Just how do I edit my instagram photos?

What filters do I use? How do I make the white stand out? How do I remove certain tones? These are a few of the questions I get asked pretty regularly, so I thought I’d fill you in on just how I edit my photos for instagram. I use my iPhone for the majority of my photos and every now and then I whip out my big canon DSLR.

Over the last year I think I’ve definitely gotten better at editing, composing a photo and knowing how to use my light source. It takes practice and the more you do it, the better you get at it. But in saying that, I’m definitely no expert and there are people who do it waaaaaaay better than me.

One of my main factors in editing is time. I want it to be pretty quick and I just like to do it on my phone. I’m ultimately too lazy to be fiddling around on the computer and I prefer to just sit on the lounge, watch bachie and edit.

So here we go, how I edit my photos, along with a few of my favourite tips:

before you take the shot

Firstly, this one is super simple but so important, always make sure your phone lens is clean. Give it a quick wipe over with your shirt. I can always tell the difference in my photos when I haven’t done this first.

Always look at where the light is coming from. Generally you want the light source behind you so it illuminates your subject.

What is in your photo? Take a quick test shot and see what is actually in your photo. Could you move to the left a little or shoot from a different angle which would then cut out a random person or object? Is there a background to shoot in front of? Generally the first thing I always find for a photo is the background, what will it be shot in front of? You could say that I know all the pretty walls and houses in my suburb that fit right in with my overall look and aesthetic.

One thing that always drives me a bit nuts in my photos is shadows. I hate them. So sometimes I’ll take a shot without direct light  (this only works really outside) to avoid pesky shadows. This results in quite a cold photo, but I adjust this later in editing.

Here’s an example where the sun was shining straight onto the wall, so it’s created a whole lot of shadows. I usually won’t use these types of photos for instagram as I can’t get the type of look I like and the shadows annoy me too much… promise I don’t have total photo OCD though.

Can we please just appreciate Eva’s grumpy face here for a minute?

So, on this day, instead of using this shot, I went around the corner where the wall was in total shade, which resulted in this shot below.

before editing

after editing

the magic of editing 

Alrighty, so now the magic of editing comes into play. It’s kinda like waving a magic little wand.


The very first app I always use is Lightroom, if you don’t have this bad boy, get it, quick smart. It’s free and by far the most sophisticated for adjusting the exposure (this means making your photo lighter and brighter) and removing or accenting particular tones and colours. The two main features I use in this app are light and colour. In light I adjust the exposure, highlights and whites. This is the main thing I do that makes my images look light, bright and white.

In colour, if you click into mix I always decrease the saturation of the brown and yellow tones. This takes out those colours and gets closer to the look I’m after. If you’re shooting on a dark day with not a lot of light you’ll often get a cream/brown tone to your images even when shooting on white. This little tool is a great way to decrease that look. Once you’ve played around with the image in this app, save to camera roll, ready for the next app.


I only ever really use two filters in vscocam, this is how I get my feed to have a consistent look to it. I mostly use A5, however will sometimes also use HB1. Once you’ve applied your filter, adjust the intensity, I usually take it down to about an 8.

If my image is still looking quite cold (like the one above as it was shot in the shade), I would now go into temperature and increase it until it the skin tones look right. In this image I also bumped up the contrast and clarity slightly.

Once finished in vscocam, that’s usually it and its ready to post in instagram. There are a few other apps I sometimes use for a shot that needs quite a bit of editing if  its in really bad lighting or I want to change the colours completely.

I really think the more you play around with these little apps the better you get at it and once you’re a bit more confident you can find your own style and flow. I love experimenting with editing and improving my skills, I’m still growing and learning new little tricks along the way. My photos and the look of my feed really is a creative outlet for me.

So there you have it, that’s basically the run down on how I edit my snaps. I hope that’s helped and given you a little insight into a quick handy way to edit, please give me a holla if you have any questions at all.

a few of my fave before and afters


  1. Omg thank you thank you. Absolutely loved reading this through… finally got some answers to so many of my questions. Like whats wrong with these pics? I mean seriously can it look any more uglier or weirder?!? Thanks hun. Beautiful blog! Keep it up xxx

  2. Great tips and very easy to follow. Nice structured read with before and after pictures. I have not used lightroom yet. Will give it a go. I also use my insta planning app, PLANN to filters too.
    Thank you and keep it up fellow Sydney Mama

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