People have wanted to edit Instagram photos as long as Instagram has been around. We weren’t all slapping X-Pro II onto our lattes in 2012 for nothing. Editing Instagram photos is such a key part of the app that it’s synonymous with the entire Instagram experience. Photo editors have literally come out because of Instagram trends. If you’ve decided to move on from Instagram filters and give editing your photos another shot, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s take a look at how to get started editing your Instagram photos today!

Decide on A Style 

Having a signature style you can use on all your Instagram photos is a good idea. Creating a brand often has to do with way more than promotion. You also need to think about the colors you use and the vibe you want your photos to give off. Feel free to play around with this; nobody discovered their style in one day. But think about what you like – are you into chic, black and white vibes, or do you gravitate more towards bright, eye-catching colors?

Ariana Grande edits her Instagram photos with plenty of ‘90s throwback flair. When you think Ari, you know automatically it’s one of her photos. Somebody’s been on Hujicam!

A screenshot showing Ariana Grande's 90s look on her Instagram

Taylor Swift, by contrast, loves to play with colors and clean lines. It’s like looking at a candy store and fits in perfectly with Taylor’s brand. 

Taylor Swift's Instagram feed showing the style of her photos

Both celebrities’ personalities are on display on their Instagram feeds. Their photos have a unique style and color composition to them that makes them instantly identifiable.

Before you even take your Instagram photos, take a moment to think about your composition and lighting too. A lot of work can be done to make a photo look good before you ever need to edit it. Editing should enhance what’s already evident in a photo – not save it. 

Find An App You Love to Edit Your Instagram Photos

There are so many apps available to edit Instagram photos nowadays that editing has become extremely commonplace. In fact, it may be harder to find an unedited photo on Instagram than an edited one! A great trick for editing Instagram photos is just to find an app that you love and become so familiar with it that you know exactly how to create the look you want. Your unique style will show through if you’re doing it for you! 

Many Instagram photo editors offer the use of preset filters or even the ability to save your own presets. But before you go straight to someone else’s style, we recommend playing around with the app really extensively. Getting familiar with the tools you’re using will help you develop a unique style, and you may even discover features that you didn’t know about before and want to make ample use of.  

Instagram Apps To Edit Your Photos

There are a few tried and true apps that you can always turn to if you don’t know where to start. 

FOR THE VINTAGE LOOK: LOMOGRAPH AND HUJICAM

If you’re into a 90s aesthetic, there are quite a few apps you can use to edit Instagram photos. The first and most famous is Hujicam. Although Huji has great filters, it’s a little inconvenient because it mimics the experience of a disposable camera, so you can’t apply filters to your photos after you’ve taken them. Try Lomograph instead, which lets you apply filters after the fact. Throwback selfies here we come.

SNAPSEED

Snapseed is one of the original photo editors that people began to use outside of Instagram. It’s super straightforward and is a great option for anybody who doesn’t have a background in photo editing but still wants to create amazing photos. Snapseed offers all the basic editing services that Instagram does, but allows you to boost some other aspects to get a perfect Instagram look. Check out this Snapseed before and after (Click through to see the before photos!)

LIGHTROOM

Many photo professionals use Lightroom, and it’s clear why. Lightroom was specifically developed with photos in mind as a bit of an easier version of Photoshop, and their free app is pretty amazing. Although it’s not quite as simple to use as Snapseed, it doesn’t take too much time to adapt to. 

A screenshot of Lightroom's Capture Play post

PHOTOSHOP

Photoshop is the OG photo editor for good reason! It simply has many capabilities that other apps don’t. This one definitely has the biggest learning curve, though – we won’t blame you if you stick to something else. 

What Looks Good On Instagram?

There’s no real formula for what performs well on Instagram. The best thing you can do is showcase your own personal touch. But if you’re looking for some blanket guiding rules, you can see from the Instagram explore page that the kinds of posts that perform the best are usually brightly colored and eye-catching. The composition is just as important as the colors, too. People tend to like symmetrical, interesting angles and plenty of clarity in photos. We want to see what we’re looking at! 

Don’t Be Afraid to Change It Up

Don’t let it pressure you, though. Feel free to experiment and change up your style! Instagrams evolve just as people do, and you may not like the same thing this year you did last year. That’s okay! While it’s probably not a great idea for your brand to go from ultra-bright, fun looks straight to black and white, don’t get locked down on just one idea of how something should be. When you edit Instagram photos, let it show off your personality. And your personality won’t always stay the same. 

Let Your Photos Show Off Your Personality 

Your photos are a representation of you. Don’t force yourself into editing your photos a certain way because a celebrity you liked did it, or because you think it’s more likely to be noticed that way. Forcing yourself to somebody else’s guidelines or style is a great way to make sure you hate your photos by the time you’re finished. If you like bright, eye-catching colors, go for it! Or if you want to keep all your photos black and white, that’s fine too. Even if you don’t want to edit your photos at all but just continue slapping X-Pro II onto your latte pictures – your Instagram, your choice. 

A lomograph screenshot

There’s No Right Way to Edit Instagram Photos

Editing your Instagram photos is a unique challenge. Building a brand does require a certain amount of adherence to aesthetic, and for an amateur photo editor, it can be overwhelming. But once you decide on a style – and allow yourself to evolve within that style – editing your photos becomes easier and easier. 

Take the time to play around with your style before posting. Explore apps and really get to know one you like. But don’t forget that the work done before posting a photo is often just as crucial as the work done in editing! Think about colors, framing, and composition before you take your photos. That way when it’s time to edit them, you’ve already got a clear goal in mind of what you want the end product to look like. 

Don’t sweat when editing Instagram photos. It’s just a matter of exploring until you find what works for you.