I’m not a fan of social media, but Instagram is an exception. I’ve always loved the idea of sharing my photos while admiring other people’s works.
When I opened my blog, I put a lot of effort into the aesthetics of my account and I found it artistically rewarding, and people actually liked my photos! I also got a lot of comments: some were complimenting my shots, while others were curious to know if the photos I posted were edited or not, and I’ll be honest, the majority of it were. It’s not because they were not good enough, but because they weren’t mirroring reality. Have you ever taken a photo and noticed that the sky doesn’t look as blue as in real life, or the grass as green? That’s the problem with photography, the cool stuff you see doesn’t get captured on camera, unless you know how to properly edit photos.
To get the job done, I use a free app called Snapseed (and no, this post isn’t sponsored by them, it’s just genuinely a great app).
So, if you’re interested in learning how I edit my photos, download the app and join me in this step by step guide. To show you how the app works, I decided to use the most succesful photo of my Instagram account (@chiara.cisario). Here’s the comparison between the original and the edited version!
It wasn’t a bad photo, but the color didn’t resemble reality, and I wanted to show how beautiful that sunset really was. That’s when Snapseed came to my rescue.
I found it while browsing for a free editing app and I fell in love with it. The first few times I’ve tried it, I was altering the photos too much, making them look too fake, but it was just harmless fun. Then I took it more seriously and I found out the best way to edit my photos while keeping them real.
By the way, if you want some tips on how to take amazing travel photos with your phone, feel free to check out my other post here.
Now, back to the editing business!
1. Open Snapseed
Step one: open the app. Click on “open” to go to your gallery and pick a photo to edit. If you want to make it “Instagram size”, select crop and then square.
2. Modify the Image
It’s time for the most important step, the real editing. Select “tune Image” and then play with your photo. I’ll be telling you what I usually do, but remember that there’s no fixed rule for this step, it all depends on your photo and the effect that you want to achieve. First off, I adjust brightness, and I usually set it at +20. After that, I edit contrast, also setting it at +20. Then it’s time to adjust the most important value of all: saturation. This one is capable of bringing back the colors that you see in real life. I usually go for +50. You could also edit the image by using the selective option, changing a specific part of the photo. I usually use that feature while editing water or skies.
Now, there are two optional steps that I don’t always use, but I thought I’d mentioned anyway.
HDR is great for nature photography. I use it especially when I have to edit a fully natural landscape such as a forest. However, remember not to overdo it or the photo will look fake.
4. Fix Details
Go to the option details and lightly adjust structure and sharpening. I usually do +10 for both but it really depends on the photo and how you’ve edited it so far. Some pics don’t even need this step, like this one I’m using.
5. Save a Copy!
Last but not least, save you photo! There are 3 ways of doing that. The first option is “save”. With this feature, you’ll replace your old photo with the edited one. I don’t recommend you to do so, because you might want to keep your vanilla photo for other purposes. The second option is to “save a copy”: this will create another copy. However, it’s a format that doesn’t work on my computer, so I warn you in advance. The third option, which is the one that I usually pick is “export”, and it creates a copy in jpg.