Pretty much exactly one year ago, I did a post on how I edit my Instagram pictures (click here to read it). By now the style of my feed has slightly changed and I've discovered some new editing methods that work better for me now. Funnily enough this post will mainly be about the app VSCO, which I didn't like back when I wrote my first post, but which could convince me in the end. Also in this post I will purely concentrate on editing photos but if you're also interested in creating a cohesive feed, you might wanna read my tips on prettifying your Instagram feed.
Step 1: Straighten and Crop
The first thing I do with a potential Instagram picture, is to straighten and/or crop it if needed. I always take care not to crop a picture too much so it doesn't lose quality. On the iPhone, and surely also every other smartphone, you can do both directly in the "photo album".
Step 2: Get the Right White
Most of the pictures you take with a phone have this yellowish hue as you can't set the white balance (as far as I know). Therefor I make sure to get white spots as crisp and clean white as possible. My favourite way of doing so is with the filter "Dappled" from the Photoshop app "PS Express". I set the filter on the lowest intensity which doesn't only make white spots whiter, but also makes the colours pop a bit more.
Step 3: The Main Filter
Even though at this point my picture already has a filter on it, I add another one to make sure my photos match in my Instagram feed. Like many other bloggers I've fallen for "HB1" from the app VSCO. This filter makes the pictures lighter, increases the contrast and gives them a greyish hue. I never use the full intensity of the filter, mostly just something around +4 to +6. This really varies from photo to photo.
Step 4: Light and Contrast
The most important things in photography for me are light and contrast. I adjust both in VSCO (but usually add some more light in Instagram later on as the intensity bar is more nuanced there). With HB1 you usually don't need to add much contrast either, but again it depends on the picture.
Step 5: Temperature and Colour
Usually I'm satisfied after the first 4 steps, but sometimes I take pictures that really don't go well with my feed, so I try to make them suitable with features such as temperature and colour. The temperature tool is for when step 2 didn't work and the whites are still too yellowish. The colour feature is nice for when you want to change the colour theme of your photo. If you go up to +6 your photo will become more pink while -6 makes it more green/yellow. I worked with this feature on the tulip picture below for example.
Step 6: Sharpen
For me pictures can never be sharp enough so I put the bar to 10 in Instagram. You won't want to overuse this feature though, as it can make your pictures look low-quality.
By using this procedure on every picture I post, I managed to get a cohesive overall look in my Instagram feed by now. What has also really helped me is the library tool on VSCO that allows you to just upload any pictures in the order you want, so you'll be able to see them next to each other and plan your Instagram feed ahead.
How are you currently editing your Instagram pictures? Have you got any more VSCO hacks that help you maintain a matching feed?