I often get a lot of questions on Instagram about how I edit my photos along with how I make my feed look cohesive. I'm not going to lie, it took me a long time to figure out my editing style and the look that I wanted my account to have, but after a lot of experimenting, I'm finally happy with it and I feel that it strongly reflects my personality and the vibe that I want to put out into the social media world.
I think that the loveliest Instagram feeds I scroll across are always the ones that are unique and creative with a clear flair of personality, so I thought that I would share a few of my tips on how to achieve an aesthetic that you love, along with some editing tricks to enhance your Insta game!
How I Edit:
First, I'll quickly explain how I like to edit my own photos for anyone who was wondering:
I import my photo into Lightroom (the free mobile app) and adjust the lighting and colour.
I often reduce the whites and highlights just a little and adjust the exposure as needed.
I then increase the temperature quite a lot because I love love LOVE warm photos.
I then reduce the hue of the yellows to a more orange shade.
Next, I reduce the luminance of the oranges slightly to create a slightly deeper looking tan.
I save the photo to my phone and then import it into the Tezza App.
Here, I always add the 'Vintage' preset and add grain if I want a slightly more retro look.
And voila! That is how I like to edit my photos that I post on my Instagram feed. To find out how you can discover your own editing style and aesthetic, keep on reading!
If you don't know where to start with regards to finding 'your style', have a scroll through Instagram feeds that you love. What do you like about them? Is it the use of bright colours? The minimalism? The creative edits? Note down the features that jump out to you that you like and keep those in mind when creating content. For example, when I came across @alexismaymcmullin's feed a few years ago, I instantly fell in love with her use of colour and I knew that this was an aspect that I wanted to implement more into my own photos.
Below are some examples of gorgeous feeds that I often scroll through on Instagram but remember, you are not limited to these specific styles, they are just for inspo:
I often check in with myself with regards to what elements I am loving about my photos and what I think I could do differently. I have always adored shooting in front of a plain wall and editing the colour of it using Lightroom Classic to create a minimal, yet colourful photo, but I also sometimes love to create photos with a more elaborate and busy scene...so how do I make these work together?
Themes & Cohesiveness:
In my experience, most cohesive feeds are often influenced by the colours and styles of the creator's clothing, home decor and shooting location. Have a little look again at the feeds above. Do you notice that the clothing colours are reflected in the composition of the shots? So the editing, backgrounds and props are all within the same colour palettes.
If you prefer shooting outdoors, choosing locations that compliment the colours of your outfit (or objects that you're photographing) will really help to elevate your overall image, make your featured item stand out and also give your feed a more aesthetically pleasing and curated appearance. The images above are some lovely examples of this.
Another tip if you're wanting a cohesive feed or specific 'theme' is to edit all of your photos the same way. The steps that I mentioned at the beginning of this post are the steps that I use to edit most of my photos - I just adapt the settings like exposure and temperature depending on the nature of the original photo. As you can see below, one photo was taken outside and is a little over-exposed, whereas the other was taken inside using the flash on my camera. Despite the different original settings, I still managed to edit them to work seamlessly together.
9 times out of 10, I will use the 'Vintage' preset in the Tezza App, however I do sometimes love to use the preset HB2 in the VSCO app which I used on the left photo below. By itself, it creates quite a cool, blue-toned look so to make it work with my other photos, I simply increased the temperature and reduced the exposure in Lightroom.
Most creators will have 1 - 3 presets that they always love to use. These can have slight differences, but they will still have qualities that keep all of the images looking similar and cohesive. The constant themes throughout my Instagram feed are very warm temperatures, lots of orange tones and reduced saturation with yellow tones. Have a play with apps like Lightroom, VSCO, the Tezza App and Colour Story to see what sort of edits, filters and presets feel like 'you' and incorporate these into your personal Instagram identity. Also, don't be afraid to tweak a preset slightly to make it work for your photo - it's rare that it will be a 'one size fits all' kinda thing.
Keeping it Personal:
In order to keep your feed and content personal to you, remember that you don't have to follow trends. Pastel coloured feeds with lots of bright, white lighting used to be popular and I thought that I also needed to post photos like this in order to seem professional and likeable. However, my content never felt like 'me' so eventually, I stopped. Your followers will like you for your uniqueness and you will stand out amongst the crowd if you decide to roll with your own aesthetic.
Speaking of being unique, what can you bring to the table that makes your content special and reflects your personality? These days, if you're wanting to get noticed and stand-out (more-so if you're wanting to work with brands) it's important to have a niche. This isn't quite as important if Instagram is simply your hobby but it can still be a helpful tip if you're wanting to give your content an edge. For me, I love creating photos with a slight retro twist because in real life, I love anything and everything 70's!
What colours do you love? Are you a warm or cool-toned person? Do you enjoy minimalistic styles or are you here for lots of colour and busy-ness? Are you a snap-a-quick-shot-on-your-phone type of photographer or do you prefer elaborate photoshoots? What about fashion; are there any styles or time periods in particular that you find inspiring?
Ultimately, your Instagram is a reflection of you, not anyone else, so don't be afraid to play and experiment with different styles, colours and edits to find what makes you happy.
Remember that you also don't have to take what I say as gospel at all. These are simply tricks that work for me that I wanted to share if you were curious about how to create an Instagram feed full of your own personal aesthetic. There is no "right" or "wrong" way to do Instagram so take pictures of what makes your heart happy and stay true to yourself! My tips are simply here to answer questions and guide you in discovering what works best for you.
- S xo