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How I Edit My Insta Pics

Almost exactly a year ago I wrote a post about just this same thing (read that here)! My Instagram has grown quite a bit in this last year, and I am becoming more proud of my feed everyday... or, at least each time I post. I have gotten a few requests to share how I edit my pictures, so today I'm going to let out a few of my secrets! Sometimes I feel like my pictures look a little too "over-edited" when they finally wind up on Insta, but it's all about perspective- no one else has seen the originals except me, so I just have to remember that; it can be hard to tell everything I really did to get the perfect pic!

Here is one of my averagely edited pictures. A lot of my photos start off a little yellow-ish and dark and fuzzy. I tend to take my shots without very good lighting (#badhabit) and so they aren't always as high quality as I would like. I usually take them on my square camera for the iPhone 5S so I can make sure I fit everything into my shot to avoiding having too many problems when it comes to cropping it for Insta.. I think that's just the worst.

SO, this is the original. Not too pretty, right? I took this picture on my desk with my iPhone around noon, probably with my shades open in my room but my lights were off.

Let me share what I do to get this picture insta ready!

I upload the picture to VSCOcam first. This method is basically what I do for every picture...

1 // I raise the exposure and contrast, decrease the temperature, and sharpen just a little bit.
2 // I usually use F2 as my filter on VSCO, but occasionally I'll use S3 if it's a really dark picture, and then I'll save that and reupload it to use F2. I like F2 because it makes your pictures look very "Amy Stone-esque" and brightens them and makes them cooler without overdoing it. I rarely, however, set the filter all the way to 12, which is what VSCOcam automatically does when you apply a filter. I usually keep the filters at 7 or below, and I have found that being consistent with editing really helps your feed flow.
3 // I save the picture on VSCO and then go to Snapseed where the real magic happens.

This is the picture after VSCO, before Snapseed... 

So at this point the picture is a lot more appealling, but for this one is particular it still looks a little fuzzy, right? I like to make my pictures as crisp as possible, so that's what Snapseed is great for! For pictures that don't have great coloring, especially background coloring, Snapseed is best known for it's ability to let you select just a certain area of a picture and brighten/contrast/saturate that specific area- it's amazing. However, another tool I love on Snapseed is the automatic edit. This automatically corrects the color and contrast of the image and it's amazing. 

4 // I automatically edit the image on Snapseed
5 // If there are any strangely colored areas or shadows I brighten/edit them with the selective adjust tool on Snapseed
6 // When I'm all done editing I crop/straighten the image and send it off to Instagram
7 // Usually my image is good by now, but I'll occasionally brighten it, or bump up the contrast, or lower the temp on Instagram before I share the pic. The brightness tool on Instagram is really great, in my opinion. My favorite thing about the instagram editing tools, however, is the adjusters under the rotation tool. Seriously, these are amazing and a total game-changer for aerial pictures. The vertical and horizontal adjusters just cannot be beat.

...And that's it! It seems kind of tedious, but I love how my pictures turn out and I think it's super easy once you get the hang of it! A lot of the steps can be skipped, too, if you just take your shots in natural, good, quality lighting :) Here's the final!!

What do you think?

How do you edit your pictures? Any apps you'd recommend? I'm all ears- there's always room for improvement! Follow me on Instagram here @theblondeprep!


  1. I love your Insta! I also use VSCO & Camera +! Both are amazing!

  2. I use snapseed and vscocam for editing most of my Instagrams too! They can work miracles sometimes lol!
    xo, Scarlett
    The Trendy Chick

  3. I have still yet to use snapseed...I have heard rumblings about it but havn't started to use it yet. So great to hear how much you suggest it downloading now.
    xo Nan - Simply Elegant Blog

  4. I really like learning about how different people edit their photos - everyone has their own style and touch and it's neat to see how they achieve it. Thanks!

    Sweet Spontaneity

  5. I think I will have to download both of these apps, and I always love your instagram pics!

    Renee //

  6. Great tips! I love your feed, it's always so crisp and cute!
    xx, Mikkaela

  7. I always love your instagram feed, it is so pretty and inspiring! I use Lightroom on my computer if they are photos from my camera and Afterlight if they are my phone photos :)

    Beautyosaurus Lex

  8. such great tips I always wondered how I could make my pictures a bit more crisp and you answered it! Thanks Fran

  9. The pouch in this post is adorable! Did you get it at the Chelsea Market in New York? I have one by the same shop.


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