Tuesday, 14 March 2017

How I Edit My Instagram Pictures

How I Edit My Instagram Pictures

I absolutely love Instagram, and even with all the changes it has been through recently it is still my favourite social media platform. Call me sad but taking pictures for Instagram and my blog is one of my favourite things to do, and I enjoy putting together a theme for my pictures so I have a cohesive Instagram feed. I thought I'd share today how I edit my Instagram pictures - the different apps I use on my phone including which settings I use, and how I use Photoshop for my DSLR photos. I hope you enjoy! 

When I first started using Instagram for makeup pictures (long before I started my blog), I always used my iPhone camera. Back then it was a 5S, now I have a 6S and currently wishing the rest of my contract away as speedily as possible to get the 7! Anyway, I don't think you necessarily need a DSLR camera to take great pictures these days, and I always used to manage with my phone. 

I won't go into how I take the pictures with camera settings etc or what props I use, as I think that could be covered in another blog post (let me know in the comments if you would be interested!), but I always try to take my iPhone pictures in natural light near the window. It makes a huge difference to photo quality and I cannot wait for the summer when the natural daylight lasts so much longer! 

I'll start with my iPhone pictures. I always start editing my pictures with the Snapseed app. I up the brightness, usually between 30-60 depending on the picture. The great thing about Snapseed is you can up the overall brightness of the picture but then use the 'Selective' tool to brighten specific areas. This means you can brighten a dark patch on a photo without having to up the overall brightness and turning other areas of the picture too grainy. 

How I Edit My Instagram Pictures

Next I will load them into Photoshop Express or Afterlight. I would say at the moment I use PS Express the most. Here I will up the Sharpness to between 20-30, and Reduce Noise to 15. I then play around with the contrast, but I tend not to go overboard because I don't like overly 'contrasty' pictures. I usually set it to 15 but obviously depending on the picture sometimes it can use a bit more. Lastly, I change the Temperature to be on the cooler side, and put the tint more towards the pink/violet side rather than green (usually about 10). I like my pictures to have a pinky undertone to them and I find by doing this I tend to get a more cohesive feed. 

How I Edit My Instagram Pictures

I don't use Afterlight too often but I do tend to rely on it if I find that the colour balance is way off. The advantage to using Afterlight is that you can alter the highlights, mid-tones and shadow colour balance independently of each other. I find that if the whites on my picture (for example, my marble background) have a greeny/aqua tone to them I can up the Red Highlight setting (usually to around 10/15) and it will correct the whites without turning the whole picture pink. Similarly if the whites have a real yellow tone to them, I will up the Blue Highlight setting to balance the picture without turning the whole picture blue, just the highlights. (Really hope this is making sense!) 

And that's really it with my iPhone pictures! I don't tend to do too much to them. With all of my settings apart from brightness, I try to keep the settings quite low to avoid over processing or over filtering. I know another app people love is VSCO Cam; I really love this app too but I rarely use it for my Instagram pictures, I tend to use it more for my personal pictures that I keep on my phone. 

How I Edit My Instagram Pictures

Now onto my DSLR pictures. Again I try not to go crazy - I pretty much keep to the same formula so that my pictures tend to look in-keeping with each other. I shoot in RAW, so when I open a photo in Photoshop, it opens it with the Camera RAW window. If yours doesn't do this you can also find the Camera RAW filter under the filter menu or please Shift+CTRL+A.

I always up the exposure; depending on how good the light was on the day I took the pictures, this can range anywhere from 0.50 to 1.30. I usually up the Highlights to 20 and the Whites to 20, and that's it! I sometimes up the contrast to be between 5 and 10, depending on the picture, and I don't touch the Shadows or Blacks settings at all. I also never touch the White Balance Settings in this window, I do this separately after I'm done with all settings in Camera RAW. 

How I Edit My Instagram Pictures

The next thing I do is to correct the colour balance. Photoshop has a setting that can do this automatically for you, but whenever I've tried it it usually turns my pictures green! I like to do it manually by clicking on Image > Adjustments > Colour Balance. I then play around with the settings until I'm happy with the result. Again, to see what colours I want to balance, I look at the white areas of my image. If I see any particular colour I use the colour sliders to up the opposite colour - so for example if it has a really yellow undertone I will slide the yellow/blue slider more towards the blue side until the white looks as close to white as possible. Sometimes I do slightly add a bit more red and blue than I need to, to achieve that pinky tone that I like in my IG pictures. 

Again, that's it! Hopefully you can see I don't go crazy with tons of edits. I sometimes shoot a lot of pictures in one day so it's good to have a little routine with editing your pictures, it makes it so much quicker to edit a load of photos in one go. Hopefully this was a helpful little insight into how I edit my pictures, if you have any questions leave them in the comments and I'll try my best to answer them! 

xoxo

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