. Recently, I’ve been using VSCO’s J5 pretty consistently, but my feed also has a lot of A4 used as well.


And that’s it!

Some photos take me longer than others to edit, in terms of the initial lighting and cropping adjustments, but for the most part my process is pretty consistent.

You can also see it’s not drastically different from the original, but when it’s in the grid with the rest of my Instagram photos you can definitely see the consistent theme across all posts.

Another app that I find super helpful for more complex editing is Snapseed – you can make finer, more precise edits to photos using its tools. I will often use the Brush tool to selectively adjust the exposure, temperature, or saturation of certain sections of my photo. For instance, if there is a weird shadow somewhere, I’ll select the Brush and use the +0.3 Exposure setting to lighten certain areas, while leaving the rest of the photo untouched.

As I said earlier, I definitely have a more complex process when I edit photos I’ve taken on my Canon, but this is pretty much everything I do before posting an iPhone photo to Instagram.

Hopefully this was helpful, but if you have any other questions about photo editing or editing apps, feel free to contact me!

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