A few months ago, I went through a massive blog rebrand.

My design changed, my colours changed, even how I take and edit my photos has changed!

And to match that, I also had a massive rethink about my Instagram photos.

I started posting darker, more detailed shots, with a focus on architecture, food and my bed.

My account has grown an insane amount in those few short months, since narrowing my focus and upping my photography game. And I’ve had several requests for an update on how I edit my Instagram photos.

So here it is!

little miss katy instagram editinglittle miss katy instagram vsco clarity and sharpen


I use VSCO’s HB2 filter on all my photos. I usually tone it down to 9 or 10, depending on the photo.

Then I up the contrast by 1 or 2 points, the clarity by 1 point, and the sharpness by another 1 point.

Depending how bright the photo is, I sometimes lower the exposure, highlights and/or saturation by 1 point as well, but this particular photo didn’t need any of that.

Next I select the Vertical Tilt feature. If you’ve not played with this one before, it’s the little icon marked below in red and it’s my secret weapon.

What it does is tilt the perspective of the shot.

So for example, with this particular photo, I’m obviously not tall enough to take a photo of a building from dead centre, so the lines in the shot are tilted and look messy.

With this little tool, I can tilt the top part of the photo towards me, which will make all the lines nice and vertical.

My final VSCO step is to crop it, so it all fits in neatly, and then I export it to my camera roll.

vsco tilt perspectiveafterlight editing


The second app I use is Afterglow.

The only two features I use on this one are the Brightness and the Contrast tools, both of which I up by about 10-20 points, depending on the photo.

UPDATE: A few people have asked me why I don’t just use Instagram for the brightness/contrast. It’s literally just because I like to plan my feed in advance (I use Mosaico) and it’s easier to save photos from Afterlight, so I can upload them to my planning app and see what they look like with the rest of my feed.

Instagram is just as good an editing tool! :)


And finally, Instagram.

I use the Structure tool on Instagram to add some final extra sharpness and definition to the shot. Between 5-10 is usually enough.

And that’s it. TA-DAAAAAA!

Here’s the before and after of this particular photo (which hit 2000+ likes on Instagram last week!), plus a couple of other shots I’ve posted recently using this editing process:

instagram editing processbef-after-3 bef-after-4 bef-after-1 bef-after-2

See? Simple.

I love using a filter, cos it speeds up the process so much!

Keep an eye out, cos I’ve got a whole series of photography and social media posts coming in the next few weeks.

At the moment I’ve got posts planned on how to take better photos (both on iPhone, AND with a camera), how to develop your own personal Instagram theme, and how to grow your Instagram account.

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or requests for subjects I should cover!

edit instagram photos

  • They are looking amazing Katy!

  • Taylor-Louise Rowley

    This is so so helpful! Thank you for this post, it will save us all, haha!

  • I absolutely love this post, been wanting your secrets ;)
    Not going to lie as soon as I tried harder with the platform in recent months and like you went darker but more focused on what I wanted to capture my growth has been amazing! :D


  • You are the Queen of Instagram! I love your photos so much!

  • I didn’t even know it was possible to tilt a photo! I’ll definitely have to give these a go :)


  • ninegrandstudent

    The little straightening/proportion tool is like music to my ears, it’s the one thing I hate about ‘gramming buildings so you’ve made my day! x

    NINEGRANDSTUDENT: A Lifestyle Blog

  • It’s like you saw into my brain and knew this is what I wanted to know! Your blog photography looks incredible at the moment, I love all the dark moody tones…I’ve tried to switch up my Instagram recently now we’ve moved into Autumn and I use HB1 but that tip about changing the perspective is a game changer!
    Lauren xx
    Elle Bloggs

  • The vertical tilting tip is a fabulous piece of advice – I’ve genuinely never considered that before!! I always used to wonder why my photos of buildings never looked quite how I wanted. Obvious now that you’ve pointed it out haha! Your instagram has always been inspirational, and it’s looking better than ever right now :)
    Jennifer x
    Ginevrella | Lifestyle Blog

  • Edward Vreca

    Hi Katy really love this post and like what you do with your blog in general. I look forward to reading the next posts

  • That’s amazing. It’s incredible how some simple editing brings out so many little details in a photo that you wouldn’t have seen before!

    Francesca Andrews

  • Cattleya

    I love this post! I’m always trying to find new ways to improve my editing. I really found this useful and will definitely be putting these tips into use. Thanks for sharing!

    x. Cattleya

  • I always forget about the tilt function, such a handy little tip! This was so useful as I’m currently trying to “rebrand” my Instagram i.e. make it a little less crap haha. I adore your feed!

    Kirstie | Behind The Scent

  • Ahh, yes I’ve noticed a change in your photos (still pretty though!)
    I love the HB1 and HB2 filters too =)

    Honey x The Girl Next Shore

  • Your photos are gorgeous and your engagement levels are fantastic!

  • Thanks for sharing, I’m always interested in what apps others use. Great pics, I will check out these apps 😀
    Jaz xoxo

  • Roma

    How do you logistically get photos of you in bed?

  • That tilt feature is so clever! I would never have thought of that, but now you’ve pointed it out it’s such a great trick. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Ashley

    Thank you for this post! I love your Instagram aesthetic so found this really inspiring xx

  • The tilt feature is amazing, why have I never used it before?! Thanks for this!

  • Laura Torninoja

    I really love your Instagram! You have such a pretty feed and it always makes me fall in love with London just a little bit more :) I can’t wait to see more of your tips on editing and growing your audience – I’ve been really trying to be more active in Instagram lately and while I have seen some growth, it can be so annoying that it’s possible gain AND lose 10 followers in one day! So frustrating haha. x

    Laura // Middle of Adventure

  • I think the vertical and horizontal tilt filters are the best tools VSCO has ever added – they make my photos look soo much better!

  • are you not a fan of the IG brightness and contrast settings? this would cut out a whole app.. I thought vertical tilt was my little secret – it’s a fave!

  • Oh my goodness, three whole apps? I’m far too lazy for this haha! I’d definitely noticed your Instagram game had upped so it’s certainly worth it :) xxx
    Lucy @ La Lingua | Life, Travel, Italy