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