Something I get asked a lot over on social media is “how do you edit your photos?”. This probably has something to do with the fact I occasionally post the odd before & after editing shot on my Instagram stories. I even have a highlight dedicated to my favourite ones! The truth is, I don’t have any fancy equipment. Everything I use to edit my pictures is 100% free (not including the price of my phone).
Not only am I going to walk through the apps I use everyday to create visual content, but I’ll also give a step-by-step of my photo editing process.
VSCO Cam // Everyone and their dog knows about this app by now, surely? It can be intimidating at first, but there are lots of set “themes” people have created using VSCO presets that can be found on Pinterest. There are thousands to browse through and can really help get you acquainted with the app. The app itself is free, but there are in-app purchase options.
Facetune2 // This app is an absolute god-send when it comes to whitening backgrounds and adjusting the tone of specific image elements. I use this app in almost every photo to adjust those small imperfections and create a cohesive end result. Facetune2 is the free version of the original Facetune app, which is on the App store for £3.99. I don’t recommend purchasing it unless you know there are certain paid-for features you want to use for your images.
Canva // If you want to create a stunning infographic or poster, then Canva is the app you’re looking for. I use this to create a post promotion for my Instagram stories and Twitter feed every time I publish a blog post (I’ll pop an example below). It’s super easy to use if you’re a total beginner (like me!) and they also provide template options that are fully customisable.
Instasize // With the Instagram theme I’m currently maintaining, I use Instasize to create an equal border around all my images before uploading. What I like about Instasize is that you can set the border width to a certain number, ensuring that the borders on all your images remain equal and cohesive.
My initial go-to is VSCO where I apply filters and adjust the brightness, contrast, and sharpness. Although you can copy and paste edits onto multiple photos in VSCO, I will adjust the exposure individually.
HB1 Hypebeast filter // +8.0
Contrast // +1.0
Tone: highlights // +6.0
White balance: temperature // -1.0
Saturation // -1.5
Skin tone // +1.0
Sharpen // +6.0
Grain // +1.0
After VSCO I go straight into the Facetune2 app and use the whitening tool to make the white areas of my photo really stand out. I usually adjust the intensity of the whitening tool to 50 as a baseline, but will increase/decrease that based on what I feel the photo needs. On the photo examples in this post I increased the whitening tool to 70.
The last step in my editing process is to do an equal border using the Instasize app. I set my border width to 3 for every photo so there’s a thin border lining all my photos (on Instagram). This isn’t a step I use in my blog photos as I leave those uncropped.
My phone is an iPhone 7+ and sometimes I will play around using portrait mode on the camera, although not often as it deteriorates the quality of the picture (in my experience).
It’s nothing fancy, but that’s it! A lot of photo editing is trial and error, and it depends on what you’re trying to achieve. If I was going for a more subdued effect, I probably wouldn’t use the whitening tool and would stick to warmer-toned VSCO filters. It’s up to you to explore and play around with the different apps available to achieve the aesthetic you want.
I'm Elen Mai, the brains behind Welsh Wanderer and 20-something human biology student from (you guessed it) Wales! Welsh Wanderer is designed with the eco-conscious adventurer in mind. So stick around for tips & tricks on living sustainably.