How to Edit Light + Bright Photos for Instagram

One question I get asked a lot is "How do you take such bright photos on your phone?!" so I wanted to share some tips and my step by step editing process for my iPhone photos.

The photo above on the left is the original shot. It's not very bright and the quality isn't all that great but it was a sweet moment that Aria asked me to capture. She was so excited that her new flamingo totally matched her outfit! I took this around 6:30pm in front of our garage where the lighting was soft and even. I try to stay away from harsh direct sun rays and almost always use natural light.

So the first thing I do after taking a photo is boost the brightness quite a bit and lower the highlights using the built-in gallery editor. I do this same step for almost every single photo I take on my iphone7s. Depending on the photo, you may want to up both the brightness and highlights but for this shot I'm lowering the highlights just a bit to soften the overexposed areas on her arm and shirt.

Next, I bring up the shadows just a little and then boost the brilliance. This lifts the shadows on her face and hair a bit. Boosting the brilliance starts to give the photo a little pop!

My last in-camera gallery edit is to lower the cast. This is purely an aesthetic choice but I prefer my photos to have a cooler temp rather than a warmer feel so I almost always lower the cast. It helps your whites look more pure white rather than yellow. Sometimes I'll add a touch of warmth later in Instagram but it totally depends on the colors in the photo.

Next I use the Facetune app to really whiten the whites and make any touchups. For this photo I used the Whiten feature to lighten the garage door. You use your fingertip like a paintbrush and wipe on your screen where you want to whiten. It's super easy! In the photo on the left you can see that the garage door has been whitened on the right side of Aria. I assume this feature was created for whitening teeth but it's a great tool for whitening background walls and flat lay objects as well. There's also an erase option in case you need to undo some of your whitening!

After I whiten then I use the Patch tool to get rid of any unwanted objects and touchup blemishes. In this photo Aria had a mosquito bite on her right arm so I tapped on the blemish and then the app auto selected another part of her arm to sample from and make the patch. If you're not happy with the auto-select you can manually choose where you want the patch to sample from.

After my Facetune edits are finished I export the photo to my iphone gallery. Now sometimes my images are plenty bright and happy at this point and I'll go straight to Instagram but sometimes I like to give the colors an extra pop with one of my favorite apps, A Color Story by A Beautiful Mess!

Once my image is opened in A Color Story I usually apply just one or two filters. My current favorite filters are Sky and Tulip from the Fresh pack and Sharp from the Essentials pack. For this photo I applied quite a bit of the Sky filter to further brighten the overall image and then a little bit of the Sharp filter to really give it that pop and sharpen the photo.

Lastly, I bring my edited image into Instagram! Sometimes I'll leave a photo as-is at this point but with this image I wanted to brighten it a tiny bit more and then I dropped down the highlights quite a bit to bring some of the details back.

I also sharpened a little tiny bit, only by 10 here and then I felt like this photo needed a pinch of warmth put back into it so I upped the warmth by 10. I like how it adds more color to Aria's hair.

And that's it! I know everyone has their own style and the over-exposed super bright look may not be for you but it makes us smile! Aria loves to sit in my lap and tell me exactly what needs to be touched-up in every photo! She's sitting in my lap right now and says "Hiiii Guys!!"

Just for some fun, here are a few more before and after photo edits from our recent camera roll.

Bath time sillies!!! What do you think? Sorry, no tips from Aria tonight. She's too tired from spending the past few days on her bike being cool at our local skate parks and I'm pretty sure she's having a big growth spurt because she's had a serious case of the growin' grumps today. If I can get her to share some editing insight tomorrow, I'll definitely add her tips to this post!

Hope you had a great weekend! What are some of your favorite ways to edit photos and what filters do you use most?


Aimey + Aria

#Photography #Tips #Instagram

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