There are so many apps now to help with the task of editing photos. If creativity isn’t your jam you probably don’t understand why everyone gets so pernickety about their Instagram ‘theme’ or if a photo’s colour or tone is slightly ‘off’ and ruins the perfectly edited 6 prior to that. If creativity is your thing however, you know that as creators; we notice every little detail. That cigarette butt on the floor, the bruise from where you fell down the stairs in front of the whole bar (…just me?!), the fact that the lighting isn’t quite right or there’s someone in the background wearing an obnoxiously bright yellow jacket killing the vibe. Sometimes imperfections are what makes a photo, but for the times when they aren’t; there’s editing.
I definitely wouldn’t put myself down as a perfectionist when it comes to my feed (as I’m sure you can tell) but I do have a process for editing my snaps. I have managed to become a bit of a *wannabe* pro ~ if I say so myself ~ at editing photos, to the point that almost any photo is now fixable. And I feel like I finally have my feed at a place that I want and you lovely lot seem to agree (if you aren’t familiar with my Instagram you can check it out here) so I thought I’d share the process behind the grid. The apps I use are VSCO, Facetune and Snapseed. I’ve quite recently swapped to a warmer theme as it’s a lot easier to shoot for and I think it stands out more than the slightly under-saturated cool toned theme I had before (thoughts?!). Also, early prep for the warm summer days (like, really early.) I also like to keep my photos fairly dark with quite busy backgrounds – I’m not one for the white/lots of blank space kind of theme. Probably partly because I know how hard this is to keep up, but also I’m personally more drawn to busier images with some sense of lifestyle in the backdrops. That being said, if you need the outfit shot and all there is, is a plain wall to shoot against; you gotta do what you gotta do!
Another app to mention is UNUM. It’s an app for laying out your Instagram photos in a grid format very similar to Instagram, so you can see how they will look side by side. This app is a lifesaver as you can compare warmth, lighting and other aspects before uploading (and then having to panic delete if it doesn’t look right!)
Obviously a good photo starts with good lighting, a good camera, a good backdrop and a good outfit. The more of those you can tick off the less editing you’ll need! I’ll show you varying levels of touch ups but please do remember; I don’t heavily edit all my photos! All original photos on the left, edits on the right of the page.
Right! Enough rambling.. once I’ve ‘got the shot’ this is how I edit…
This is always my starting point. I have created my own custom filter on here which I apply to all my photos and go from there. For me my custom filter consists of a particular warm toned portrait style filter (if I told you which one I’d have to kill you), at level 7 – always tone down your filter otherwise it will look over done and alter colours in your photo too much! Then the sharpness and clarity are turned up to 2.5. This is something I may adjust accordingly. You will find if you up the clarity too much your face and any skin features will look slightly dirty and over contrasted – but this is where Facetune comes in. But before we jump into that, to finish on VSCO; I also adjust the brightness accordingly. Make sure your phones brightness is turned up though to avoid over doing it! As I mentioned I keep mine quite dark and often prefer the shadows to be more contrasted (and dark) that the highlights. This isn’t something that can be done on VSCO however so bear with me on that!
Essentially my advice would be to spend time going through the filters, download different presets and try them with different edits until you find one you like! My favourites and the ones I would recommend are, the Aesthetics series; I used to use A5. The Hyperbeast series (HB2 in particular) and the portraits filters – these really emphasise you within the photo, so if you’re a fashion blogger these are great. This isn’t an easy process and you will need to try a few different type of photos to check. Bright, light, dark, closeups, further away shots etc. But it will be worth it when you find the one!
If you’re lucky with the backdrop, lighting etc. etc, then you might not need to do much.
This photo for example I have used the VSCO filter, adjusted brightness, sharpness, clarity and smoothed over my skin on Facetune (more about that below). This is my standard process for editing 90% of my photos.
So if you followed the steps about VSCO and increased the clarity and sharpness of an image due to the original shot not being clear enough, but now find that while the rest of the shot now looks clear your face resembles that of a dirty sims character; this is where Facetune comes in. Simply use the free version of Facetune (2), go into ‘retouch’ and then ‘smooth’ and use this tool wherever necessary. Don’t over do it though or you could end up with no features at all! Other things Facetune is good for is whitening backdrops, if a white backdrop is your thing or if there happens to be some white in the image which looks slightly yellowy or dingy, use the ‘whiten’ tool in ‘retouch’. Also useful for the sky or a cityscape that looks slightly grey and miserable! (I’ve used it in my below image.) Lastly if I am looking super pale due to an edit (or having forgotten to tan) to the point where I don’t want to blind people with my skin, then the ‘Paint’ tool is useful. You can use different ‘tones’ to warm up or cool down your skintone. Honestly with my new warmer theme I don’t really have any need to use this – another reason I’m preferring it!
Lastly I use Snapseed. I’ve heard a lot of people go off Snapseed as it doesn’t have the filters and edits that the likes of VSCO or Lightroom (another good one similar to VSCO) have, however this is my saviour when it comes to editing flaws, cigarette butts, rubbish even people out of my photos. I’m the least observant person there is so I will often take the shot and then later realise there’s a banana skin in the background – true story see the image below. Now I’m not claiming Snapseed is anything like using Photoshop; you could definitely do this better with Adobe but with having it on your phone it makes it easy and quick.
Use the ‘healing’ tool (as you would the spot healing tool on Photoshop) and tap over the area you want to be gone. It will draw parts of the nearby picture to fill it in. This doesn’t always work but 90% of the time it’s a lifesaver! Another handy feature Snapseed has is the ‘selective’ tool. This allows you to click on one area of the image and alter it’s qualities such as saturation, contrast etc. It will recognise the colour of that area and apply the edit to the whole area of that colour (you can make this section bigger or smaller). This is useful for toning down the saturation of one area. How I often use it is to create an almost black and white background where it might have been too attention grabbing or doesn’t fit with the theme. Another useful one is the ‘brush’ tool. There is a feature called ‘dodge & burn’ which can almost fade and ‘burn’ things that you may not want in the background – you can see how I’ve used this in the brunch shot below.
So here is said banana skin photo, I know the edit isn’t perfect as it has drawn some of the colour from the coat to fill the are, however you lovely lot didn’t notice that so it’s all good! As I said, use the ‘healing’ tool for this.
Below is probably the most major edit I’ve ever done. I know some people will be hating on this as ‘it’s not real’ but what is Instagram if not an edited reality… Anyway if you happen not to be lucky enough to get the table with no obstructions like me then here’s how I did it..
Firstly I edited the photo using VSCO as explained above, I whitened the ‘view’ with Facetunes whitening tool and then I use the healing tool, very carefully, very slowly and super zoomed in so as to take it one tiny spot at a time. After that I used Snapseeds ‘brush’ tool on the ‘dodge and burn’ setting on level 5. I used this to blend and ‘burn’ out the background slightly so it wasn’t so obvious where I had edited it. Then I used the ‘selective’ tool increased the saturation on the bag and food. Et Voila!
Here I simply forgot about the whole mess in the background and so I used Snapseeds ‘dodge & burn’ setting in the ‘brush’ tool to get rid of some of the clutter and the creases in the duvet. It looks quite random but at least, I think, a little better than before!
This post was about the book so I wanted the title to be a little clearer! I used the ‘selective’ tool to increase the ‘structure’, ‘brightness’ and contrast’ on the book. I also then used Snapseeds ‘Selective’ tool to decrease saturation and brighten the bottom of my sock as it looked a bit grubby!