How I Edit My Instagram Photos + Keep a Consistent Theme


So, I take photography a bit serious... *flashback to me stressing over which filter I should use* Just a tad. 

I never considered myself a photographer or thought about getting serious about it but I have always had an undying love for taking pictures and getting creative with them. I remember being 14, walking around with my camera and being slightly embarrassed whenever I wanted to take a photo in public (for aeSTHETIC PURPOSES). Thank goodness it's a norm in our society today to basicALLY TAKE A PICTURE OF EVERYTHING, EVEN YOUR FOOD (which is something I rarely do but we've all done it- don't deny it).

I think that is one of the reasons why I love instagram as a social media platform; it allows me to get creative and have fun with my photos in the way want to be. (If that makes any sense.)

So, I thought I'd talk a little bit about how I edit my photos, what I use, and how I freak out when I CAN'T MAKE UP MY MIND.

HOW I EDIT MY INSTAGRAM PHOTOS AND KEEP A THEME THAT IS (somewhat) CONSISTENT


Quick disclaimer: I'm not an expert whatsoever. I don't think I'm the greatest instagrammer to ever instagram the instagram. I just put a lot of thought into this so I thought I'd share my insight a bit...?


MY MAIN ACCOUNT



For almost two years, I would ONLY use the same filter for my photos. And it worked for a little while... It allowed me to know what I was going to do before posting and it helped me from trying to choose the right filter.

I was wrong.

I slowly realized using that method put me inside a box that blocked my creative abilities. I hate being put inside a box. As a creative, you want to roam free and do as you please. Right??? 

It's all about e x p r e s s i n g yourself. 

So I stopped using that method. I didn't want to stress about something not matching with my theme... IF YOU'RE STRESSING LIKE THAT, YOU NEED TO STOP DOING WHAT YOU ARE DOING. I know it's easier than it sounds, but you shouldn't stress over your creative outlet. YOU do what YOU want to do and HOW you want to do it. 

My theme

My themes change pretty much every season, just like my moods. In the summer, I love taking bright and colorful photos, while in the fall I focus on my grunge and moody side (bookstore and doc martens aesthetic anyone??). For winter, it kind of turns to a cozy and whimsical aesthetic with some grunge beCAUSE I HAVE A DARK SIDE. THERE'S NO DENYING IT.


Not gonna lie, I'm kind of in love with my current (summer) theme... hehe. I like that it feels a little magical. ✨

But before we get into filters and other photo editing goodness... Do you notice something else about my theme?

I have a certain arrangement I put my photos in.

A while back I started doing a bit of research. I felt unhappy with my instagram "look" so I decided to change it up a bit. I actually used Abbie and Olivia's feeds as inspiration. I noticed that Abbie posted her photos so that they all sort of coordinated with each other. For example, she never had two blue-themed photos posted next to each other. She has a certain balance between her colors that makes it all flow together... I know that makes zero sense but I'll explain in a second.   
As for Olivia, I really like how she edited her photos. I loved the nostalgic and coziness of them.

I desperately wanted to just stick to a "white" theme but I take so many different photos all the time and I want to be able to share them all... That was when I started posting a white themed photo in between my color themed photos.

The best way I can explain this is to show you. Notice how I never post two white photos next to each other? I made the mistake of doing it before and it really throws off your eyesight. It goes something like this:

white
color
white
color
white 



Here are all my photos that have white backgrounds.


And here are all the colored ones.

I have a white comforter so I take a lot of book-themed photos on it, and since I have an undying love for the color yellow, I started posting more photos with yellow vibes. But with my rule, it allows me to post anything I want without anything looking "off". I didn't have to restrict myself to only having a white background or background that was taken only outdoors. I could do both.

However, having a color combination really helps attract the eye. I wouldn't get too caught up in taking photos that "ONLY have the color yellow in them" but I do encourage you to take more photos of your favorite color combo if you really want to have a theme.

What I use (i.e. photo editing apps)


I have a camera but it's not the best so I mainly just use my iPhone 6s to take photos (even though it keeps yelling at me about my full storage -.-).


I use two apps for editing ALL my photos:
VSCO
Afterlight

I mainly use VSCO because, well, it saVED MY LIFE. It has so many filters and free ones to download... I could spend all day editing photos in that app. 

There are three filters I will never be able to step away from and those are:
A6
HB2
C1

How I edit 

The first thing I do is slap that filter on. From there, I might brighten the exposure a bit, depending on the photo. I hate photos with a lot of shadows so sometimes I will go and edit the highlight/shadows in the photo.

I use A6 for all my white-themed photos because it is the filter that is the most natural. It just enhances the colors in the real image which is great for photos that have an all-white background. But since I like to maintain that yellow sort of theme, I might add a bit of warmth to the photo for a golden effect. Let's go over the process, shall we?

