The Ultimate Guide To Instagram


The long awaited and so highly requested post and video is here! Instagram is honestly one of my passions, as is taking photos, and in the past few months a lot of you guys have been asking me how I edit my photos. I know I have a previous post on How I Edit My Instagram Photos- White Feed, but I’ve evolved my Instagram into a place of color, which seems to be well liked by a lot of you guys. So in this blog post, I’m going to give you my ULTIMATE guide to a colorful Instagram! I’m going to break it down for you in 5 sections- the basics, lighting, subject, photography, and editing.

The Basics

I want to start off by saying that the most common question people ask and I see commented on Instagram feeds are ” what do you use to edit your photos?” and “What filter do you use?” While editing determines the artistic direction of your photo and your theme, it’s not the most important. What you should be concerning yourself with is lighting, subject, and photography. While some editing apps are more powerful and professional than others ( i’ll get to that later), what determines whether or not your photo is editable and post-able is the quality you take it in. If you have crappy lighting and terrible angles, no amount of editing is going to fix it.


While some exposure tweaks during editing can make a difference, lighting plays a KEY role in how your photo turns out. A well lighted photos provides a clean canvas to work with in the editing stage. Many of us don’t have access to studio lights like light boxes, which is totally okay and definitely not necessary unless you’re really a pro. You’ll find that with my Instagram photos, most are taken outdoors. This is because the lighting in my house is terrible and gives off a yellow tinge, which is absolutely horrible. Natural lighting is the best, so either find a room with big windows, or take your photo outside. You might think that that means you can only take photos of nature. Not at all! A secret I do is use textured and printed scrapbook paper or colored cardboard and lay it on the ground outside. What you think looks like table is actually painted cardboard, and the colorful blurry background is actually a bunch of scrapbook paper layered on top of each other. Cool right? Blogger and all time #ladyboss Melyssa Griffin has an awesome post on How to Create Colorful Backgrounds for Blog Photography. Anyways, try to take your photos in the morning or during magic hour in the afternoon, and stay away from indoor lighting and after sunset.


This is composition. What do you take your photos of? Some Instagrammers like to tell stories through their photos. Some are super abstract and artsy. On my Instagram, my goal is to deliver inspiration and aesthetically pleasing colors. Whatever your goal is, try to envision it in your head before you go out snapping. OOTDs are super popular among the style world, and is a great way to share your love of fashion. If you’re into tumblr, food and drink photos are fun, as well as palm tree shots and street art. Recently, flat lays have been all the range. Basically you just take a bunch of cool items and lay them out on the floor or table and take a high overhead shot. And get creative when you’re taking pictures. Position your subject to the side or at a different angle then you normally do. Try tilting your phone or camera at a unique degree.


The editing app I use is VSCOcam, which is highly popular among Instagrammers, bloggers, and professional photographers. Every thing you need is in the app, which is free might I add. The two filters I usually for for are G3 and HB1. G3 tends to give the photo a really high contrast and saturation, and HB1 gives it a soft grey look. Most of the time I like to use HB1. Since I care more about actual editing, I’ll scale back on the filter, usually to a +7.

Then this is where the real magic happens. I’ll go to the toolbar icon, where you can adjust things like exposure, contrast, and most importantly- saturation. If my photo is on the dim side, I’ll raise the exposure by +1 or +2. Sometimes throw in a little contrast. Than, I’ll go to saturation and blast the baby on high. For colorful photos, this is basically how you make your colors pop. Depending on the photo, don’t go overboard with the saturation. But for example, on this photo, I can afford to raise the saturation to its highest and have it look okay.




The result? An aesthetically pleasing grid of colorful photos. If you have anymore questions, feel free to drop them in the comments below. If I get enough, I’ll do a specific Instagram Q&A.

Lots of love!


Watch the video:

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  • Reply
    December 30, 2016 at 7:09 am

    hello, i love your instagram feed so much! mind i ask, what camera model do you use for the photos? thanks!

    • Reply
      January 2, 2017 at 12:41 am

      Hi Lin! Most of my photos are just taken on my iPhone 6, but the DSLR I use is a Canon EOS 7D. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

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