EDITING FOR THE 'GRAM

 
 

One of the questions I'm always asked is how I edit my pictures for the 'gram. There are so many different methods out there on how to step your IG images up, but I'm happy to share my technique with you! 

I shoot 95% of my instagram photos with my iPhone 6. Sometimes if I'm planning to use it for other purposes to appear on the World Wide Web, I'll shoot with my DSLR (Canon 6D with 24-70mm lens). No matter the camera, my method of editing stays the same.

NOTE: Since I have an iPhone 6, instructions only apply to the functionality of the apps as they pertain to this specific phone. Sorry Andorid, peeps! 

Before you begin, I really suggest figuring out how you want your instagram to "flow." Consistency in your editing is key here. Experiment with filters until you find one (or two) that work well together, and look good on any image you apply it to. I use the same filter on all of my photos. My favorite app to apply filters is VSCO CAM, which is available on both iPhone and Android. There are many other apps to apply filters such as the Instagram app itself, RookieCam, and Aferlight, but I only use VSCO.

With VSCO you have the ability to download other filters from their "store". I use these filter packs the most:
The Aesthetics Series - A
Bright & Clean - S 
Hypebeast x VSCO- HB

These additional filters are sometimes free or cost $1.99 or more.

Lately, I've only been using A6, from the Aesthetic Series. I typically apply the filter at the highest level it can go, which is +12,  or bring it down a few notches between +6 or +10. After applying the filter, I save the image back to my Camera Roll at it's actual size, which ensures the final image is as crisp as can be. 

 
Hypebeast and The Aesthetic Series via the VSCO Store.

Hypebeast and The Aesthetic Series via the VSCO Store.

Apllying the A6 filter.

Apllying the A6 filter.

Adjusting the strength of the filter. 

Adjusting the strength of the filter. 

 

Next, I use an app called SNAPSEED. I LOVE Snapseed, it's my magic potion! It can be kind of difficult to use at first, but once you get the hang of it, it's effin' amazing!

Once you import the photo into the app, you will see a small pencil icon in the bottom right corner to begin editing. You'll be presented with many options, but I usually start with "Tune Image." 

Swiping up (bottom to top) brings up a menu with options such as adjusting brightness, contrast, warmth, etc. I'll list out what I do with each option in the order that they appear:

BRIGHTNESS - Depending on the way the image was shot, I will increase brightness between + 1 and + 25

CONTRAST - I pump this bad boy all the way up, between +20 and +50. If it starts to look too "cartoonish" dial it back a bit.

SATURATION - I don't typically mess with this setting, I like the natural coloring of my images. What you chose to do here is really a matter of personal preference. If I do touch this section it's usually to desaturate between -1 and -5 or slightly increase saturation +1 or +5. Over that, is too overkill for my taste.

AMBIANCE - I'll be honest here, I really don't know exactly what this means, but it seems to adjust the intensity of the shadows. I typically play with this, as it varies per image. I only adjust it slightly to keep the photo as close to it's natural color/look, between -25 or 0, or 0 and + 25.

HIGHLIGHTS - My favorite. I ALWAYS increase my highlights. It makes my whites super white, and gives my images this "glowy and bright" look that I have come to love. I'm usually increasing to + 10 or more here.

SHADOWS - I like my darks, dark; so I decrease my shadows to -5 or lower. I will admit that sometimes there's an art to these options. If the photos seems too dark, and brightness doesn't help, I will increase my shadows to +20 or more, and amp up my CONTRAST to even things out.

WARMTH - I typically leave this setting alone, however if you photo has a "blue" tint, then I suggest increasing the warmth between +3 or +5. If your photo has a "orange" tint, then decrease warmth between -3 and -5.

Once you're done with these edits, click the checkmark at the bottom right corner to save your selections.

The true magic in having "crispy" photos, is this final step in Snapseed. Click the edit icon (in the bottom right corner) and select "Details". I edit the following:

STRUCTURE - To bring out the depth and details in your image and to make things look EXTRA crisp, I increase structure to +20 or more. You will immediately see the benefits here! MAGIC, right?!

SHARPEN - I like super sharp images, so I OD here on occasion. I like to sharpen +25 or more. 

 
Snapseed App

Snapseed App

Tuning Image Details

Tuning Image Details

Applying Details

Applying Details

 

VOILA! You're done! Save and upload to instagram! While this process can be a bit time consuming, the more you do it, the faster you become. If you're promoting your business on instagram, you're missing out on a viable opportunity to wow your potential customers by NOT editing your images. While you don't have to take the steps I use, even adding a consistent filter can make a hell of a difference. Taking a moment to edit your images before posting makes your images look a lot more professional and helps elevate your feed! If you happen to use the technique above, I'd love to see them! You can find me on instagram @7thstreetstudio. Happy Editing!