We all love a good Instagram post, however, it can be hard to create consistently stunning photos…

Moreover, it’s common to follow popular accounts that seem to always produce amazing images. Most of the time this is frustrating and baffling. How do they always get their images looking so perfect? Well, a lot of the time they use other editing software such as Lightroom to tweak their images. Unfortunately, for some this can be time-consuming and complex, so where does that leave you?

Luckily there’s no reason why you too can’t create well-edited images within Instagram itself. No additional software needed. By following these simple Instagram editing steps you ensure you create consistently impressive posts. Here’s how…

Step 1, Use the filters that Instagram gives you…

For some reason, it has become popular to refer to filters that already have settings tweaked for you as “pre-sets”. Whether this is to make it seem like someone else hasn’t already done the work for you I don’t know. However, in my eyes, they’re just filters and there’s nothing wrong with using them. Although, here’s the trick.

Let’s say you have a collection of images from your latest holiday, or, you run a blog with different features (Fitness, food and travel maybe!?). Then it’s useful to apply one filter to all photo’s in that one collection. The filter may differ from collection to collection, however just make sure it stays the same for that time frame of photo’s.

Why? Well, firstly this makes editing the photos much easier. You are coming from a similar starting point so know what will need tweaking. Secondly, it creates a theme for that particular set of photo’s – This is how all those amazing Instagram accounts get that same look across their photo’s! Picking a consistent theme for your Instagram editing is key to producing stunning pictures. So, decide on your theme and move on.

Step 2, Consider bringing Lux to your Instagram images…

Remember, we’re talking about Instagram editing your photos within the platform here. Lux is an incredible tool to use that will help bring your photo’s up. Firstly, it acts as a quick fix to add detail into those poorly lit photos you have snapped. Basically, Lux brings light into your images and balances the exposure.

In addition to this Intagram editing uses Lux to brighten colour which makes images more vibrant. This gives the effect of greater detail and more balanced contrast. If you have a lot of wider landscape images then Lux works really well with them.

However, be careful not to overdo it. As with any adjustment, if you take the effect too far it will leave you with over-contrasting, unrealistic images that just don’t come across well. I usually start at 25% and work up to 50% depending on the image, I never go above 50%.

Step 3, Now to lighten things up a bit…

Okay, so you’ve applied your filter and added a bit of Lux to your Instagram snap. Now it’s time to fine tune the picture. Using the “Edit” tab you can access a load of other features to tweak that’ll really bring your photo up. Firstly, I look at the brightness, be careful with this as too much can take away the detail of your image. It can also make it look unrealistic. I go for anywhere between 10 and 50.

Secondly, you’ll want to consider the structure. This adds depth and detail to your images but it is potent. I air on the side of caution with this and try not to overdo it. I play by feel on each photo but generally stop when I first see an image noticeably change as I adjust the scale.

Now I look ad shadows and highlights together. These are really useful for bringing out the finer points of images. I generally lift the shadows up quite a bit 50+ and only lift highlights up a touch – up to 25. This is because I find the highlights are much more sensitive and influence photos much more easily.

A quick tip: you can move highlights and shadows in opposite directions to make colors much deeper. This has a different impact depending on the image so experiment with this to find what you like.

Step 4, Consider whether images could be sharper…

Depending on your camera and the conditions you took the original photo in, this will either be needed or not needed. The likelihood is that you are taking your photos on your phone camera, so, some sharpening may be needed.

Now, remember earlier I said that overdoing certain editing tools can make your image seem unrealistic? Well, that’s never truer than with the sharpening tool. An over sharpened image can be spotted a mile off and looks quite odd. If the image you’re editing isn’t that clear to begin with that’s just the boat your stuck in. No amount of Instagram editing or sharpening will save a poorly snapped original image.

However, some may be needed so air on the side of caution and never go above 25 with this tool. This is especially useful if there is any landscape or woodland in your images. It also works well with food snaps if there are a few components within a dish.

Step 5, Finally we come to the boldness of the image…

When I say boldness I mean how much it jumps out of the screen at you, how rich an image is. I use contrast and saturation to influence this. Depending on the style of image you are trying to create you may want this to be quite suppressed. Alternatively, you may want a striking, deep image.

Whatever your preference remember that you have already applied a built-in filter that has a well-balanced mix of contrast and saturation. In addition, the tweaks you have made up until this point will influence the extent of this final stage.

That being said, I will always adjust the contrast slightly but never go past 25 on the positive or negative side of things. I then look at the saturation and any changes are purely based on how saturated my original image is. Too much and the image will look like a cartoon – especially bad if it features your face! Too little and it will look cold and faded like it has been left in the sun for too long. I generally never go outside of 10 either way on this.

So there we go, 5 simple Instagram editing steps to create consistently stunning photos…

The key points for Instagram editing are to use the same filter for each image group. In addition, use Lux sparingly and find your preference in how you apply the editable features. Let me know in the comments below if you have any thoughts or tips of your own to create stunning Instagram photos 🙂

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