I first got on Instagram in December 2012. It was one of the very first apps I downloaded when I bought my first iPhone. In fact, it was a big factor in why I wanted an iPhone in the first place!
I went through hot’n’cold phases of uploading for ages, but finally started to post consistently from around the same time I started blogging.
It’s since taken me about a year to figure out my Instagram aesthetic.
And even though I do still constantly fiddle with the details of it, I think I’ve finally nailed down a visual style that I like and that suits me!
About 99% of the photos I upload are taken on my iPhone 5S, and pretty much all of them are shot directly on the iPhone camera’s Square mode.
The only pics that are usually from my DSLR are blog promo shots, but I try to keep those to a minimum as I like to think of my Instagram as a behind-the-scenes kinda thing, rather than a traffic-driver.
I post a variety of shots, mainly involving food (lots of food), London, my personal style and general life stuff.
(Also the occasional selfie. Because obviously.)
My style is naturally very busy, colourful and bright.
Once I took note of that, I became much more selective about what I posted.
It’s also influenced my editing style, so I try to make even the darker photos I take at night really colourful and bright.
Over the years, I’ve used pretty much every editing app going. From Instagram’s own filters to Snapseed to Afterlight.
For the past 6 months or so I’ve been pretty much only using VSCO Cam.
In my opinion it’s the best one I’ve tried!
I love how easy the editing options are to use. I love the filters.
I especially love the gallery feature, which means I can see what my Instagram feed would look like before I upload a new picture. This helps me keep my feed nicely mixed up, and ensures I don’t accidentally upload two burger shots one right after the other.
Basically: IT’S AWESOME.
Since about June, I’ve also been using Squaready to add a thin, white frame to my square photos. I like how this separates my photos slightly and gives my feed a cleaner, more streamlined look.
STEP 1: Add a filter
I think most people tend to add their filters last, but I like to do it first as it keeps all my pics nicely consistent.
Plus, once I’ve put the filter on, I might actually have less editing to do than I first thought!
At the moment I’m using HB1 for all my photos.
Previously I was using A6, but I like the whiter, brighter feel of the HB1.
(FYI, you have to download the HB (Hypebeast) collection through the filter shop, but it is actually free at the moment!)
STEP 2: Adjust filter + exposure
I turn the filter level down to about 8, to make it less harsh.
Sometimes, if a photo is particularly dark or yellow-toned, I’ll leave it higher. But as a general thing it’s an 8.
I then lift the exposure as much as it needs, usually about 1 to 3 stops, depending on the photo.
STEP 3: Adjust contrast + sharpness
I turn the contrast up 2 to 3 stops, and lift the sharpness to 8.
STEP 4: Adjust the color
To get the color correction right, first I take the warmth down a few stops, usually about 2 to 3. Again, it all depends on how warm the original shot is.
At this point it looks a bit washed out and VERY blue-toned. So then I bring the saturation up to about a 4 or a 5, which makes it all bright and colourful again, but still with that nice, underlying cool tint to it.
And that’s pretty much it!
I might do a slight crop and straighten as a finishing touch, but usually I’ve already managed to focus my shot just how I want it with the square camera feature.
So what do you think? As you can see, it’s all in the editing. It’s amazing what a filter and a bit of fiddling with colour settings can do to a mediocre shot!
Here are a couple more examples of before/after shots of actual pics from my Instagram:
How do you guys edit your Instagram photos?
I’m MASSIVELY nosy about other people’s editing process, so make sure to leave me your link if you’ve got a blog post about it!
PS. And obvs, give me a follow if you like what you see! ;)