Favorite Editing Apps for Photos & Instagram

Ah, instagram. Everyone's favorite (well, maybe it's a love-hate relationship) form of social media! I think it's so fun to be able to share pictures like this. Especially for people and family across the country-- it's a great way to stay in touch, up to date, and honestly, it's been a great tool to market my business. Sometimes I get questions about how I edit my photos, so I thought I'd share some of my favorite editing apps for photos. Hopefully they're helpful!

I always recommend taking photos in bright, well-lit spaces when possible. This makes getting like-worthy photos that much easier and any filters or editing techniques you apply will look clean and beautiful. I also suggest you always take photos with your phone camera and not from within an app. For some reason, the app cameras distort it. A few of my favorite apps are Afterlight, VSCO, Lightroom and A Color Story. Here is the skinny on each:

Afterlight: Think of this as photoshop on your phone. You can adjust exposure, brightness, clarity, contrast, temperature and more. Here's an example of a photo edited with Afterlight. 


AFTER: You can see it's taken in the shade, on a bright sunny day, so the lighting is ideal. To make it really pop, though, I did a few things in Afterlight, like up the brightness, sharpen, increase the saturation and contrast.

VSCO: I love VSCO because of the clean photo filters they offer. I recommend HB1, HB2, A6, & C1, 2 and 3. Always adjust the opacity on any filter you add and remember that true-to-life color always stands the test of time. You adjust the filter by double-tapping it then sliding down the bar to achieve a less-filtered photo.

Here's an example of a photo edited with VSCO. BEFORE:

AFTER: Adjusted the brightness, contrast, sharpness and applied filter A6 at level 4 opacity. Finally, we adjusted the temperature to a bit more of a blue hue, because the picture had inherently yellow tones due to the flower color.

A Color Story: This app is all about color, as the name suggests! A Color Story has all the editing tools for adjusting brightness, contrast and sharpness, as well as MANY fun filters (my favorites are the pack created by Glitter Guide called Flashes of Delight) and lots of flares, bokehs, and other effects. This app is probably the most "overwhelming" of all, because there are a lot of options.

Here's an example of a photo edited with A Color Story. BEFORE:

AFTER: brighter and more saturated.

also want to show you how cropping your image more closely can create more interesting and vibrant pictures. Removing some negative space and cropping it closer, draws you further into the petals of the flowers and cuts out some of the darker background:

Lightroom: My latest photo-editing obsession is Lightroom because of the presets I just downloaded. I saw everyone posting about Monika Hibbs presets and loved how they looked, so I caved and I'm SO GLAD I did! They're so clean and make your photos bright and airy, without blowing them out. I rarely have to adjust anything else after applying her presets. You can find them here. I just got the pack for the Lightroom PHONE app, but she has them for phone and desktop. Once you purchase them, it emails you instructions on how to  download and use them. 

BEFORE: it's important to note the lights are turned off here so I got even natural light. If I had taken it with lights on, when I applied the filter in lightroom it would have blown out certain parts of the photo (overexposed) and made certain parts where the lights hit feel extra yellow.

AFTER: I used the "cream" filter on this to pull out the greens a little more than the others would have. I didn't adjust anything else!

Our Editing Tips:
I almost always increase our brightness and contrast when edited in any app (unless the preset does it for you!) I also like to slightly bump the clarity and sharpness. If our photo is too yellow or too blue, we also adjust the temperature for the perfect color. Doing these things reduces the need for photo filters and achieves a bright and airy style. 

The biggest thing, though, is to find your style and be consistent with it. I try to edit my photos very similarly so that it helps create a cohesiveness with my brand. Just like I wouldn't share a photo of a mid-century-modern interior style (because it doesn't reflect my style) I'm also not going to share a super dark, poorly lit, or highly contrasted image. You need to find YOUR personal style and work on developing the editing that reflects that in your favorite app. Most apps have the ability to save your previous adjustments so you can apply the same adjustments to each photo with just one click. It helps speed up the process!

I hope these tips and before & afters were helpful. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments!


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Thank you for stopping by! If you have a specific question, please email me at hello@michaelanoelledesigns.com. I always reply to emails! Have a blessed day! xoxo

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