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.