How to edit your photos for a bright and clean Instagram feed

I usually am asked about how I curate my Instagram feed and stories. And I decided to share with you the apps and tips I use to create a memorable Instagram account. I am all about getting creative. It would sound like a cliche to say that it is a passion, but trust me when I say I can spend hours watching and researching how to edit or find creative ways to show a story. For me, Instagram is more than just pretty images or reviews on products I am using but a way to show life in a positive and way and to tell a story in-between.

I thought it was about time to create a series of Instagram blog posts, these posts will range from creating a clean bright Instagram feed to planning your feed and finally creating memorable Instagram stories that not only look good but make your followers coming back for more.


The first post is 'how to edit your photos for a bright and clean Instagram feed'
I prefer to keep my editing as simple as possible, I only use one app. I used to use photoshop for all my editing in the past and then post the photo on my Instagram, which took so long. However after learning my current editing method, photoshop is the last thing on my mind when it comes to editing, and I rarely use it. The app I use is Snapseed. Its probably an app you have all heard of, and some of you might even find it a little bit confusing to use. But once you get the hang of it, it is easy and quite addictive.

The method I will teach you will be for easy bright clean photos. This is the beginner's technique and once you get the hang of it you can easily play around and create different edits.
The first thing I do when I am editing a photo is to tune the image. Click on tools on the bottom center of the page then tune image. Slid up to access the options. Then slid up to go down and slid down to go up. This might sound a bit confusing but you easily get the hang of it. Slid to the right to increase your selection and slid to the left to decrease. Now that you know the basics lets get started editing.

Increasing the brightness is a must, you can play around with how bright you want your photo, I usually like mine bright. Next is contrast this will bring back some colour to your photo and bring out the dark shades. Saturation I usually decrease, personally, I don't like an over-saturated photo and find the colours too intense, I like the photo to have subtle shades. However, I do compensate with ambiance, which enhances the beauty of the shades in the photo. Highlights I decrease as well, as it brightens the photo but in a way that it loses its clarity if increased too much. Also if there is a window or lamp or lighting in the photo it is best to decrease the highlights. This will bring out those details that may be washed out if you increase the highlights.
Now shadows you can increase. 
The final part of this selection is the warmth, you can have fun with this and it will completely transform the photo. Now, this depends if you want to make the image a warm tone or cool tone. You can see through the photos the difference warmth makes to the photos. Increase in warmth for a pretty Autumn tone or decrease the warmth for cool tone for those bright summery photos. I usually find that editing the warmth sets the tone for your photo, whichever one you do choose to go for, stick to it so that you will have a consistent Instagram feed. It doesn't look cool to have a different undertone of photos next to each other on your Instagram feed unless you are changing the tone and will carry on with your new one.



Next I would go to curves and brighten the photo even more, it may seem a bit crazy to brighten the photo again, but the main reason I do it is because the next few steps will define the photo but also darken it at the same time and it is important to me to have bright photos.

The curve option uses the same grid you would usually find on Photoshop. It is basically a grid with a slope in the center which you adjust to make the photo brighter or darker, the top of the slop represents the upper part of your photo and the bottom of the slop represents the bottom part of your photo. And the center is the center but also the photo as a whole. Unless the photo is mainly dark in one part, I would usually always only adjust the slope in the center, which edits the whole photo. Adjusting the slope curves it, so curve upwards for a brighter photo and curve it downwards for a darker photo. 



Details in next to curves and the next step we will take. This probably my favourite bit of editing, it does define the whole photo and gives a simple photo that more pizzaz. Details has two options structure and sharpen. It is also used exactly the same way as tune image, swipe up to access the different options and slid to the right to increase and slid to the left to decrease. 

Structure defines the whole photo and makes the details more visible, which is important after all the editing and brightening a lot of the details do lose their focus. So this is a great way to bring texture into a photo. Then sharpen the photo, this allows you to correct any parts of the photo that are blurred, and improves the image quality. 


The final step is the brush tool. The brush tool is a selective tool, meaning that it won't edit the whole photo like the previous tools we used, instead you can select the part of the photo you want to edit and brush over it. Select dodge and burn, dodge is for brightening a photo and burn is for darkening it.

Because I have brightened this photo quite a few times I will only use burn for this edit. The dodge tool is perfect for flat lay photos where there is usually a shadow around the objects and sometimes one side of the photo is darker than the other. Generally, with flat lays the aim is to have consistent lighting in the photo. Press the down arrow to change the tool to burn and the up arrow to change the tool to dodge. There are 2 intensities of each tool, 10 and -10 are high intensity. 5 and -5 is mild intensity. There is also an eraser tool between the intensities that allows you to erase any mistakes.

I lightly brushed over the chairs, tables and window display of the photo using the -5 tool (burn). Those were the parts that I wanted to highlight in the photo but felt that a lot of colour was extracted from those parts after the editing. 
Quick tip, when editing a photo with a person as the focus use the burn tool (-5 and -10) to add some colour to the human's skin after editing as some of the colour may be drained after editing.

After completing the edit to save the photo, click on export then save.

A cool tip is to edit other similar photos in your camera roll straight after you edit your photo. Snapseed automatically saves your last edit so you can upload the same edit onto your next photo without having to go through the whole editing process again. The only problem I would say with this method is that you might have to touch up on some of the photos with more editing because the dodge and burn tool is a selective tool, that is used on select parts of the photo and not all the photos need those parts to be edited. 

I hope you enjoyed reading this, and let me know how your editing goes.



1 comment

  1. Thank you for this! I hade the ap but didn't like it cus it felt complicated. I used instagrams edit. This was very good!

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