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How I edit my Instagram photos

Updated: Oct 14, 2020

The question I get most is without doubt how I edit my Instagram photos, and there’s a non-stop stream of questions about this sliding into my DM. So now I’m simply gonna write a thorough blog post about every step of my editing process – and what apps I use.

As mentioned above, this is one of the most asked questions – along with “how do I grow my Instagram”. I’ve written about how to grow your Instagram AND uploaded a YouTube video about it as well. As I say both on the blog post and the YouTube video, the MAIN point is editing! You can have a super nice photo, but if you edit like a blind person, it will not have the same effect, simple as that. Editing your photos is at least 50% of having a nice Instagram. So here’s how I do.


Edited with The Go To Preset from my Preset Bundle

Editing program – Adobe Lightroom

So the first step is to import all of my photos into Adobe Lightroom CC Desktop (on the computer), which is where I edit all of my Instagram photos. And I edit all of them on the computer. The computer version gives you many more possibilities than the mobile version does. I have not posted a photo (nor will I), that I haven’t edited in Lightroom for more than a year. And if you scroll (really) far down on my feed, you can easily see almost from the exact photo where I started using Lightroom. You can buy my presets for Lightroom here.

Lightroom also offers a free app, where you can edit with mobile presets. You can take a look at my Mobile Preset Bundle here.

Lightroom is EVERYTHING. I think I owe my entire Instagram “success” to Lightroom. It costs around 10€ monthly and it’s so worth it! You’re only doing yourself a favour. It’s basically a really good editing program, that gives you the opportunity to edit every single little detail of your photo. My favourite feature is that you can edit every colour in the photo – the shade, the luminance and the saturation of it. Ever wondered how so many Instagrammers always looks tanned and have the perfect blue sky? Because they edit in Lightroom, where you can change the colours!

See how I’ve edited the yellow (the church) lighter, the sky a more teal kinda blue, and the shadows less dominant? And this is even a photo where the before and after isn’t that drastic.

Main points of editing

So in order to make your Instagram photos look pretty and for your Instagram feed to have a nice overall look, my advice is to as far as possible to stick to the same kind of editing. I save my edits (like the one above) as a filter, which in Lightroom is called a preset. A preset is just like a VSCO or Instagram filter that most people use, where you can edit your photo with just one click. So I’ve created my own Presets, and then I try to use the same preset on every photo, and adjust it to them.

What I always go for when I edit my photos, is to aim for the same shade of colours, especially the ones that you see in almost every photo, such as blue, orange, green and yellow. It’s much harder than it sounds to create the same shades, and as you can see in my feed, it’s something I’m still struggling with. The cause is that you always shoot with different camera settings, a different light and with different surroundings.

From Lightroom to mobile apps

After I’ve edited them all in Lightroom, I export them and transfer them to my phone. In most cases I don’t edit them more than that, but sometimes (especially if it’s a close up) I edit them in the app Facetune.

I mainly use the “Details” brush, where I either brush over the outline of my body to make me stand more out and make the photo more 3D, or I use it on my eyes and small details such as a drink or jewellery.

If there’s a small detail in the picture I’m not really happy with – fx that my clothes or my arm makes a weird looking bump, I sometimes push it in with the “Reshape” tool or brush the “Smooth” tool over it, to make it stand less out in the photo.

Before and after adding details in Facetune - notice my eyes and the drinks.

Do you see the big difference in the photos above? I brushed over my eyes, jewellery, sunglasses and the drinks. There’s not a big noticeable difference, but at this level we tend to be more critical ourselves, than everyone else, who probably doesn’t think about or even notice – remember that guys.

How I edit my Instagram stories

My Instagram stories are edited in the exact same way as my Instagram photos – just on my phone. I’ve installed the Lightroom CC app, and exported my presets from Lightroom Desktop to my phone, in order to have my stories get the same look as my Instagram photos for a more professional look and expression. The presets on my phone are called Mobile Presets – you can take a look at mine here.

I take a photo on Instagram story, save it to my phone, and then import it to Lightroom CC. Then I choose one of my Mobile Presets, and adjust it to the photo. I then export it to my camera roll, and upload it to my Instagram Story. Voila! Super quick and easy, and it just gives a much better look, that fits to your Instagram feed.

I also sometimes use the Unfold app for my stories, to add a more fun and creative touch. It’s the app that creates ripped details or white boarders, like this:

Cool effect right? You’ve probably seen it on many Instagrammers stories.

This is how I edit my Instagram photos! Nothing extremely difficult or any deep secrets – everyone can do it. Of course editing takes time and practice, but I think we can all agree it’s worth it, and it does the whole difference.

Let me know what you think, and if you feel like it has helped you! 🙂


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