How I Edit My Instagram Photos

I get so many questions via DM asking how I edit my Instagram pictures and which Lightroom presets I use.

So, I thought I would write up a little post for you all on how I edit my Instagram pictures!

Here are some before and after shots:

I thought the best way to do this would be a step-by-step process. Today, we’re going to go through how I edit this photo below.

The lighting is a bit dodgy, the quality isn’t perfect and the colours are all slightly off. Don’t worry though – all of these things can be fixed (or at least helped).

1) Base Editing in Facetune

I know, I know. Sounds dodgy.

It really isn’t though – Facetune is actually a great app for mobile photo editing.

I use Facetune to make sure all my whites are the same shade, no matter which location I’m in. It helps keeps my feed cohesive and my tones in line.

For this photo, we’re going to run the whitening tool over everything except for myself and the darker sections of the robe.

Make sure you don’t miss any little gaps – I always make sure I even whiten the spaces between my fingers if visible.

Little touches like this add up and help to create a more professional, polished image.

Skipping spaces like this looks sloppy and people really do notice!

Before exiting the tool, make sure everything is even and you haven’t missed any spots. If you’ve whitened something you didn’t intend to, go back and clean up the edges with the erase setting.

Sometimes, I’ll save my progress and then go in with the whitening tool a second time if I feel it still isn’t quite even or bright enough.

For this image, once was enough! We now have this base to work with in Lightroom.

2) In-Depth Lightroom Editing

Once I’m happy with my base image, I’ll open up the Lightroom app.

Lightroom for Mobile is completely free and super easy to use, once you learn your way around.

Lightroom presets are incredibly popular but honestly, I have a much easier time editing photos myself than trying to make my purchased presets work.

Just a heads up: you do still need to adjust a preset for each individual photo. There is no one filter fits all, so don’t let anyone (especially an influencer) sell this idea to you!

After a lot of playing around, I do have my own base settings that I have saved as a preset. These settings are pictured in the screenshot to the left.

These frequently change depending on whether a picture was taken in artificial light rather than natural lighting, colours, etc.

As a rule, my exposure will always be in the positive. This creates the white, airy vibe I like for my photos.

I alter the levels of contrast, highlight and shadow to work with the level of exposure.

My favourite part of Lightroom is the fact that it allows you to edit individual colours within an image.

While there aren’t really any colours present in the picture we’ve chosen, this tool can still be used!

The orange setting in the Colour Mix panel will almost always pick up on skin, no matter the shade.

Fun Fact: This is why Instagram Influencers always have a perfect tan.

The best approach is to leave the hue alone – you don’t want to edit yourself too yellow or too red.

Increasing the saturation and decreasing the luminance will give you a nice glow. The levels depend on your natural skin tone,

Be careful if there are any other orange/yellow/red tones in the image – it may adjust those other areas of the photo as well.

For most of my outdoor, natural lighting pictures, I adjust the temperature balance to a warmer tone.

For this image though, I actually set it slightly cooler. This counteracts the yellow that was brought into the background when I adjusted the colour levels.

More colourful, detailed images will require more time in Lightroom. For this picture, though, we’re all done!

Step Three: Correcting Details

Not all photos need this step.

However, a lot of details in my face and the creasing of the blanket were lost when I altered the exposure.

While I’m sure a professional would have a much more adept way of bringing this detail back, we’re just going to use the detail tool in Facetune.

There isn’t really much to see or explain here – I just run my finger over any parts of the image that aren’t as crisp as they were at the beginning.


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