HOW I EDIT MY INSTAGRAM PICTURES

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There isn't quite a nicer way of putting it - if you think throwing a Valencia filter on your #selfie was cutting it,  I'm afraid you've been doing it wrong, my dear! In today's post I share to you my Instagram editing "routine", through the use of iPhone screenshots to guide you along the (what is rather a psycho fussy) process of how I edit my Instagram pictures. If you're curious or actually want to be inspired with how I do it, please keep scrolling!


Now I've been on Instagram for about 3.5 years, and quite obviously if you've been following me for even half of that duration, you'll know that I didn't always have the style that I have going on now. In fact my very first post I'm pretty certain shamelessly displays the Valencia filter hahaha. But for now, I'm working towards a very clean and crisp, bright with a lot of white space theme. I've come across many accounts who chose to delete old posts because it didn't suit their current theme, but I'm not about that life; I like my Instagram the way it's been kept - a visual memoir of my favourite things and moments throughout the years, regardless of how my editing develops.

I have to admit, sticking to a certain theme comes as a challenge even for me sometimes especially when posting selfies. For the obvious reason that I am naturally caramel-toned, it's quite unsettling to have to desaturate the whole composition and adjust it to a cooler temperature just so it matches or blends in with the rest of my (recent) feed. It's tragic too when your make-up is very pigmented and F A B but you have to brighten the living heck out of it, so all that pigmented fabness just ends up getting washed out. (wow reading over this paragraph - in fact, this whole post even - I realise that certain readers may be caused to think of me as someone whose values lay upon spending her time analyzing the layout and adjustments of her bloody Instagram.. well listen, I'M JUST TRYING TO GET PAID $300,000 PER POST LIKE KENDALL JENNER OKAY) All jokes aside, you came here to suss out how I actually edit my pictures. Here it goes. 


TWO APPS (you read that in 2 Chainz's voice, didn't you?..) 
While I'm familiar with plenty other iPhone photo editing apps that I've used in my past-Instagram life, I've come to terms that I only really need Facetune and the Instagram app itself now. I hate to break it to some of yee who aren't fond of the idea of purchasing a photo editing app, but Facetune don't come for free. It is available to download at €3.99 atm which isn't bad at all, considering its features and the fantastic result (as well as saved pic resolution, if I may add) it brings to your photos! 


The above pic is a raw file taken with my Sony A5000 camera. I shot it indoors, with very poor lighting, hence why it looks so dull and bleugh. I need Facetune to come to rescue. 


For pictures of objects/sceneries, I like to whiten the area of the photo I um, wish to whiten. So off I go with my index finger brushing over the spaces I wish to desaturate. As you can see in comparison to the raw pic, it's turned into an almost B&W photo, apart from the red areas. 


Vignette is the enemy. You wanna get rid of that by using the Tones feature, which is basically your paint tool. I select the whitest of whites from the colour palette and paint over the background and other areas I want to further whiten. It takes a bit of skill and gentleness though, this step, because you'd want to avoid painting over where the shadows are supposed to be; otherwise your image would look very flat and one dimensional. Remember we are enhancing, not morphing.


It's all in the Deetales details, as one says.. this tool is a must. Sharpening certain points and areas of your image help improve its quality that bit much. 

After this step, it's pretty much ready to go. But because I'm a little mad, I go and load the picture on Instagram and make further adjustments...


"It's 2016 who actually still uses Instagram filters wtf" NEWSFLASH, they've made some serious improvements (although I only really use a bit of two - Juno and Ludwig - occassionally, depending on the picture I am editing.) I find that Juno proper brightens/whitens the white areas of your photo, at the same time blackening the dark parts. Not necessary, but whatever helps.


Because of all the whitening and toning I've done previously, I didn't need to use the brighten tool anymore, but rather adjust the shadows, as we don't want those too washed out. 


Adjusting the temperature for this particular image was not necessary either but you know, to satisfy my psycho-editing needs, I cooled it up a little bit. Again, depending on the image you are editing, you will need to adjust the temperature according to it. I find that pictures taken using the iPhone are generally warm-toned. So not cool. 


Not everyone reading this may be bothered or interested in doing all the things that I do to my pictures to their own, but if there's one photo-enhancing tip that I would like for everyone to leave this blog post with, it'd be to make use of the sharpening tool. You don't have to do all the adjustments/filtering if you don't want to, but sharpening your picture this little bit could make all the difference, honestly. It's a complete no brainer trick, wowza. 


After that I preview the image before I caption (and hashtag the living sh*t out of it), just to make sure I'm happy enough with the white spaces of my picture matching the white background. If I'm not, I go back and adjust it some more, and BOY do I have so much time in my hands (BUT NOT $300,000!!) 


And here we are with the final product! Master piece and a half. And I don't even mean the editing; this is an illustration of myself at H&M Ireland's #HMStudioAW15 event done by the incredible Conor Merriman - do check out his work, one of the best illustrators/artists around. 

As I've addressed previously all the adjustments completely depends on and caters to the composition of your captured image. Obviously it'll be different if your picture contains a lot of colour (the example I used is pretty much monochrome so, that was easy enough for me to work with.) If you keep scrolling, you will see how I make adjustments to mirror selfies, where I tend to have trouble brightening up the image while preserving the dark shadows especially of my hair and make-up! 


Here is the image baked freshly from the Facetune oven - whitened, detailed, although looking at this now it seems that I may have missed out on painting over the walls white for some reason.. 


I took a shot at half a Juno (be warned that this filter tends to intensify yellow tones, so here I am looking like a straight up Simpsons character.) 


Because I've left out painting the walls white on Facetune, I've had to brighten the crap out of this picture.


Again, avoid a complete wash out by bringing back the shadows. I want my chiseled cheek bones back.


Previous step may have intensified the colours a little bit more than how I like it, so I turn down the saturation altogether. I tend to do this in most of my pictures apart from the previous sample pic because there was barely any colour to desaturate.


I adjust the temperature to balance out (or cancel out) the warm tones from the raw image as well as the Juno filter I applied earlier on. 


A little contrast never hurt nobody..


but not sharpening your picture would. Never neglect this step. 



Annnnd that is it! I sort of hesitated writing this post when the idea crossed my mind initially, for silly reasons that people would be editing their pictures the way I do, but how silly was I in thinking that! Out of the (currently) 300M people that use Instagram, it cannot be possible that I'm the only one, or even one of the few people who edit their pictures this way or use the apps that I do because that'd be plain playing blind and stupid. I've watched a number of "How I Edit My Instagram Pictures" videos on Youtube, but not all of them reveal their true tricks and tips - I know because I've gone through many apps in my time as an avid iPhone and Instagram user. So next time you post a #nofilter pic, know that photo editing veterans (lol) can see through you. 

I hope this post helped somehow, to those of you wanting to know. Don't hesitate to leave a comment/tweet if you like how-to posts like this one and if there's anything more you'd like to know about!  If you don't already follow me on Instagram, you can find me here

Thank you for visiting,