Original photo


Photo after adding A6


Photo with more exposure 


Photo after getting rid of those nasty shadows and adding some warmth



Once that is finished, I add some "fade" to the photo. I never, ever, everrrrrr leave a photo without adding fade. IT JUST MAKES EVERYTHING BETTER.


Using the same amount of fade for each photo really helps balance out the feed and it makes all the photos go together, even if you aren't using the same filter.

Ta-Da!



peep the simon and baz fan art on my pinboard (it came with an etsy order and i died)

And on the rarest of occasions, I might add some grain. I don't like too much, just a little to make the photo look more realistic and less "flat", if that makes sense...

For my colored photos, I recently started using C1 as my filter of choice. 

It really enhances all the bright colors in the photos. And if you have a yellow theme, like me, it really enhances the color and makes it more focused. It does have a more pinky effect, especially on photos with white backgrounds, but I just add some warmth to even it out so it focuses more on the yeLLOW.

However, if the lighting is too dark, using this filter will make your skin look burnt orange. SEE??



I don't like that. So, it all depends on the photo. I'll usually brighten the exposure (maybe more on this than others) and add fade. I don't think I'd like using C1 as much without the fade??


There's a lot of saturation in this filter so I might go in and lower that a bit so there's not too much color pop.


I'll even go in and get rid of some shadows and add some warmth.



Once I'm done having my fun, I'll go into Afterlight and give the photo some character (aka dust).


Gahh, I love adding a little dust/crackle because 1. I'm obsessed with anything vintage, and 2. it just looks really cool, okay??

After I'm finished with that, I'll head on over to instagram and do some final touches (aka aDD MORE FADE). I'll only put the fade on 20 because I don't want to over to it, and sometimes I might just add a teeny tiny amount of warmth.

AND THEN I'M DONE. That wasn't too complicated, right? ;)


MY BLOG'S ACCOUNT



Now, on this account, I actually do have my all-white theme! Yayyyy! (/o-o)/ I strictly take all these photos on my camera (which is a Fujifilm Finepix- I think) but it takes sooo much time just getting out my camera, waiting for a day with good lighting, uploading the photos, sending them to my phone so I can edit them... 

And since I don't have the time to do all that plus I don't really like the end result, I'm going to stick to using my good ol' iPhone.

I'll still show you how I edit my photos for my current theme.




First, gotta add that exposure! This photo needs it especially because when I took it, my room was very dark.


A lil' dash of warmth. 



*shouts aggressively* FADDDDEEEEEEE!!!!!!!


The finished product:


If you made it to the end of this post, please give yourself a pat on the back and say 'POODLE DOODLE' in the comments because it's funny... so humor me.

There are all my secrets! Gah, I feel so exposed now. o-o Hehe, but I hope you enjoyed this post, nonetheless.

TALK TO ME!

What do you do before posting on instagram? DO YOU PUT AS MUCH THOUGHT INTO IT AS I DO? Or are you a totally reasonable and chill person and don't stress over these things like I do? lol because if so luCKY YOU. I actually don't stress over it as much as I used to and it's such a peace of mind... but I love that this is one of my creative outlets. <3 WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE FEEDS? Link them in the comments! I'd love to check 'em out! 

xx Kenzie

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32 happy thoughts

  1. GASPPPP. The white, color, white, color trick just blew my mind!! I'll be using that tip in the future! Have you tried Snapseed? I use that to edit some of my photos and love it because it has a tool called selective where you can adjust just the brightness in one area of the picture. It's neat. Wonderful post!

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    1. YESSS, LET ME KNOW HOT IT WORKS FOR YOU! I know you take quite a few photos with white backgrounds so it's nice to use if your photos tend to be of something (such as your super awesome smoothie pictures *drools*). And I've heard of it and I may have the app! But that sounds so amazing, oh my gosh I'm definitely going to try it out!

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting! <3 You are amazing.

      xx Kenzie

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  2. Wow, your feed is soooo aesthetic. I am so obsessed with photography, so thanks for teaching me! VSCO is a lifesaver, right? I use it to edit most of the photos I publish. Awesome post!

    ~vaishnavi

    WAIT! POODLE DOODLE!

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    1. POOOODLE DOOOOODLE

      Oh my gosh, thank you so much! You are too kind. <3 I'm honestly not an expert, I just spend a lot of time taking photos and messing with them. o.O YES, I could not live without VSCO. I actually don't use it as a social media platform. I just edit on there so my library is filled with a bunch of photos I haven't even used. o-o

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting!

      xx Kenzie

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  3. OMG YOU'VE GOT THE INSTA GAME DOWN. I've always loved your theme so much. <3

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    1. AHHHHHHHHHHHH ASDFGHJKL!!! WOW YOU JUST MADE MY DAY THANK YOU SO MUCH. BRB I NEED A MOMENT. <333

      Thank you for being so amazing and sweet and just asdfghjkl you. *hugs*

      xx Kenzie

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  4. OH MY GOSH THIS WAS THE MOST HELPFUL POST I HAVE EVER READ I'M SCREAMING.

