18 In Instagram


Many people have asked me how I edit my pictures for Instagram. The truth? I edit Instagram photos using my iPhone. While I shoot my photos on a Nikon D3300, I’m way too poor to invest in an actual editing program. To be honest, I will be the first person to swear to you that you don’t need one! Nonetheless, I always edit my pictures before I post them. So, how exactly do I do it? Here are the main apps that allow me to edit defined, bright pictures without ever having to pay a dime.

1. Snapseed

I’m convinced that Snapseed is pure magic for those of us who are less tech-savvy than others. It’s easy to use and it makes your photos pop! One of my favorite things that this app offers is its “selective” feature. It actually allows you to edit Instagram photos by brightening, adding contrast, or adding saturation to a certain part of the photo. For example, let’s say you have pink lipstick on in your picture, but you want to make it brighter. You can easily use “selective” to highlight your lips!

Other parts of Snapseed that I love? Drama and HDR Scape. These filters are perfect for a photo that you want to make more defined. Here’s an example of one of my Instagram photos before I edited it using Snapseed:

before-7It’s okay, but not great right? So, let’s see what we get after brightening up the picture and using the Drama filter. We end up with this:

edit Instagram photos2. ColorStory

If you already follow me on Instagram (@leahshoup), you’ll know that my feed is all about bright colors. So, how do I make my colors stand out? The answer is easy: ColorStory. The app gives you one essentials “color pack” for free all well as a starter with flare, light leak, bokeh, and color fog. However, if you want to use more filters, you’ll have to purchase packs for $0.99 cents. In my experience, I find this to be extremely fair priced. In fact, I’ve only bought two packs: Chroma and Light Leaks. Here’s an example of one of my Instagram photos before I edited it using ColorStory’s Chroma filter:

edit Instagram photosIt’s pretty, but the colors just don’t pop as much as I’d want them to. So, let’s see what happens after using the Chroma filter:

edit Instagram photosI hope that I’ve shown you in this post that you don’t have to be a photography pro with an expensive editing program to create great photos! Are there any other apps that you would’ve included?

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You don't need a fancy editing program to create great Instagram photos. Here's a guide to editing stunning Instagram photos without spending a dime.


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  • Reply
    Angie (FeetDoTravel)
    October 12, 2016 at 10:33 am

    You are an absolute legend! This post is full of fantastic and extremely useful information, most of it I didn’t have a clue about! Thank you for taking the time to share this with us, I have pinned this for future reference! #wanderfulwednesday

  • Reply
    October 12, 2016 at 11:58 am

    I actually used to follow A Beautiful Mess blog (the creators of Color Story), but I’ve never downloaded their app. I may have to give it a go. The colors in my images never feel as vibrant/saturated as I’d like. Thanks for the tips! 🙂 #wanderfulWednesday

  • Reply
    Van @ Snow in Tromso
    October 12, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    I think you can get the Lightroom/Photoshop package on Amazon for $10 a month but to be honest, I only use Photoshop at work and Lightroom only for very dark pictures. Otherwise I always use Snapseed for my Instagram pics and absolutely love the app!!

  • Reply
    Ashley @ The Wandering Weekenders
    October 12, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    I still haven’t quite found the right tools for editing my pictures on my iPhone, but I haven’t tried Snapseed yet! I’m going to check it out!

  • Reply
    October 12, 2016 at 2:39 pm

    Maybe I’ll have to check Snapseed out. I don’t edit my photos much but I’d like to learn how. (I’m definitely not tech savvy.) #wanderfulwednesday

  • Reply
    Marcella ~ WhatAWonderfulWorld
    October 12, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    I’m really bad at editing my photos as I never seem to know what to adjust so posts like this are always helpful, thank you!! 🙂

  • Reply
    October 13, 2016 at 12:50 am

    Ohh! Great recommendations! I have to check these apps. I am always looking for ways to improve my photos. I am into bright colors too.

  • Reply
    October 13, 2016 at 7:05 am

    Yay, love this post! Always looking for some good Instagram pics! (I actually have a similar post on my to-do list as well haha) .. But my favorite app of the moment is “afterlight” on my phone. I used to use Snapseed and should deff give it a try again though! I believe Afterlight is only 99 cents on the APP store, but it’s so great! I love their clarify option! Also, going to have to gove colorstory a try! Sounds great 😀

  • Reply
    Courtney @ Adelante
    October 13, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    Your Instagram photos are always so beautiful! I’m happy to know your secrets now 😉 I was using Snapseed for years, but I just recently realized that I could download Lightroom to my phone since I already have it for my computer! I should definitely check out ColorStory too though!

  • Reply
    October 15, 2016 at 10:01 am

    I need to work on my photo editing skills so this post is really helpful. It is so nice to know that you can do all this on your phone – such a time saver!

  • Reply
    Melissa | Parenthood and Passports
    October 15, 2016 at 10:36 am

    Snapseed is my go-to for photo editing. I even have Photoshop on my computer, but Snapseed is so much easier. I’ll have to check out ColorStory.

  • Reply
    October 15, 2016 at 11:28 am

    I use snapseed to before but I went back to vsco now. May I know if you plan your photos to be upload? Your techniques and secrets on what to upload next and how to make it complement with the uploaded ones? 🙂

    • Reply
      Leah Shoup
      October 15, 2016 at 11:31 am

      I use an app called Planoly to be able to plan my photos and see what they look like in my gallery! This way I can see if everything looks like it fits and play around with moving the photos I want to upload!

  • Reply
    Jamie Italiane
    October 15, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    I use pic monkey on my computer to mess with my DSR pics. It is pretty easy to use and makes good pins.

  • Reply
    Emma Oxley
    October 15, 2016 at 6:49 pm

    Some great tips! Will have to give snapseed a try!

  • Reply
    October 15, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    I think Snapseed is the best kept secret!! Love. Love. Love it. I just wish there was still a desktop version!

  • Reply
    October 16, 2016 at 2:02 am

    Wow I am so thankful you shared this! I have been so frustrated with photo editing and photoshop is too hard I’m not techy! But the tedious part of Snapseed … I I have to load pics from laptop to phone ( can only send a few at a time) so then in order to load to my blog I’d have to send them back to laptop again… there’s gotta be an easier way :/ This was a great post!

  • Reply
    Lyn @ A Hole in my Shoe
    October 23, 2016 at 3:09 am

    I so need to get my act together with editing to improve my Instagram… off to download Snapseed, thank you.

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