A few months ago, I shared on Instagram Stories how I edit my photos. Y’all loved it! I received lots of different comments and messages saying that it was interesting to see how I create a cohesive look for my feed. While I am no expert on Instagram, I do try to make sure that my feed pairs with my brand.
What does “pairing my feed” with my brand mean? When it comes to my aesthetic, I have an “organized chaos” outlook on life. My “organized chaos” involves a lot of patterns and colors, paired with crisp lines and clean edges. The Quirky Pineapple Studio is the same. I love the playful patterns that Giada, of Miel Cafe Design, created for me, paired with more structured outlines.
So for my Instagram feed, everything needs to be cohesive! Lots of bright colors, patterns and flowers, paired with clean lines and crisp edges. My editing style involves exposure, less contrast, and warmer tones. Here’s how I edit my photos for Instagram:
Taking photos for Instagram
Before snapping #allthephotos and editing them, I usually try to stick to the main subjects that show up on my feed regularly. This can range, depending on what your brand/business focuses on. For me, as a copywriter, content creator, and brand/blog coach, an expat, and small business Instagrammer, I try to focus on a few things:
- Showing the process behind my work
- “Work” flat lays
- Scenes from my new home and my hometown (buildings, architecture, landscapes)
- Life as an expat (making new friends – working on that, community events, etc)
- Life with my boyfriend (home life, trips, pictures of us)
- Things related to the tourism and hospitality industry
- Fun things that share my personal life
- Flowers (because I really love flowers…)
Mainly, my brand is geared towards “lifestyle” and travel photography. Y’all, comeon, I used to be a lifestyle and travel blogger! But, to make sure that I also appeal to my ideal clients, (hello tourism and hospitality folks!), I add in a few photos that can be related to those areas.
When I’m out exploring or taking walks, I try to find different angles/perspectives of surroundings that I like and would be drawn towards. Usually, this means lots of snapshots of cityscapes, landscapes, buildings, and other random things I find appealing. I try to take at least 2-3 photos of the same subject from a few different angles, so that I can re-use these photos for Instagram or my blog!
Editing photos for Instagram
Now comes the fun part! After I’ve gone and taken a good amount of pictures, I go back and “cull” through my photo gallery. “Culling” means going through all the photos I’ve taken that day or week (usually photographers will cull through an event or session they’ve just photographed) and pick out the good ones and delete all the repeats or not so great ones.
After I do that, I upload all of my favorite photos into the app VSCOcam. From there, I edit each picture individually. Here are some snapshots of my editing process and how I make all my photos “bright, light, and clean” (this is what others have told me about my feed). Some days, I’ll look at my Instagram and think “THIS IS A MESS!”, but I’m also too lazy to make everything look picture perfect. Plus – I want to show y’all the real side of my life, how my brain functions, and the fact is, I love oranized chaos!
My process is the same for almost all my photos. I try not to change my editing style because then it will make my pictures look dramatically different and the flow of my Instagram feed won’t be as cohesive. I will always edit using the same filter, keeping a specific range for exposure, contrast, highlight, etc., and staying within the normal “shots” that I post.
- Pro Tip: Develop your own editing style (what you are naturally attracted to with photos) to keep a consistent look for your Instagram feed.
- Pro Tip #2: Don’t stress about creating a cohesive look or posting every day. It’s better to post quality content than something “blah”. Seriously, I won’t post unless I feel inspired or have something of value to give to the Pineapplers. Also, if I’m out enjoying my life and forget to post, then I forget to post! No shame, no anxiety.
For all the elements that VSCOcam allows you to tweak and edit, these are the ones that I always use (also, my phone is currently in Spanish so that I can practice more and learn more basic vocabulary!):
- Exposure (ES: exposición) — My exposure is usually within the range of 1.5-4.5, anything more than that and the photo looks TOO bright for me.