    You are the QUEEN of instagram, and you totally just made it look so much less scary. It also makes me feel a lot better to know that your photos don't just naturally look perfect right when you take them???? WHICH I SHOULD KNOW BUT HELLO YES I'M AN INSECURE LITTLE BEAN. Seriously though, all of your editing tips were SO FREAKING HELPFUL, and I can't wait to play around with them. You've made me want to get back into photography/instagramming!!

    Also, I LIVE FOR THE A6 FILTER OMG. I use it on literally almost all of the photos on my personal insta. Obsessed.

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    1. I second all of this - especially because I am also an insecure little bean and seeing the before and after with the editing tips GIVES ME HOPE lol!!

      Delete
    2. OMG NOW I'M SCREAMING TOO BECAUSE I HAD NO IDEA IT WAS ACTUALLY GOING TO BE HELPFUL, I SERIOUSLY JUST RAMBLED MY HEAD OFF.

      GIRLY, YOU ARE MAKING ME CRY. STOP. I'm so happy I could help make it less scary for you. Honestly, it's all about what works best for you. You shouldn't have to stress over it. <3 AND DUDE, NONE OF MY PHOTOS ARE PERFECT SO THANK GOODNESS FOR EDITING TOOLS BECAUSE WHOO, MOST OF THOSE ARE A HOT MESS. And asdfghjkl you have no idea how happy it makes me to know that I have sparked some sort of inspiration for you. Wow. THANK YOU. <3

      OMG YES. The A6 filter is my go-to because it doesn't look like a filter was slapped on the photo. It's truly the best.

      Thank you so much for reading and being so sweet all the stinkin' time. I seriously can't even with you. <3

      xx Kenzie

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    3. @ Erin: YES. I actually agree with you. I love it when people show their before and after because... let's be real. There's a huge difference and it makes you feel so much better.

      Delete
  5. First off, Poodle Doodle. LOL! :-)

    Second, this post is the best! I LOVE your Instagram aesthetic and to see how it comes together behind the scenes is so fascinating. I love the faded-out, nostalgic kind of grainy photos and the A6 filter is the best. VSCO is such a helpful app. :) Loved this post! Thank you so much for sharing!! Instagram is something I used to stress out about so I'm glad I'm not the only one who has felt that way.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. HEHEHE

      GAHHHHH I'M CRYING. <333 THANK YOU SO MUCH ERIN! Like seriously, you have no idea how happy you just made me. :') I'm so thrilled that you enjoyed seeing my secrets spilled out in a blog post. ;) I actually had so much fun talking about my process. I get very passionate about things I'm passionate in. o.O And I'm glad to know I'm not the only one! You should never stress, my dear. Just do what makes YOU happy and content. <3

      Also; I LOVE HOW YOU EDIT *YOUR* PHOTOS. They match your personality so perfectly and they feel so hipster, like I've walked into a coffee shop that is also a record store.

      Thank you so much for reading, dear!

      xx Kenzie

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  6. pOoDlE dOoDLE!!!!!!!!!

    Thank you for this! So many good tips. My instagram has been blahhh lately and I can't wait to vamp it up!

    xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

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    1. ALL THE POODLES AND DOODLES! <3

      Thank you so much for reading, Sarah! I'm so happy you found this post helpful. I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE YOUR FEED (even though it is already 10000000/10).

      xx Kenzie

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  7. POODLE DOODLE. 😂

    THIS IS EVERYTHING I NEVER KNEW I NEEDED <33333 and asdfghjkl wow screaming the instagram queen mentioned my feed :'''') *hugs you and gives you waffles of gratitude* I LOVE HOW YOU SHOWED US YOUR EDITING PROCESS and honestly it's an art how much thought and creativity you put into this so YOU SHOULD BE PROUD OF YOURSELF!! so much talent wowza 💛✨

    I've been in kind of an instagram slump with the season change so this is just what I needed to give me some inspiration !!! FOLLOWING ALL YOUR TIPS AND FOREVER SWOONING OVER YOUR FEED 😍😍😍

    rock on,
    abbiee

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    1. Y'ALL THESE POODLE DOODLES ARE FEELING SO MUCH LOVE RIGHT NOW. <3

      *squeals over your hugs and waffles and perfection* OMG ABBIE!!!! GAHHH YOU ARE SERIOUSLY MAKING ME SMILE SO HARD RIGHT NOW. Thank you so much. Wow. If I wasn't crying before, I really am now. :')

      EEEEPPP I AM SO THRILLED I COULD INSPIRE YOU! Seriously though, your feed IS ART. It really is and I admire all your work so much. <3 Let me know if any of these tips work for you even though your insta game is oN POINT.

