Lesson 3: Editing for Instagram

Lets talk about editing. If you have good light and good composition, a little editing can go a long way. You don’t have to go overboard! I know the trend right now is the very warm filter or light bright and almost blown outlook.  But you know what these popular filters lead to? Your feed looking like everyone elses.

The key is to find an editing technique or a preset that fits your brand.

When editing there are always a few things that I focus on. Sort of like a check list. These are things I do even if I apply a preset. In fact, I do these steps BEFORE I apply a preset.

Check and Adjust Exposure

I always look to see if I need to adjust exposure. Sometimes a simple bump up in exposure or lowering of it can be exactly what a photo needs.

Is the Temperature correct?

Temperature adjustment makes your photo warmer or cooler. Sometimes you have a photo that was shot too cool. And you need to warm it up. OR the opposite is sometimes true.

Does this photo need contrast?

I usually don’t tweak this one a lot, but sometimes just a little contrast is just what you need. BUT BE CAREFUL! You don’t want an overly crunchy, fake looking photo!

Do I need more or less Saturation?

I love colorful photos. Sometimes, a preset is perfect, but the colors are desaturated. Bumping up the saturation makes it more of a photo that is on brand for me.

Do Shadows and Highlights need adjusting?

There are times when the shadows obscure a part of the photo that I feel is crucial to telling a story. Or sometimes,the shadows help tell the story. I adjust highlights when they are blown out in due to harsh light or blown out whites.


Sometimes, I crop to eliminate something distracting. Sometimes I crop to rule of thirds. Cropping should always make the photo better.

Editing on your phone.

We can do everything on our phones these days. What you edit with is a personal choice, but I will add my favorites here.


The OG of instagram editing.

There are SO MANY presets available. A lot of over the top, but there is something for everyone.

A Color Story

One of my favorite everyday apps. I use this one for quick edits for photos for my stories.

Lightroom Mobile.

Since I like my blog photos and instagram photos to match, I tend to use this one the most.

You can make your own presets or sync to the desktop version of the program to use your own presets.

Touch Retouch

My favorite app to remove distractions, and people. It’s a simple easy app. And it’s FREE

A few others

Photoshop Express.

I love using this app to fine tune my edits and for cropping. Espeically for Instagram Stories.


If you dont like Photoshop or Lightroom, Snapseed is the perfect alternative.

Adobe Spark

Perfect for creating graphics for quote posts or Instagram Stories graphics.