Photo editing with apps is easily done and accessible to anyone with a smartphone at little to no cost, so I thought I’d share a few apps and tips for editing your photos before sharing on Instagram (or indeed any social media). In fact Instagram itself has some pretty useful editing tools and, since there is where your photos go, perhaps there is where we should start…
The photo I am using for this post I snapped on my iPhone 6, each of the below edits begin with the straight off the camera version. I aim for a natural looking photo keeping my edits simple, not highly tweaked or enhanced, as this is what I prefer though how you edit is entirely your choice! The following are merely to show that a similar overall edit can be achieved several different ways.
photo editing with apps
Instagram have a range of filters, most of which I am going to advise you to steer clear of! The only exceptions for me are the black and white filters ‘moon’ and ‘inkwell’, occasionally just a touch of ‘gingham’. Although honestly – at the moment – I don’t use any of their filters (and might gently suggest that you run for the hills before experimenting with the yellow joy of ‘rise’ or ‘valencia’. And almost all of the others…) So for the sake of this edit we are going to ignore all of the filters and simply use the editing tools. This edit goes brightness +40 / warmth -25 / saturation -7 / sharpen +15. It’s still maybe a little yellow for my liking though.
Lightroom mobile app
My favourite app for editing is Lightroom. Having started to use the full version of Lightroom on my MacBook for editing DSLR images last year – I wrote a little about it here – I love the flexibility it gives. You can fix tone, remove or add grain and haze, crop, straighten, brighten, darken, adjust colours, highlight, shadow and many things besides. It gives the user absolute control of elements that adding filters in apps will not. For the sake of comparison I also edited the image at the top of this post in the full version of Lightroom on my computer. The advantages there are numerous, I removed the yellow tone (I haven’t found a way to do this in the app), sharpened and masked then used the luminance function to remove grain. Fine tuning your photographs in Lightroom can become addictive! Some of the features in the app are perhaps tricky to find, though once you know where they are that’s irrelevant…The image below I edited in the Lightroom app as follows. Temperature -10 / tint -5 / exposure +60 / highlights +5 / blacks -14 / clarity +4 / vibrance -5 / noise reduction 1 (low). Even though fine tuning is not quite as achievable in the app I’m happy with the tone of this edit.
(pronounced viss-co) is such a popular app now and one I downloaded maybe 2 years ago. In my experience it can put a colour or tone to photos which is great if that’s what you’re after though I tend to prefer my whites to be really white. I find a lot of the filters are pink/blue/yellow. If this doesn’t offend you then their filters are lovely, they soften photos and often make them look ‘vintage’ for want of a better word. Muted maybe? This was one of my first photo editing apps of choice and for a while it was all I used. My favourite filter is F2, which is where I started here. The edit goes F2 +6 / exposure +2 / sharpen +2 / temperature -1 / saturation -1. Can you see what I mean by muted? Compared to the first two edits this has a much flatter feel, the contrast has been cleaned up by the filter even at half strength.
PicTapGo is the other app I used over a period of time before downloading Lightroom. It is a great next best to Lightroom in my opinion with a range of filters and effects that are mostly pretty subtle. You can enhance your photo, improve the light, straighten and crop, adjust the intensity of each filter and layer them (or undo the layering) with ease. It’s impossible to give you a precise edit here so the following is a ‘best guess’ as the strength of each filter is simply a slider rather than numerical. For arguments sake let’s pretend it runs from 0-10. The below edit is something like lights on +7 / bleached +4 / cool it down +4 / bright side +2. Another slightly flat edit and theres a bit of a pink tone… But overall all four edits are ok for me, it depends on what you’re looking for doesn’t it?
There are so many apps and so many ways to edit within each that really the best advice I can give you is to find one that suits your style, the ones I have used here are the ones I used over the last 3 years, therefore the ones I know best.
Try to find a formula that works for you and tweak it as and where needed for each unedited image, you may have found it already in which case hooray! If not then experiment. Have fun! What’s the worst that could happen hey? If you have a favourite Instagram style or a particular gallery that you love the appearance of, ask the owner how they edit or at the very least which app or program they use.
I’d also love to know if you have a favourite editing tool or tip? What is your app of choice…?