      You are amazing, my friend!

      xx Kenzie

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  8. Your feed is always amazing!!! I can never quite keep to a theme- gonna have to steal these tips! 💕

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    1. THANK YOU SO MUCH WOW. <333 It's okay! You do what works best for you! If you do try some of these tips out, let me know how it goes for you! I'd love to hear about it. <3

      xx Kenzie

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  9. Your feed is so pretty! And thank you for the tips!

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    1. AWWWWW THANK YOU SO MUCH!! <3 Thank YOU for reading and commenting and being amazing!

      xx Kenzie

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  10. Kenzie – I cannot tell you how much I love posts like these. I ADORE seeing other creative processes because it inspires me to get better at what I’m doing + it feels like I have an “inside-scoop” to the magic that happens behind the screen, ha ha.
    Anyway…I LOVE YOUR FEED a lot, so keep at what you’re doing, girl.

    cheers and hugs.
    k.

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    1. Keira, I can't tell you how much I love comments like these. <3 YOU ARE AMAZING. Yes, I could not agree more- I love seeing other creative processes as well because it makes me inspired PLUS makes me feel like I could do the thing too! Thank you so much for your kind words and being so wonderful. <3

      *hugs*

      xx Kenzie

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  11. Love this!!! I don't really have a theme just a filter and kind of overall feel for my photos. Your editing is so good I've always been obsessed with your insta!! Also POODLE DOODLE.

    Nabila | Hot Town Cool Girl

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    1. EEEEP THANK YOU SO MUCH, NABILA! <3 I love your insta theme as well! It totally fits the brand/vibe of your blog. :)

      Thank you so much for reading, girly!

      xx Kenzie

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  12. omy, i just stumbled across your blog and i love it! and this post is AMAZING. i love seeing the behind-the-scenes of creative processes and i must say this post satisfied me so much?? i'm also very motivated to try out these tips on my insta after having just revamped my blog :) wish me luck hehe

    ~natasha

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    1. oh. my. gosh. wow. okay, i need a moment. ...ASDFGHJKL, THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! <3 I'm so, so, sooo glad to know that I could do that for you, Natasha! I love seeing creative processes as well- they inspire me to do more with my craft. I'd love to check out your blog if I haven't already. :) Thank you so much for reading and commenting!

      xx Kenzie

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  13. Oh my GOSH! I would like to personally thank you for creating this post! I found it SO HELPFUL! I stress way too much about my social media and wanting it to be cohesive and have an aesthetic, I just don't feel like I have a strong aesthetic. I think part of my problem is that I focus a lot on my personal (and private) account because it's my favorite and actually looks good, then I just slap whatever photo I most recently took on my blog insta. Part of me struggles with posting a lot because I don't want it to be too much and annoy my followers. (is that a thing??) Plus I have a few people who I know in my personal life that follow both of my account and I'm too afraid to double post even if I love the photo and think it'll match both. I know that part of my problem is caring too much about what people think, but it's easier said than done to get rid of that mentality. Thank you so much for shedding some light on this topic and for sharing advice and ideas!

    Sarah Grace
    sarahgrapes.blogspot.com

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    1. oh jeez, I'm sorry that comment was SO LONG! haha

      Delete
    2. AHHH, I AM SERIOUSLY GOING TO CRY. <333 THANK YOU SO MUCH! I AM SO HAPPY YOU FOUND THIS HELPFUL!

      First off, please allow me to say that I GO THROUGH THE EXACT SAME THING. I definitely favor my personal/main account more than my blog's account. And I totally have the same mentality when it comes to posting. A lot of the time, I will forget to post. Other times I will want to post a certain photo just to complete my theme but I feel like if I post too soon, then the photo I recently posted won't get enough attention/appreciation? I KNOW THAT SOUNDS SO BAD. But I also don't want to post *too* much and annoy people. IT'S A CRUEL MINDSET WE HAVE PUT OURSELVES IN AND WE NEED TO CHANGE THAT. So, you're definitely not alone. <3

      You do whatever YOU enjoy doing. If you want to change your aesthetic, look for inspiration. If you like what you post already then KEEP IT. After all, it is your page and this is YOUR creativity. Nobody (even our minds) can take that away from you. <3

      Thank you so much for reading and sharing. I'm always here if you need/want to talk more about this! <3

      xx Kenzie

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    3. and shhh, I love long comments. <3333

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Thank you for taking the time to leave a message, it truly means a lot to me. I try my best to respond to each and every one of them, so come back and let's have a conversation.

xx Kenzie