The Secret to Editing My Instagram Photos

The Secret to Editing My Instagram Photos

The Secret to Editing My Instagram Photos | Here and Air


As you know, I am a huge lover of Instagram. I don’t have thousands of followers or claim to be “Instagram famous” or anything, but lately I’ve been getting asked how I edit my photos. I am quite flattered and taken aback each time the question arises. I never realized how obscure my editing approach is because I use popular applications that are available to everyone. So I’d like to share the secret to editing my Instagram photos.



Back when I first started using Instagram, I would admire all these photographer’s accounts who would post unique, creative, and sensational photos. It instantly inspired and escalated my love for photography (so long Flickr!). Looking back, I’d say my editing approach at the time was a perfectionistic madness — it would get pretty stressful at times. Basically, I was never happy with how the colors turned out, mainly because I was trying so hard to replicate these popular accounts.


I would filter the crap out of my photos, smh.
Overtime, I started doing my own thing and boy has my stress levels gone down. The thing I realized is, your photos should represent your personality and should resonate with your personal brand. It’s what’s going to make you stand out from everybody else because nobody can replicate you.


Before I get into how I edit my photos, I’d like to mention that the best photos are the least edited (IMO). It’s all about being able to capture it beautifully and organically the first time. Filters are just an extra.
It’s not meant to make just any photo attractive; it’s meant to enhance the beauty it already possesses. 



I used to have a gazillion editing apps and would hop between 3-5 apps. This was a complete waste of time. Now I only have three apps installed on my phone and would usually only use one.



2. Snapseed

3. Touch Retouch


STEP 1 (optional)

If there is a speck or unwanted clutter in the photo, I’ll take it to the app, Touch Retouch, and remove it. I only use this app once in a blue moon.



Before slapping a filter onto my images, I like to:


  • straighten the image (if necessary)
  • crop (if necessary)
  • and make and other necessary adjustments (exposure/brightness/contrast/temperature/highlights/shadows/etc.)


I usually do that with VSCO, but I’ll occasionally use Snapseed when I feel the image needs a bit of a boost on the brightness side.
I find that the adjustments are more effective when the image is still raw, rather than trying to adjust on top of the filter. Otherwise, your photo may look over-processed.


Just play around with it until you feel it’s right.



Import to VSCO if it’s not already in there and choose a filter.

My favorite filter on VSCO:

I like to play around with different filters all the time, but I find myself always going back to A6.


Take to Instagram. Apply any last-minute changes (brightness, clarity, highlights, etc.) and post!


It’s really all about finding your style and adjusting to what looks and feels right to you. 


If I’m feeling super fancy, I’ll take the image to Lightroom and edit on there instead of the VSCO app.


What I did:

1. (first photo) Untouched photo

2. (second) Brighten and decrease ambiance on Snapseed

3. (last photo) Import to VSCO and apply A6 filter

I love bright and airy photos. Sometimes you gotta play around with the brightness and exposure especially when there is lack of light.


What I did:

1. (first photo) Untouched photo

2. (second photo) Adjust brightness and apply VSCO filter on Lightroom

This is one of my favorite shots I’ve taken this year. It didn’t need much enhancing so I just kept it simple. If you can’t tell the difference between the two, the edited version has a tint of pink. 🙂


There isn’t a proper way to edit your photos. Everyone has their own style!

How do you edit your Instagram photos? Comment below and let me know! As always, if you enjoyed this post, please like, share, and subscribe to get all the latest updates on Here & Air.








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  • Marina
    Posted at 03:03h, 03 November Reply

    Hi lovely! Your photos are amazing! What you said about the Lightroom VSCO preset, have you bought it? Or just made it yourself? Is it free to download somewhere? Thak you very much!!

    • Carmelisse
      Posted at 16:45h, 03 November Reply

      Thanks Marina! I haven’t bought the VSCO Lightroom presents, they’re quite pricey. I’m not too sure if you can get it free anywhere else. They have a free app you can download on your phone instead. 🙂

      • Marina
        Posted at 03:17h, 04 November Reply

        Yeah I’ve got the phone app! But where have you gotten the lightroom presets if you haven’t bought them either? Is there any chance you could senf them to me? Kisses!!

  • Anne
    Posted at 14:16h, 16 August Reply

    Hi, i cannot find the A6 filter. Where on the app is it?

    • Carmelisse
      Posted at 14:33h, 16 August Reply

      Hi Anne! I could’ve sworn A6 was a free filter…hmm maybe you have to purchase it through the VSCO store. Hope that helps.

  • solosophie
    Posted at 15:11h, 26 January Reply

    Lovely post; people keep recommending VSCO to me but I quite like using the in-app tools! Fotor is also super useful for RGB balance as well!

    • Carmelisse
      Posted at 15:25h, 26 January Reply

      It’s just what I like to use personally. You don’t have to use vsco, use whatever you like! The in-app tools are very good now. I’m pretty impressed with them. 🙂

  • Caitlin
    Posted at 07:34h, 19 November Reply

    Love this! I am always looking for ways to improve my own Instagrams! Do you tend to share more of your phone photos or camera photos? I’m curious since your pictures are always so crisp.

    • Carmelisse
      Posted at 08:00h, 19 November Reply

      Thanks Caitlin! I used to only share iPhone photos. Now that I’m getting serious about photography, I’ve been using more of my DSLR photos. I’m constantly wanting to learn and improve my skills with it. I still share iphone photos every once in a while 🙂

  • Amanda
    Posted at 04:53h, 19 November Reply

    Your Instagram photos are stellar! I usually just do the brightness editing in Instagram. I tool with brightness and contrast most often and then just say I’m good to go. Is there a perk of controlling brightness in one of these apps instead? I’ve heard a lot about VSCO cam, but it just sounds like another step to me. Haha.

    • Carmelisse
      Posted at 07:57h, 19 November Reply

      Aww thanks Amanda! Nice! Simplicity is key. Everyone will have their preferences, I just love how VSCO gives it that filmy look. 🙂

  • Kerstin
    Posted at 04:31h, 19 November Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing this! Seems like everyone is using VSCO these days. 😀
    Your Instagram pictures are gorgeous by the way!

    Love, Kerstin

    • Carmelisse
      Posted at 07:56h, 19 November Reply

      Thanks Kerstin! Yeah VSCO is pretty amazing. 🙂

  • Cath
    Posted at 20:13h, 18 November Reply

    Love your pictures ! Which camera are you using?

    • Carmelisse
      Posted at 20:18h, 18 November Reply

      Thanks Cath! I use a canon 5d m3 and an iPhone 5s 🙂

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