A Few Quick Instagram Photo Editing Tips. (with before & after photos)

I will admit, I am not a photographer nor am I a photo editing professional. I am however a traveler who takes photos and uses some basic editing techniques to hopefully make an enjoyable viewing experience for those viewing my photos. Here are a few basic tips that I think could be useful to other fellow travelers.
Let’s talk/focus on Instagram. The filters and editing functions are quite powerful in their ability to transform an average photo into something extraordinary. But Instagram user be aware, over editing your photos can take an otherwise decent photo and turn it into garbage.

Example of too much editing

I personally do not use the built in filters but rather use the individual editing adjustments. These same adjustments can be found in your iPhone photo editing but I find it easier to work on Instagram’s platform.
Tip: If you want to edit & save a photo using Instagram but don’t want to share on your Instagram feed, turn your phone to airplane mode. When you click ‘share’ to end the edit, your photo will save to your phone but will not share on your Instagram feed.

‘Saturation’: This is the first adjustment I use when seeking to adjust the colors of a photo. Saturation changes the intensity of the colors. It can bring out colors (sunsets) that don’t appear pronounced or are dull. If you adjust to the left, you will get a black/white photo. Adjust too far to the right and you will end up with a very harsh looking photo that will appear grainy with distortions. Remember that when using this adjustment in Instagram, you are adjusting all of the colors so be careful as you may inadvertently intensify a color or portion of the photo that you do not desire.

Enhanced color intensity


Adjusting saturation can bring out colors 

A little adjustment goes a long way so don’t over adjust the saturation (trust me, it is tempting to do).

Over Saturation Example. Note the distortion in clouds as well as the orange tinge to my skin color.

Know what your intended editing goal is before starting to edit. If you want to enhance the colors, focus on saturation first. If you want to enhance the lighting, start with shadow, contrast, highlights and brightness. Same rules apply, be gentle with your edits and play around with each one noting the effects.

Example of photo where adjusting the lighting was primary objective.

Adjusting/adding ‘vignette’ to you photos darkens the corners as if looking through a constricted lens. I have had good luck adding vignette to sunset photos as it seems to frame the focus of the scene nicely and add some additional depth to the changes of color of the sky.

Note the subtle yet effective use of vignette

I hope you find these quick tips useful and please comment if you have any additional tips and feel free to share with others! (you can also follow my own journey learning to edit photos on my Instagram account Geo’s Instagram )


21 thoughts on “A Few Quick Instagram Photo Editing Tips. (with before & after photos)

    1. It really does. I just realized most of my posts are actually aimed at reminding myself not to do certain things… ha! Thanks for your thoughts 🙂

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    1. Yay! Makes me happy when someone tells me I am useful 🙂 If you have any other questions let me know, always happy to help. Thanks for your comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Thanks for the tips, really helpful! I have done some editing that I wasn’t happy with, but wasn’t sure the reasons why, or what exactly was wrong with it-just knew it looked off! Will keep these tips in mind in the future for sure. 🙂

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  2. Wow! Most of your editing is with saturation only? It’s actually one of the features I use the least..I’m always afraid of over doing it, funny though, your work on your photos is pretty great!
    I usually correct the light in facetune and put the photo in vsco for seeing how my feed will look like on IG (it’s pretty handy); on IG I always apply the same filter, usually between 5 and 35, to give a similar tone to the feed! 😀

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    1. Sounds like you are an IG pro! Thanks for sharing these. You are correct about the over saturation, it’s quite easy to do. I realized after reading your comment that most IG feeds have a very similar feel to them, I assume because each of us uses our own unique sequence of editing. Interesting. Thanks for sharing!

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