How I Edit My Instagram Photos

This has probably been THE most requested post by everyone that I have ever met or chatted to via socials – how I edit my Instagram photos. I shared with you my favourite phone editing apps in my Colours of Vietnam post so now I’m here to share with you step-by-step on how I actually edit my photos.


How I Edit My Instagram Photos

First things first, I take a lot of photos using my iPhone 7 Plus and the remainder is a mixture of cameras including my Sony A7R MKII and Sony RX100V (more on that in another post on my entire camera kit). I no longer edit any of my photos on my computer and prefer to do this exclusively on my phone for some weird reason. I’ve gotten to know the apps I use really well and Photoshop tends to drive me nuts so I’ve stuck to what I know and feel comfortable with.


So I’ve chosen to show you how I have edited one of my recent pictures at Bondi Icebergs. If there is one tip that I can give you about what photos perform well on Instagram in general is that blue is best. Have you noticed yourself double tapping a barrage of images from the Maldives, Philippines or maybe Fiji or Mexico?! What do these places have in common? Dreamy blue waters.


I digress – I’ve chosen this particular image because it’s been taken on my iPhone and I want to make the point that you don’t have to have a professional grade camera for good quality photos. Now let’s get this party started – am I the only one that gets excited about editing photos?!


How I Edit My Instagram Photos

Step 1 Using Color Story to Set the Tone of Image How I Edit My Instagram Photos, @helenchikx


As you can tell from the original image that whilst it was incredibly sunny and bright – there are a lot of odd shadows on the right side of my body.


  • I’ve chosen to use a filter from the picnic pack called sugar but I’ve only applied the filter at half strength because having it on 100% made me look overly orange.
  • You’ll see in the original image that there are unwanted legs in the top left corner of my image so I’ve decided to crop this into a square format to get rid of the phantom legs.


Tip: If you want to keep the image in its original form and want to get rid of the legs then I suggest you use the object removal function that I am going to use in the next step to remove my scars and pimples.


Step 2 – Using Touch/Retouch to Remove Scars, Pimples & Unwanted Objects

Sometimes quality cameras can be our enemy; especially if you have scarring like me that no amount of concealer will cover up. If you’re a little insecure about these blemishes then you can easily remove them with this app.

How I Edit My Instagram Photos, @helenchikx


  • Use the object removal tool and you will be able to use your finger to brush over the scars that you want to remove.
  • If I had kept the original shot without cropping then I would have been able to also remove the phantom legs in this step too!
  • Once you’ve brushed over the objects you want to remove then hit GO and voila!

Step 3 – Using Snapseed to Colour Correct Image

This is where the magic really happens as there are just so many things you can do on Snapseed to fix your image.

How I Edit My Instagram Photos, @helenchikx


  • The first step is always to use the Tune Image tool and the main elements I play with first is ambiance, brightness, contrast and highlight. I try not to touch the saturation because I find it tends to make you look more orange than you need to because it adjusts this for the entire
  • The second is to use the Details tool to bring out the elements of your image and increase the sharpness of it.
  • The Brush tool is incredibly useful when you only want to brighten up certain parts of your image whilst leaving others untouched. In this case I want to brighten the right side of my body, as it is more shaded so I use the brush tool and set the exposure to +0.3. This is only an incremental change and you can continue to build this as required. The next incremental increase of +0.7 is generally too much so I prefer to build on the +0.3 instead.
  • I also use the Brush tool to enhance the saturation of the colours of the water as well as my swimsuit. This is handy when you don’t want to over saturate your skin to look like an Oompa Loompa.
  • After all this you may still want to fidget with the Tune Image tool to get the finishing touches to the image right.

Step 4 – Using Facetune to Smooth/Add Detail to Elements of the Image

As I mentioned in my Colours of Vietnam post – this app isn’t just for creating the chiseled jawline or giving yourself a virtual nose job. It also serves as a way to add or remove detail to an image.

How I Edit My Instagram Photos, @helenchikx


  • Give your skin a little airbrushing magic by running the brush roughly over your skin and I find that the first level smooth is sufficient and smoother will make you look plastic.
  • Bring the detail back into your image including your face and whatever else you want to stand out by using the detail
  • Finally you can whiten any part of your image that contains white and in this case I’ve applied this tool to the top left corner of the image, the stripes in my swimsuit and my teeth (who doesn’t love Hollywood pearly whites?!).


Bondi Icebergs, Bondi BeachThere you have the final product ready to be imported into Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or whatever your little heart desires. Pretty simple right?


Tell me if you would edit this differently because I love to hear about different editing styles!





Helen Chik is a Sydney based fashion, beauty, travel and lifestyle digital content creator and influencer sharing everything from unique style to her adventures around the world through her rainbow tinted lenses.

  • christine

    Thanks for sharing this post! You do such an amazing job of editing your photos and I love all the vibrant colors in your posts. I haven’t heard of Color Story before so I must check it out. I also use Snapseed to darken my photos a little since I like a moodier vibe. =). I’m going to play around with Color Story now! xoxo, Christine

    • Thanks Christine! I love the way you edit all your photos too – your photography is amazing!! xxx

  • Hey Darling,
    How are you?
    Perfect Guide how to Edit IG photos:)
    I Do very Similar way but Use other apps or sometimes just Lightroom:)
    Ohh your Swimsuit is sooo cute and you Look Beautiful with your Bump:)
    Can’t wait to see your 👶 Baby:)
    Blue Fits you sooo well:)
    Happy Holidays:)
    Love, Kisses Karina

  • Aseky Bonnaire

    This is so helpful!! Your photo looks amazing, as do you!

