Instagram Editing

  • Ask Anything

I LOVE INSTAGRAM! I honestly don’t think that it’s going to be the social media channel of choice for forever… but for right now, it’s my favorite! It caters to my business more than any other social media platform simply because I know that I can reach people and I know that I can engage with my “tribe” or “community” directly, without worrying about algorithms or paying for sponsored posts to be seen!! I’m sure those days are coming… and when they do, something new will be ready to replace Instagram. I have a few thoughts on that area of the inter webs that I’ll have to share sometime!

So for me, I never had ONE outside Instagram app that really did it for me. VSCO is awesome if you have a hint of “film-like” characteristics in your professional images but it doesn’t work for me. I have fresh, bright, vibrant images and so VSCO has never enhanced my editing style. However, EVERYONE seems to use it! I didn’t realize until recently that I’m the WEIRD ONE that edits inside of Instagram! I’m the one that’s strange and doesn’t use an outside editing app!

I edit inside of instagram for a few reasons! :

1. It’s easy and it’s FAST!
2. I can usually match my instagram edits with the style of my professional edits!
3. I’m lazy and It’s one less thing to keep track of!

Is it REALLY that hard to open an image in a different app and then export to Instagram? No. I’m just exaggerating the effort it takes to use other apps because I don’t use them. The thing is, I think some people think that I use some special app and I don’t. I’m super plain-jane with Instagram!! Everyone has there own way of doing things and I love hearing outside opinions! I used to use PicTapGo all of the time until I found a way to edit for my style right inside of Instagram! Here’s how I do it! :

1. Bump up the brightness until it’s overexposed
2. Pull down the highlights
3. Bump up the shadows (creating fill light)
4. Bump up the contrast to make it pop again!
5. Sharpen a tad
6. “Fade” a little if the contrast made the colors too vibrant

Use “Adjust” to straighten the photo and crop out unnecessary distractions (like the window sill!). Then, over expose with the “Brightness” just a tad!

Reduce the highlights and bump up the shadows. Then use “contrast” to make the image “pop” again!

I always sharpen just a little bit (remember, this looks good on phones, not on computers!) And while I don’t use this feature, there is a NEW color feature that allows you to change the color of the highlight and the shadow of your image! Just like split toning in LR! Once you click a color, double tap and you can adjust the intensity!

If you liked this… and would enjoy more resources in the future about professional image editing, let me know! :)


xoxo, Katelyn
27 Comments Ask Anything, Education
  1. Katie reply

    This was super helpful! Thanks :)

  2. Emily reply

    Instagram is my favorite too! I love getting a peek at how different people edit (instagram or otherwise.) I always thought that your insta -style was very similar to your photo-style and I like the consistency. I could spot a KJ image anywhere. ;)

  3. Anna | ANNAdventure reply

    I switched to VSCO because way back when you only had filters in instagram, I started getting bored of them. Now instagram has stepped up their game and allow you to edit. I really like that they’ve done this. I still use VSCO but when I need to do a quick edit, I use instagram for sure.

  4. Sally reply

    More editing resources??? YES, PLEASE!!! :)

  5. Kendra M. reply

    Loved this. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Anna reply

    Love this! Thank you! I would also enjoy editing tutorials in the future too! :-)

  7. Jessica ranae photography reply

    I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one who only edits in Instagram!

  8. Catherine reply

    I am with you! I downloaded VSCO to see what all the hype was about and ended up not liking it and deleting it. Thank you for sharing! I love your work!

  9. Shanna reply

    Yes! Very interesting and helpful, and Id love to see more editing techniques and tutorials. Thanks, love your blog and work.

  10. Kelsie Palumbo reply

    Wow, I just walked through this step by step and it makes a huge difference. I didn’t even realize Instagram had these features. Thanks!

  11. Kristen Burtch reply

    i love this. Not only did I find this helpful, I love that you are always so approachable for everything photography. No matter how big or small. <3

  12. Kelcey Flynn reply

    Love this Katelyn! This was really helpful and insightful, and super practical. I love these step-by-step instructions and why you do each piece. Would definitely enjoy more resources! Thanks!

  13. Kristi reply

    YESSS!! Loved this!! This is what I’ve recently been doing too:-) xoxo

  14. Cathy reply

    I love this post!!!! I use Instagram itself to edit my images too! Our feed is a mix of personal and professional so for our personal I use all those crazy filters (because they’re fun & grungy sometimes), but our professional work is clean and bright so I just use Instagram for those. I’m so glad to hear someone else does things the same way!!!!!

  15. Dottie reply

    I loved this post! I never even realized you could do all of this editing in Instagram. I’ve been using a different app and then opening in Instragram. Great post!

  16. Sydni Jackson reply

    I use almost the exact same process! Only difference is I don’t over-expose as much, and I increase brightness instead of decreasing it. For almost every image though, I do the same steps so it’s fast and easy to remember. I love that Insta added the edit features! I’d love to hear more about you edit professional photos :)

  17. Erin reply

    Loved this post, thank you for sharing, I use the Whitagram app to upload the images I’ve already edited on my computer, but I like the idea of taking more behind the scenes photos and being able to edit in a style similar to what I do in LR!

  18. Jessica N reply

    I personally love the Photoshop App!!! Then I open in Instagram :)

  19. Marci reply

    Love this, thanks! Would love to learn more about professional editing, too. Do you not sharpen your images on the computer (regarding your phone v. computer comment above)?

  20. Sami Orndorff reply

    Seriously have this same exact topic saved in my draft list to come out this week! Ahh! Haha, I’ve never gotten the obsession with VSCO, and, especially with the newest update to Insta, in-app editing is just so easy!!! :) Yay for bright colors!!

  21. Christin reply

    Love this!!! So helpful!!!

  22. Samantha reply

    Love love love this!!!! Ummmm and yes to more tips and tutorials!!!! Your amazing! Thanks for sharing!!

  23. Leslie reply

    Totally doing this on my phone as I read… look at all these “Katelyn”(ish) photos I’m taking! :)

  24. Mary Margaret reply

    This is SO helpful! Thank you Katelyn. Would love more tips! Especially for small businesses that aren’t photographers ;)

  25. Janet reply

    hi! I’ve been stalking your instagram for awhile now, probably well over a year now, and stumbled across this post via stalking your blog all day today ! heehee. I just love your work and hope to one day be able to attend one of your sessions. I am a new photographer who thought my editing was just not correct, but after reading your posts on lightroom and other things today on how you don’t do it “right,” I found myself thinking, “I AM doing this right! I AM on the right path!” lol. Much like your editing here, I do the same in insta and in lightroom. lol. Thank you for making me feel normal and giving me so much inspiration and hope. I only hope to be half as great some day. Also, I’m interested in whatever else you’re willing to teach/post until I can get into one of those sessions of yours. <3

  26. Maria E reply

    Hey Katelyn! Loved this post and would love more education materials on professional image editing the future. Keep being awesome and helping people. =)

  27. Emily Magers reply

    I LOVE the editing tips! More more more! :D Would love some for LR & PS too!

Reply to: