Social Media

How to Edit Instagram Photos

September 7, 2023 by

Instagram is a simple yet useful asset to your brand, especially if you’re a blogger and/or social media influencer.

Not many other apps offer such a unique method of storytelling. And when used correctly, Instagram is just the kind of thing that will elevate your blogging.

However, while Instagram is simple to use, you’re not going to do your marketing strategy any favors if you’re not carefully considering what photos you’re adding to your feed.

It’s important to strike a balance between cohesion and engagement.

It’s difficult to pinpoint what makes a feed “cohesive”—there are many avenues toward the same goal.

But one thing all professional bloggers have in common is that they take the time to edit their photos, before and after they post.

This is a helpful guide discussing how to edit Instagram photos like a blogger.

We’ll be covering the following topics (click on a bullet point to jump to that section):

Table of Contents

How to Edit Instagram Photos

Much of the same methodology applies to mobile editing as it does to standard photography, with some adaptations to the Instagram medium.

Here are some tips you should use to help enhance your Instagram photos:

1. Start with a Good Capture

Begin by taking high-quality photos with good composition and lighting. A strong foundation makes editing easier.

2. Use Editing Apps

There are many mobile and desktop apps designed for photo editing. Popular options include Adobe Lightroom, VSCO, Snapseed, and Adobe Photoshop Express.

3. Maintain Consistency

Establish a consistent editing style or theme for your Instagram feed. Consistency makes your profile visually appealing and recognizable.

4. Adjust Exposure and Contrast

Balance exposure by adjusting brightness and contrast to make your image visually appealing. Avoid overexposure or underexposure.

5. Color Correction

Adjust colors using tools like temperature (warmth vs. coolness) and tint to achieve the desired color balance.

Experiment with saturation and vibrance to make colors pop.

6. Crop and Straighten

Crop and straighten your photos to improve composition and eliminate distractions. Instagram’s built-in cropping tool offers popular aspect ratios for posts.

7. Use Filters Sparingly

Instagram provides a variety of filters, but use them sparingly. If you choose to use filters, adjust their intensity to match your style.

8. Enhance Sharpness

Sharpen your image slightly to enhance details, but avoid excessive sharpening, which can make the image look unnatural.

9. Reduce Noise

If your photo has digital noise (graininess), use noise reduction tools to clean it up. Be careful not to overdo it, as it can lead to loss of detail.

10. Selective Editing

Many editing apps allow for selective adjustments. Use these tools to target specific areas of your photo for fine-tuned adjustments.

11. Retouching and Healing

Remove unwanted objects or blemishes using retouching and healing tools. Keep it subtle to maintain a natural look.

12. Use Presets

Presets are pre-configured editing settings that can be applied to your photos. They’re especially useful for achieving a consistent editing style.

13. Experiment and Learn

Editing is an art, and it’s important to experiment with different adjustments and settings. Don’t be afraid to learn from tutorials or online resources.

14. Maintain Originality

While editing can enhance your photos, avoid over-editing to the point where the image looks unnatural. Maintain the essence of the original scene.

15. Check Before and After

Review your edited photo alongside the original to ensure you’re achieving the desired look without going too far.

16. Save High-Quality Versions

Always save and upload high-quality images. Instagram may compress your photos, so starting with a high-quality image helps maintain overall quality.

17. Plan Your Grid

If you’re particular about how your photos appear in your grid, use planning apps to visualize your feed before posting.

18. Consider Your Audience

Tailor your editing style to your target audience’s preferences while staying true to your own creative vision.

What Apps to Use to Edit Instagram Photos Like an Influencer or Blogger

There are plenty of photo editing apps to choose from. However, you still need an artist’s eye, to have a clear vision, and to use the tools you have available to their fullest.

Even still, it’s never been easier to make your photos shine with the best photo editing apps on the market:

1. Snapseed

Availability: Android & iOS
Price: FREE

Snapseed by Google

Snapseed has cemented itself as the go-to mobile photo editing app in both the Android and iOS marketplace.

Originally developed independently, the application was purchased by Google in 2012.

Known for its robust array of editing features, Snapseed’s user interface is perfect for mobile editing.

Through the use of “swipe” gestures and sophisticated automatic adjustments, Snapseed will allow you to edit your photos in very little time.

However, if you’re looking to fine-tune your editing, Snapseed is the best tool for the job—it allows advanced post-processing like precision masking, which allows you to completely change the focal point of your photo in post.

2. Photoshop Express

Availability: Android & iOS
Price: FREE

Adobe Photoshop Express

Photographers have a deep relationship with Adobe. The company has long provided them with the quintessential suite for photography, videography, and everything in between.

While the company was slow to the party, it’s finally launched a toned-down version of its massively successful Photoshop for mobile.

Known as Photoshop Express, it packs many of its post-processing and retouching tools into a more streamlined version of its popular software.

Adobe saw the writing on the wall when it designed its mobile application; photographers love to have complete control over their images, but mobile photographers benefit most from a concise and intuitive toolset.

With this in mind, Adobe packed Photoshop Express with algorithms designed to quickly enhance your photos based on the most often cited issues with smartphone photography.

Adobe hopes you’ll find exactly what you need with a tap of a button.

With Perspective Correction, Adobe quickly mitigates the skewed dimensions often found in phone photographers due to the contour of smartphone lenses.

They’ve also cleverly designed a tool for dramatically boosting contrast to cut through the haze and make your photos pop with little effort.

Beyond that, they offer a sophisticated set of automatic filters with the ability to design your own.


Availability: Android & iOS
Price: FREE


Much like Snapseed, VSCO has been around since the early days of smartphone photography.

When phone users were realizing that phone photography was finding its place as an artist platform, VSCO stepped in to offer an array of tools that intuitively boosted the quality and range of the photos users were taking.

VSCO still stands as one of the best mobile editing tools on the market. It’s found its place as a source for sophisticated post-processing filters and as a community, which is what makes it stand apart from both Snapseed and Photoshop Express.

You’re more than welcome to use VSCO for things like manual focus and depth of field control, eye-popping automatic filters that bring range and contrast to your photos, and robust videography tools.

But you can also take part in an expansive online community of artists.

Popular Filters Used by Influencers for Their Instagram Photos

Sometimes all that’s needed to make your photography pop is the right filter. But what are filters?

phone photo filter
get that grid poppin

They’re complicated algorithms developed by programmers that process your photography, changing things like brightness, contrast, saturation, hue, and many other aspects of your photograph.

The truth is, as sophisticated as our phones are, they still employ relatively tiny camera sensors coupled with tiny camera lenses.

This adds up to a fairly limited range that benefits from post-processing.

Your phone most likely processes the photo before you even see it, but additional processing in the form of filters is recommended.

However, using a gaudy or inappropriate filter on your photo can make it even worse; it’s best to know of a handful of great filters and stick to those for a cohesive brand.

1. VSCO’s S2 Preset

You can’t go wrong with many of the presets (VSCO’s name for filters) that VSCO has to offer. But some presets work better for your brand than others.

VSCO’s “S2” preset will brighten and clean up your pics, giving them crisp, concise whites.

This preset is good for fashionable photos—think of modeling and lifestyle photography.

2. Afterlight’s Russ Filter

While not mentioned earlier, Afterlight is another great photo editing tool that focuses on filters. And their “Russ” filter is one of the best that they offer.

It will decrease your photograph’s contrast while boosting its brightness, giving your photography a muted aesthetic.

Muted looks are perfect for cultivating a sophisticated, somewhat academic brand.

3. A Color Story’s Wool Filter

A Color Story is another mobile application that has dominated the market in providing users with both free and paid filters that will instantly enhance their “look”.

These products understand that bloggers aren’t just looking for great photography—they’re looking for a unified palette.

A Color Story’s “Wool” filter is just that—it’s a filter you can apply to your Instagram photography to give your photos a cozy, autumnal vibe.

Think of pumpkin-spiced lattes and hayrides in your most well-worn wool sweater.

Why You Want to Edit Instagram Photos if You Are a Influencer

Smartphones are remarkable devices. Even a decade ago, the thought of having a full-fledged computer that we manipulated by touch and fit in our front pocket seemed like science fiction.

Yet, as far as we’ve come, phone photography still has a way to go in providing the same dynamic range as a DSLR camera.

Yet, with mobile editing tools, we are closer than ever to producing rich, vibrant photos from the tiny cameras embedded in our handhelds.

As a blogger, your brand is your entire product.

And without photo editing, you’ll quickly find that your product will present itself as fractured and inauspicious to your audience.

With some editing, your blogging brand will tell a great, compelling story with little effort!