how i edit my iphone photos for instagram

how i edit my iphone photos | almost makes perfect

i get asked about how i take my instagram photos probably more than anything else, and i promised a post on this months ago — so i figured it was finally time! we’re all our own worst critics, but i don’t see my own feed or photos and think it’s anything to write home about, so it feels a little strange to write this post honestly. but here goes! 

i take all of my photos on my iphone, with the exception of photos i’ll post from the blog to promote a new post. you can tell by my feed that i’m fairly strict when it comes to what i’ll post, which can actually be a huge headache. sometimes when i’m unsure about a photo, i’ll go crazy deciding if i should post — and sometimes i’ll post and then delete. to relieve myself of some of this insanely unnecessary stress, i’ve started posting a little less — and posting more on snapchat. it lets me post the things i want to post versus second guessing myself if i should. i also started a personal instagram for my close friends and family so that i can post the stupid photos i want to post. this has helped tremendously! it helps me keep my instagram 100% on brand.

my general tips

as for my rather white feed overall, my biggest tips are shooting in natural light, having lots of white backgrounds available (use a piece of foam core, buy an ikea table top, or just use a white table), and brightening your photos more than you think you should. i always err on the side of brighter.

another way to ensure your best photos is regularly cleaning your lens like you would a pair of glasses. and if you have the space on your phone, shoot in HDR mode. i also like to usually shoot in square format so that i already know what the photo will look like cropped.

try different things. we’re all probably guilty of taking 30 photos of the exact same shot, but it’s really helpful to play around. move an object in an out, try a different angle or a different crop. for me it really helps give me an actual variety to choose from, and i can usually tell pretty quickly which is my favorite.

keep pretty things around. i love collecting pretty notebooks and magazines and matchbooks, but i also am guilty of keeping them around to use as props. i have pretty compartes chocolate boxes that don’t have the chocolate in them anymore. and i’m aware of how crazy that sounds.

also if you get irritated by your instagram husband all the time for taking the wrong shot, i’ve learned that the best way to communicate exactly what i want is to take a photo of him first. then i can figure out what i like and literally just show him the photo and say “HERE TAKE THIS SHOT PLEASE, HUSBAND.” it really helps. you also get funny photos of him posing for your camera roll.

how to edit your instagram photos

THE APPs i use

VSCOCAM is my #1 app. for me it’s not only the best app for editing my photos, but it’s the best way to visualize my feed. because you keep all your photos in a library, you can see if your next photo meshes with the rest well, or if you’ve posted too many food photos lately etc. i use VSCO for brightening and apply a filter (i stick to S1, S2 and S3 usually). VSCO also lets you customize your filters so you can drag the ones you use the most to the front. you can also turn down a filter, so it can be a bit more subtle. the photo above was shot raw and filtered in VSCO.

how i edit my iphone photos

TOUCHRETOUCH is my go-to for fixing up little imperfections. while i’d love to not care about the minute details of the photos i post, most times those little blemishes bother me and the photos looks 100% better without them. like the photo above! after i edited it in VSCO, i brought it into touchretouch to get rid of those little marks on the cement. you just circle the little flaws with your lasso or brush and press the play button.

how i edit my iphone photos | almost makes perfect

SKRWT because i sweat the small things, a lot of times i’ll use SKRWT for adjusting the perspective on a photo. you can easily correct the symmetry of your photo to look practically perfect. like in the photo above, you can see how my front door looks a bit crooked, so i brought it in and just played around with how to make it look a bit more balanced. this app is really helpful for interiors, building shots, etc.

how i edit my iphone photos | almost makes perfect

AFTERLIGHT i used to use afterlight pretty frequently for adjusting the sharpening and brightness of a photo once i’d filtered it in VSCO. this is because you can adjust it over and over itself in afterlight. but now that the controls in instagram itself have gotten better, i find myself bothering less with doing it in this app. so now i mostly just use it to apply white borders to the photos (which i do for my personal instagram). if you’ve seen feeds that do that, this is how!

how i edit my iphone photos | almost makes perfect

SNAPSEED also has retouching (like touchretouch), but it also has one of my favorite tools. you can manually select a spot on your photo and adjust the brightness, contrast or saturation. i find this so helpful when one corner of your photo just looks too dark or too colorful, etc. in the photo above, i fixed the footsteps in the sand and i brightened up the sand a bit.

and that’s it! i think that’s basically my entire process! if you have any additional questions, please let me know and i hope i was able to help you with these.

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  1. Woah. I totally use vsco with my feed, but I had no idea the other ones even existed! Thank you for the post, and you shouldn’t ask yourself why people ask you about them so much, your feed is beautiful!


  2. This is great info. Your photo posts are so unique to your brand. I am glad you shared your secrets. Thanks

  3. I always love your photos especially those kitty photos. I got Snapseed but I don’t get it haha. I have to play with it I guess. thanks for sharing your method.


  4. Sara Nesson says:

    I just downloaded all four apps. Thanks for sharing your little white secrets. Thanks Molly!!

  5. I love these tips! I also use VSCOCAM for editing my pictures and I think it’s such a great app! I really like your ideas with keeping pretty things – you never know when you can use them for a picture 🙂
    xx, Carmen –

  6. I LOVE afterlight, but didn’t choose VSCO because it gets pricy (and I hate all the sub-menus). However, I must look into touch-retouch, now!

  7. VSCO is without a doubt my favorite app. I also occasionally use Snapseed, but it’s something I need to experiment with more.

    Ellen | A Pop of Pink

  8. This is super helpful thank you for sharing your tips! I love finding other woman bloggers who are about empowering and inspiring others! Thanks from one modern day girlfriend to the next!

  9. Wow! Thanks for the tips and your awesome blog!

    I’ve been looking at how to get the best out of my cake pics and I found this blog!!!

    I am so excited – can’t wait to play :))))
    Thank youuuuuuu!!! x

  10. So helpful i really have not been happy with my insta feed. Hopefully it will get better using your tips!
    Do you have advice on how to have an over all astetic insta feed??

  11. Really useful post. I used to rely on instagram filters and I was not at all pleaed with the final look of my instagram account. I will give these apps a try. Thank you!

  12. Molly! you’re awesome, thanks for the tips!