  • Great tips and tricks. Thanks for sharing your app for editing photos on an iPhone.

  • Amazing tips! I love your Instagram feed

    xo | Cindy Elena

  • Steph K

    These are all great apps! I use the same ones! 🙂

    xo, Steph

  • Christine Foster

    These are awesome tips! I downloaded Color Story! I’ve searching for filters that suit my style best!!

  • Jessie Li (4evajessie)

    Love this hands-on guidelines of how to edit instagram photos!! I should totally forward this to my other Instagram friends or when people ask me how to edit photos on IG, I should just forward them this post (cause i’m too lazy to write my own and yours is too good!!)

    xx Jessie

  • Nawal Aharrass

    You put a lot of efforts into your photos! I wish I could do that one day, now I just couldn’t care less. Kudos to you

  • Your Instagram is always on point, I even wanted to ask you how do you edit your pics. And now you came up with this fantastic post! Thank you so much for sharing those pieces of advice, I need to try some of them!

    Cheers, Eliza |

  • Amanda N Dustin Smith

    I honestly would have NEVER guessed that you do your editing on your phone because they all look so perfect! I spend hours on lightroom and I think that really hinders me sometimes because it allows me to change to much and get so indecisive until I completely change the theme of my feed! lol I use all of the apps or have at one point in time! I really am wanting to move away from some of the overly edited images and move to more natural so this was a perfectly timed post for me! Thanks for the great tips! Also, how cute is that suit and your bump which I almost didn’t notice!

    Manda |

    • Lady your images are goals!! I wish I had the same skills as you when it comes to photography because they belong in magazines!! xx

  • You make it sound so easy! I have a hard time looking at tiny pics on my phone so I have to do all my editing on desktop. I was just thinking about upping my editing game and you have totally inspired me! Thanks for the guide – so helpful!

  • Marcy Yu

    I absolutely love your instagram pics!! They are all very colourful and vibrant. I always wondered how did u edit your pics!! Like which program u use so is very surprising to know is edit by the phone.
    Thanks for sharing your secrets. It’s very interesting also to learn how you do it. Many influencer out there wouldn’t want to share their secrets but I’m happy you are not like that.


  • serena

    Love these tips. I haven’t heard of color story app. Going to have to check this out. Thanks for making this look so easy.

  • Candace

    You may have just saved me a lot of time and money with this post, so thank you! I used to take photos on my iPhone and either exported them to my Mac, or sent them to a photographer to edit professionally. You made this tutorial seem so simple to do on my own. I need to get Facetune asap!

  • Wow, you really went all in and gave some amazing detail – I really can’t wait to try these tips, especially as I am getting more into the selfies lately and my Note8 is a bit too precise LOL!

  • I totally edit my have most of the apps you use except for Color story, I use VSCO for color selections. I need to use Facetune more because that whitening tool looks great as a highlighter!! Thanks for the tips Helen!

    xo Sheree

  • In and Out of Vegas

    This is what I seem to spend the most time on—editing photos! Thanks for the tips.I think I’m getting better though. I do agree that it is far more efficient to do so using apps rather than on your computer!

  • jossy

    Thanks for sharing this , i have no idea of the apps you listed till you mentioned it, i am damn right getting it. you are the best..xoxox

  • Joslyn Dsouza

    Oh wow nice steps on how you edit your Instagram stories… i never knew about this before … thanks for the lovely information!!

  • Nataly Kimball

    Thank you so much for sharing! I love color story…that is what I use to edit my photos too!

  • I love that you do all of your editing with your phone! It is so great that you can do so much to the pictures and even do it on the go!

  • Lisa Rios

    These are great tips. I have always admired your Insta photos. They are beautiful and really aesthetic. Great job!

  • Vasundhra Singh

    I have saved this post for future! Your Instagram account is so perfect and all the pictures look so natural, I never thought that they were edited. Thanks for sharing your tips!

  • Luci Cook

    I so have to checkout these apps to help my edit my photos on my phone. Thank you for sharing.


    My editing is similar as your, love Facetune and Snapseed.Im interesting about Color story to remove objects 🙂
    Very interesting post, big like !
    Wish you a Happy New Year!

    • Hey love its touch/retouch that removes objects 😉 Color Story is good for filters xx

  • Doreen Pinto

    So much goes into posting a photo! wow I am still learning how to edit my pics with basic filters and editing tools. Thanks for sharing xox Doreen (

  • jacqueline

    Wow this is so amazing. Love the step by step tutorial. I feel like so many new bloggers can use this. I know I’m bookmarking this and looking back to see if i can use any best practices you’ve recommended. Thanks for sharing

  • Meghna Dixit

    I loved all the tips and snapped, facetune are my favorite edit apps

  • Ariel Huffaker

    These are great tips for editing photos! I only lighten my photos and put a little more color in them. Thank you for the great tips!

  • Massiel Feliz Rivas

    Thank you so much for sharing, we use similar apps to edit our photos.

    I don’t understand why some bloggers are so secretive about how they edit their photos, specially when we all use the same, so thanks again! Sharing is caring 🙂

    Happy 2018!



  • Thanks so much for all these tips! I love posts lie these!

    xo Rachel – To Hell in a Handbag

  • very good info.. about how to edit instagram pictures, though i dont use insta, i can suggest to my friends and make sure they get helpful from your suggestion.