- Contrast (ES: contraste) — I used to love adding contrast, but now it makes the picture look too “heavy”. I try to keep my contrast at: -0.5 to -1.5.
- Sharpen (ES: perfilar) — I LOVE sharp photos with clear details. My sharpen feature is usually within the range 0.5-2.0 (depending on what the photo is).
- Clarity (ES: claridad) — To be honest, I don’t know what the difference between “Sharpen” and “Clarity” is, but I use this feature to make sure my pictures look clearer (duh). I usually set the range around 0.5-2.0 depending on how clear I want it to look. The higher I go, I’ve noticed the photo looks grainier (not my style).
- Saturation (ES: saturación) — I love colors and I love bright colors that POP. I definitely don’t want anyone to look orangey though, so when adjusting saturation I always try to be careful with skin tones. My range is usually: 0.5-1.5, anything higher and I notice the colors don’t look natural anymore and WAY too neon.
- Highlight (ES: toques de luz) — My sisters tell me that it always looks like there is a “white film” overlaying each of my photos. I can see why they say that! I want things to look really light and “pastel”-ish since my color palette is very Spring based. On the highlight feature, it ranges from 0.1-0.5, just to add a touch of “airy” and “glowing”.
Yes, I made that up.
- Shadow (ES: sombras) — I usually don’t do too much with the Shadow feature, because sometimes it makes the photo lose it’s depth and texture. Just to make sure I brighten everything and keep it consistent with the highlights, my range is 0.0-0.5.
- Temperature (ES: temperatura) — Ooh, this is probably one of my favorite editing options! I love warmer photos, that look like they have the perfect amount of yellow tones to make it inviting and welcoming. Usually my range here is from 0.5-2.5! I don’t like photos that look too blue or cool.
- Filter (ES: filtro) — My go to filter is Hypebeast 2 (HB2), which is a free filter I downloaded through the app. I usually scale back the filter to 6.0, and then make adjustments to exposure, contrast, temperature, etc. afterwards.
More Examples of Before vs. After
I occasionally will use the Crop and Rotate features if I think something’s gotta go in the photo! Clearly, that box of scarves and hats didn’t make the picture look very appealing, so I cropped it! Now, you can see the warmth of the lights illuminating all the paintings from the background. I also made sure that the colors were more easily seen and the brick wall had detailing and depth.
This adorable centerpiece designed by Pretty Petals Floral and Event Design for the Quirky Pineapple Studio Launch Party & New Beginnings is ALL THE THINGS I LOVE. The “Before” picture, I tried to get as much natural light as possible so that you could see all the different colors of the flowers. When editing, I wanted to make sure that it looked like the lighting was even (when it wasn’t), so I used the “Shadow” feature to get rid of the darker spots on the left side. Also, can you spot the baby pineapple?
This surprise photo I found in my camera roll was perfect! While exploring through Washington, DC with the boyfriend, he took a quick snapshot of me. The photo itself doesn’t look that great, and the biggest thing that catches my eye in the “before” photo is that sewer lid; I felt like it could be saved! I cropped out the sewer, that silver car, and tried to bring the eye’s attention to me walking and the greenery surrounding me.
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Uploading photos to Instagram
After all that editing, I save each photo and make sure it’s a decent size to be shared on Instagram. My “go-to” size is medium. Then, each photo is saved into a separate file on my iPhone titled VSCO. I have no idea how it did that, it just automatically saves like so on my phone. When it’s time to upload a picture, I usually scroll through that folder and see which photo I haven’t posted yet!
When it’s time to post, I draft up an Instagram caption, use the appropriate hashtags, tag all the right accounts, and press publish! (: I love editing photos through VSCOcam because it makes things SO easy. If I could go and edit photos through this app all day and call it a job, I definitely would. I find it to be quite calming! There you have it, Pineapplers, my complete process of choosing subjects for photos, taking them, and editing!
What editing apps do you use? Do you usually use a filter? Share with us in the comments below!
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