So, for anyone who has been following my “social media journey”, you will know that it started off very slowly… like, five years ago when I created this blog up. However, it really ramped up about 7 months ago, when I revitalized both this blog and my Instagram account.
Growing on Instagram has been extremely rewarding – and also challenging – in so many different ways. Truthfully, that is probably a blog post in and of itself! However, one of the coolest things about growing on IG has been the many connections I have made with women all around the world.
I often have complete strangers send me instant messages asking questions, or commenting on my posts, and it is so encouraging and rewarding to be able to make those connections. One of the most common questions I receive is how I edit my photos, so I thought I would take some time to do a quick blog post about my process.
I know a lot of people don’t like to share the “secrets of their trade”, and I respect everyone’s individual creative process, but I’ve never minded sharing resources or information. If there hadn’t been many wonderful, generous people in my life when I was first starting off, I wouldn’t have been able to curate my own content to the extent I have either.
So, if you’re interested in learning more about my creative process, feel free to read further!
Step 1: Inspiration
My blog and instagram feed are both in the “lifestyle” genre, which basically means that I strive to capture everyday moments, with a focus on my family and home. Now, this doesn’t mean that every single photo I take is completely “in the moment”. I do stage photos if I have a cute idea, or if I have a collaboration with a company that requires something specific. However, many of my photos are just everyday moments that I do manage to capture as they happen.
I get inspiration for my photos from all kinds of places – my kids, outside of my home, at work, in fun/unique locations, Pinterest, etc. I also get inspiration from other IG moms and bloggers – although there is a fine line between “inspiration” and “copying”, but I think as content creators we are all pretty aware of the difference. At the end of the day, even if a photo has been inspired by something I’ve seen another account do, I always put my own spin on the image, and of course, my own editing process.
Step 2: Taking Pics
So, I know a lot of really wonderful IG accounts and bloggers use beautiful, high-tech cameras to take their photos… and I wish I was one of them! But truthfully, I take 95% of my photos with my iphone, and it’s not even the most recent version. I rock an iphone 7 for the time being, and truthfully, I am very happy with how the majority of my photos turn out. I love that I can whip my phone out at any time and catch real moments as they are happening. I have also learned a lot about when and where to take photos for best results, which has made a huge difference.
I do have a Canon DSLR as well, which I take out occasionally for collaborations, or certain staged photos, but I have zero formal training in photography (outside of the one semester of photography I took back in high school using film and a dark room). The point here is that the majority of my photos are taken using an iphone, so I promise, if I can do it, you can do it too! (See examples of a photos taken with my DSLR here and here).
Step 3: Editing & Apps
I usually take a TON of photos on my iphone, and then I’ll sit down and select my favourites for editing. I use the following apps for editing each photo:
My first round of editing is to select my favourite photos using VSCO. Once I have loaded my favourite photos, I apply the A6 filter to almost every photo, for cohesion on my feed. Depending on the level of exposure, I will adjust the intensity of the filter, and there is the odd time when I don’t use it at all. But, generally speaking, my first step is the A6 filter.
(Raw photo – VSCO A6)
My second round of editing is to import the photo from VSCO into the LightRoom app. I absolutely love this app. This is where I adjust the level of exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, etc. I can also adjust the colour, effects, and detail. I typically sharpen every photo, and then reduce the noise if it’s a bit too grainy. It might seem counterproductive to do both, but I find I am able to achieve the look I’m going for in the majority of cases. I also enable lens corrections in the ‘optics’ category for each photo when I’m done editing.
(VSCO – LightRoom)
The third round of editing that every photo goes through is to be imported into the Snapseed app from LightRoom. I use Snapseed to adjust and crop the photo, heal any imperfections, and adjust the brightness. I also use Snapseed to add a frame to every photo I post on Instagram. This is a relatively new feature for me, and it isn’t for everyone, but I love the thicker white boarder around each of my photos, and how it appears cohesively on my IG feed when viewed as whole.
(Final photo, cropped and touched up using Snapseed)
I know that probably seems like a TON of work for each photo, but it has honestly become so routine, that those three steps can take as little as 5-10 minutes. When I’m struggling with the lighting in a photo, it can take longer, but it’s usually not a huge drawn out process for me. The changes are definitely less noticeable with each edit, but the final product is always better when I follow my entire process.
Below are a few more examples of photos that have gone through the editing process:
Step 4: Fun Apps
The three apps I mentioned above I use for every single post, but there are a few other apps I have had a lot of fun playing around with as well. I certainly don’t use these apps with every photo, but every once in awhile, to create something special, I will use features from the apps listed:
- Platograph: this app allows you to animate elements of your photos
- BokehCamFX: this app is how I add the light dots to some of my photos for a more magical approach (I use the hashtag #project_whimsy every time I use this effect).
- Enlight: this is a really cool app for blending two images together, and although it can do a lot, that is what I use it for primarly
- FabFocus: this app allows me to blur the background of an image so it looks out of focus
- Lumyer: an app that adds animated graphics to your photos (like falling snow)
Three additional apps that were recommended to me, and I recently downloaded, are listed below. I haven’t actually posted anything on IG using these apps yet, but I have played around with them a little bit and I think they are worth having if you like to add special details to your photos:
- LensLight: this is another app that adds light effects to your photos.
- Mextures: this app applies some really neat filters, including the very popular grain/dust filter that gives your photos that vintage feel.
- Facetune: another app that can help adjust the colour and balance of your photos
Note: ALL of these apps are available in the App Store on my iphone, but I am not sure if there is an android version for each.
I hope that was helpful information for you, and not too overwhelming! Feel free to DM me on Instagram with any questions you may have regarding the use of the apps I mentioned above. Again – I’m not an expert, but I have had a lot of fun playing around with these different editing tools and figuring out what works best for me and the content I’m curating. Happy editing!