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How I edit my photos for Instagram

  • October 16, 2017
  • By MaggieLovesOrbit
How I edit my photos for Instagram

Everyone has a personal style.  I happen to like photos that are bright, vibrant and colorful.  Admittedly I brighten photos more than I normally would … because brighter photos tends to do better in Instagram.  If this photo were to be printed I’d tone down the highlights and decrease the exposure.  That said – I wanted to show what my process is for editing.  I’ve now gotten it down to 10 to 15 minutes per photo:

  1. Import photos into Lightroom, delete photos I don’t like.
  2. From lightroom, edit in Photoshop and
    1. Duplicate photo/layer
    2. Filter –> Camera Raw Filter to brighten photo, decrease highlights.  In this photo example I also went back to decrease the exposure of the sky and increase contrast.
    3. Bring photo back into Photoshop and duplicate layer.  I then added a Filter / Gaussian Blur and blended with Soft light at level 4.5 ish.  Adjusted Opacity to where I liked it around 50%
    4. Added another duplicate layer and then Filter / Hard Pass at 2.5 ish.  Steps 3 and 4 are from Peter McKinnon you can find his tutorials on YouTube.
    5. I added a curves layer and used the Auto adjust feature.  And then adjusted opacity down to approx 50%
    6. Last steps is adding a Color Look up layer and adding the 3DLut file (used a standard one “3Strip Look” and blended with Luminosity.  I set Opacity down to 50%.
  3. Flatten the image.  Saved it back to Light Room.
  4. In Lightroom I brushed down some areas that were too hot using the Highlight brush.
  5. Added in 100+ hashtags in the Metadata and saved with the account name and descriptive title.  In this case MaggieLovesOrbit at Del Mar Dog Beach during Low Tide.

I’m sharing the before image below so you can see the way it looked straight out of camera.  Maybe one day I’ll be better at editing in the phone apps but for now I love editing in Photoshop and Lightroom.

If you found this article useful you might also want to read:

How I edit my photos for Instagram


Do I use Presets?

Yes I do.  I’ve been using them more lately and so I wanted to list them below.

Keep in mind … presets will work differently on your photos because we shoot in different lighting conditions. Also presets will look different on different colored dogs.

My favorites today are:

  1.  Mastin Labs:  I use these in Lightroom and they get the photo to the tones I like.  I love the Fuji sets and Portra.
  2. Greater than Gatsby:  About 90% of my photos are brought into Photoshop.  There are a few tools I use almost all the time to brighten their photos and do some slight color correction.  I don’t go for overly toned photos because I want to look at my photos 20 years from now and still enjoy the editing style.
  3. Dawn Charles Education:  I absolutely adore this set as well.  It doesn’t work great on my black and white dogs but I use it on gold and cream dogs that we meet and it just enhances them so well.
By MaggieLovesOrbit, October 16, 2017
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