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how to edit your Instagram photos like a boss


Photo editing can make the biggest difference to an Instagram theme.  You can turn a totally ugly photo with bad lighting into a beautiful shining gem with a few taps on your mobile device.  As a proud and successful #Bookstagrammer, I can say that my photo editing skills are on par.  I get loads of questions on how I specifically edit my photos, what apps I use, etc. by you guys.  I’ve also written an entire post on starting a Bookstagram account , but my editing style has changed since then, so I’ve decided write a continuation of that post, which I shall now present to you: how to edit your Instagram photos like a boss in 5 easy steps!

*disclaimer: if you’re a proud photo nudist and believe in not editing your photos, well…this post ain’t for you.*

the before photo (let’s glam this up!)

step #1: what’s your style?

I believe in keeping a theme.  It makes your photos much more aesthetically pleasing and connected.  It’s okay if you want to change up your style every once in a while, but it’s important to know what your style is.  Do you like warm-toned pictures, or cool-toned?  Are you a clean, bright minimalist or a dark, candle-lit person?  This will help you with the further steps if you know what you want.

step #2: filters are your best friend.


Filters are presets of modified settings so you don’t have to do a lot of editing yourself.  There’s an enormous array of filters you can choose from.  My favorite editing app has to be VSCO.  VSCO is free free on the App Store,  and it’s easy to navigate, has the bomb-dot-com filters, and also doubles as a social media.  It’s my holy grail and typical go-to for my Instagram photos.  If you have an Apple device, the photo-editing for their tech has basic editing features, too.  That’s what I used to use before switching over to VSCO.  Some people even use multiple apps just to edit one photo, since different apps can offer different features.  Personally, I like to keep my editing simple, but you’re welcome to experiment and try out anything you’d like!  For my Bookstagram, my favorite filter is HB-1, which brightens my photos and gives it a cooler tone.

Choosing a filter or a family of filters to use on your photos will guarantee it’ll match and be consistent with your theme.  However, not every photo will work with that filter.  Some filters do better with certain skin tones, for an instance.  It’s a good idea to tap through all the filters so you can see what each one looks like and find the one that suits the picture best.  If you’re set on making that one filter it work, you have to dive into a couple of other features to enhance the picture.

Here’s a few other apps that are well-known for photo-editing and collages:


step #3: adjusting color, light, and texture.

Sometimes, a filter isn’t enough to get your photo looking in tip-top shape.  You can get your photo looking to your desires by messing around with the color, light, and texture.  On VSCO, it’s easy to adjust all these things.  Color is…well, how much color you have in your photo!  Saturation is the easiest way to lessen or add color to your photos.  Light can dim your photo for a cozier effect or brighten it up.  Texture can add grain to your photos, or sharpen the blurry spots to make it crystal clear.  For my aesthetic right now, I turn up the brightness and contrast one notch, and add a bit of saturation to give the photo a bit of life.

Messing around with the settings can help you find what you like!  Just make sure to not go overboard; in my opinion, you should keep it simple and as natural as you can.

step #4: cropping, rotating, and adjusting horizontal and vertical views.

Have too much white space, or accidentally took a photo of your hand or foot (you have no idea how many times that has happened to me lol)?  Was your phone leaning the wrong way when you snapped that picture?  Your flat-lay is a bit tilted to the left?  Fear not, for the advancements of photo editing are here!  Crop, rotate, and change the horizontal/vertical views as needed.  My photo didn’t have any problems, so I was good to go.

step #5: check your photo and see if you’re satisfied with it.  then post it!

Stand back and admire your work!  Do you like it?  Does it speak to you?  If any minor adjustments need to be made, now is the time to do it!  I though my photo was too dark for my taste, so I fiddled with the brightness a bit more.

Here’s the final product!

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Photo editing is about bringing the best out of your captured moments.  Experimenting with all of these elements will help you find your style.  I hope that this mini-guide helped you, and that you’ll love your Instagram page a little bit more afterwards.  Comment below some of your favorite Bookstagrammers; I’d love to check them out! ❤  Until then, happy editing!


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11 thoughts on “how to edit your Instagram photos like a boss

  1. (its the girl who was inspired by your bookstagram and who was REALLLLLLLLY looking forward to this post here) omgggggggg linh this is the best thing ever. wait— your photos (and hamilton and books and family) are but thiS CERTAINLY IS A VERY VERY AMAZING THING. i was looking for a fiklter for my new theme (that you inspired) and hB1 NEVER CROSSED MY MIND. im gonna go edit all my new ones with hb1 now byeeee

    Liked by 1 person

    1. AH YAY!!! I’VE CONVERTED ANOTHER UNTO THE BEAUTIES OF VSCO AND HB1!!! Thank you for reading my post, and good luck with your new theme! I’ll keep an eye out for it. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I absolutely LOVE VSCO, and this was super helpful! i have to say, VSCO is still incredibly confusing with its features as a social media platform – but its filters are the best! Lovely post, and it’s so cool seeing your process for making a photo FABULOUS!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I always love reading your comments, Helen! And I agree; I rarely ever use VSCO as a social media, but everything else is lovely. I’m so glad you liked the post! 🙂


  3. Great post, i need VSCO in my life. I always to stick to a theme but I end up just posting random stuff up on my bookstagram, I wish I was so much better at taking pictures and editing them. I might delete my instagram and start again so i can be more consistent throughout.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. first of all, thank you; I hope this post will help you with photo-editing! second, I know how you feel; sometimes, I want to post something unrelated like a funny meme or a photo that has a different vibe from the rest of my theme. I change themes alllll the time (seriously I change it every other month 😂) since I either get tired of it or I find a new one. I suggest that you try a theme one more time, but if it doesn’t work out, it’s okay! Not all bookstagrams have themes. just make sure you love what you post!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m attempting to go for a white background like approach lately which i’m really liking so i’m going to attempt to keep to that theme. I wish I was so much better at taking photos or was a really artsy person!

        Liked by 1 person

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