How I Edit My Blog & Instagram Pictures

Thursday, April 21, 2016

(or...An Amateur's Guide To Editing Pictures)

I've been so hesitant to put this post together although it's been requested a number of times just because I do believe it will be thoroughly dull and disappointing. But the lovely and ever so supportive @mstantrum (check out her lovely blog here) asked me recently and I couldn't refuse her.

Over app picture editing

Now let me start by stating I am not a photographer and am in no way suggesting my pictures are amazing or professional or anything like that. I enjoy putting my pictures together and love sharing them with you all but they're not anywhere near what I aspire for them to be. Having said that, this has been asked of me many a time.

So here goes...I'm going to share how I edit my pictures for both my blog and Instagram. Be prepared to think, "Huh!!! Is that it?!?" because it really is rather unglamorous.


I take all my pictures on my phone which is currently an iPhone 5S. I would love to have a camera to take my pictures on and I feel like that would help me take my photography to the next level, but for now my phone is doing a sufficient job for me and I'm not complaining.


Before I edit any pictures I go through the multitude of shots I've taken and I select the ones I will definitely be using. If you follow my blog, you'll know I can't just choose one and usually end up using several because I love them too much! 

Once I've selected my shots, I open my picture up on an app called Over which is where I add my watermark to each shot. The good thing about this app is that I don't need to type it out every time. It saves my projects and all I have to do is change the background each time and position the watermark in the right place. The app also has filters, adjusting and cropping features and a multitude of typography options which is great for making pictures personal. 

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The 'Original' picture I start with before editing

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The finished picture I publish


I edit my pictures on the Instagram in-app editing suite 90% of the time. I know it's not considered to be that flashy but I've tried using apps like VSCO and what have you and I always seemed to come back to Instagram for a better edit. It just has the options I need, it's easy to navigate and quick to achieve. I always edit my Instagram pictures right there and then before posting and blog pictures I edit and send to myself via Direct Messages (yes, I use Instagram A LOT!) in advance of creating the post. 

Personally, I love creating pictures that are high contrast and clear with bold but true to life colours.

My most common "recipe" for editing my pictures on Instagram = Brightness 50 + Contrast 40 + 30 Highlights + 10 Saturation (for blog pics + Sharpen 15). This gives me a sharp white background and makes the colours of the products stand out but remain as close to their actual colour.

The first thing I always do is increase the brightness. The camera generally takes quite dark, dull pictures and I also prefer super bright pictures in which the background is lighter and the products look brighter. This is adjusted depending on the picture itself. The trick is to brighten without getting the picture looking grainy or washed out.

+ 50 Brightness

I then like to increase the contrast in order to make the white background a little whiter and the colours of the products appear bolder. I don't take this too high because it can create additional shadows.

+ 50 Brightness + 40 Contrast

The next step is to brighten the picture again to make the background as white as possible without taking away from the clarity of the products or washing their colours out. Any colour that is lost at this stage, I will add in again but I just like to get the background looking as bright as I can get it.

+ 50 Brightness + 40 Contrast + 30 Highlights

Finally I increase the level of saturation to get the products looking like their true colours again as all the brightening and highlighting can reduce it. I don't like to overkill on saturation as I want the colours of the products to pop but remain as true to their actual colours as possible.

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The completed picture:
+ 50 Brightness + 40 Contrast + 30 Highlights + 10 Saturation

Depending on how much daylight and what tone of daylight I take the original picture in undoubtedly affects the end result. I might adjust the recipe slightly, play around with Warmth and/or Lux settings or even apply Ludwig to get the right effect. I can always tell which pictures stray from my recipe and it's obvious where lighting remain stubborn.

This of course is my recipe that I use just because it works for me. Please bear in mind I am an amateur and know very little about photography and editing. This is just what works for me to create pictures that I like the look of in the end.


Recently I discovered an app called A Color Story which is a great little app with some of the best filters I've seen. So if you like a themed Instagram feed and you want something a little more unique, then you'll really appreciate this app.

I use the free filter Pop because it does almost exactly what I achieve via my several steps on Instagram in one go. The reason why I don't use it as often is because some pictures - especially those taken in dull daylight - lose quality and clarity once edited. But when it works it's amazing how it makes my colours pop against a the white background.

So there you have the unglamorous background story to my pictures. I know, it's not the best read but I thank you for sticking this one out with me :)

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What do you use to edit your pics? Do you have a similar go-to recipe? Are you shocked/surprised by my method? Let me know!!!

N.B. No makeup or skincare items were hurt in the making of this post...thankfully! It was a close-call.

Sal xxx
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