One of the most frequently asked questions on our social media accounts is “What app do you use to edit your photos???” Well, for all of you, today is your lucky day! I wanted to give you the opportunity to learn my tips and tricks on how to make iphone images look like professional DSLR snaps. You might be shocked to hear that I don’t edit every one picture the same as the next. I hop between app’s and strategize on how I want the picture to feel depending on which service is being offered. My three top picks are VSCO cam, Afterlight and Snapseed. I’m going to walk you through each one with a sample image, and how I personally would edit it! Remember this is all relative, and a lot of people will edit their photos differently but in this blogpost you will learn the basics of how to get started..so keep an open mind:)
In my opinion, VSCO Cam has revolutionized Photo editing for your phone. Sure Instagram was the first who had “filters” but none were as subtle, and realistic as VSCO had to offer. So my first vote goes to this guy. Let’s start editing.
First things first, open the app and upload a non edited image from your photos into the VSCO library. Tap and hold your thumb down on the image to begin editing it. immediately you should be greeted with an array of filters. I own every single one and have bought all the packages in the store because I’m greedy as hell but the starter set should be just fine for you. Go ahead and browse through the filters to find which one works best for you. I personally LOVE the A series, the 0 series, the G series and the M series. Darker, nostalgic filters are just more me. You can download all of these in the store on the app…some for free, some for a small price.
Now that you have all your filters, you get to choose which one is best for you! For this particular shot I went with A6 because it brings out the clean whites, and contrasting shadows.
I favor a little less gray film and a little more drama so I like to significantly turn up the contrast. After those few simple steps, I would consider this image done! VSCO is great for the people who don’t like to over edit. The level-bar tools keep the image looking, for the most part, very realistic, and clean. You’re in full control of subtly.
Afterlight get’s the silver medal because before VSCO became my religion, I was very content with this app. It’s still unique in it’s own way and offers a lot of tasteful effects that other competitors do not. Even though I persuade friend after friend to try VSCO, there are still a handful who stick with Afterlight and I know why. let’s go over an edit, shall we?
When you open the app you’re greeting with a very simple, two button home page. You can either snap something in the moment or upload from your existing iphone library. Here I’ve uploaded one of my favorite shots (unedited) from my UTAH trip this past weekend.
By clicking on the small rainbow icon on the bottom you are given the option to browse filters. There should be an ‘Original’ category as well as ‘Guest’, ‘Season’ and ‘Fusion’. Start browsing all of those and see which one works for your image. Afterlight’s filters are a little more colorful and filmy then VSCO, but I do have a few favorites. ‘Russ’ and ‘Idaho’ under ‘Guest’ category have me intrigued every time. For this particular image I went with ‘Idaho’.
Now for the final step and best part. For all of you whimsical folk who like light bursts or lens flares then Afterlight is going to be your go-to. The small symbol that looks like a film strip at the bottom will take you to a variety of ‘light leaks’ where you can add creative distortion to your photo. It allows you to choose the opacity as well as 7 different vibrant colors! Even though I’m a ‘less is more’ kind of guy, I do like to add one every now and then. For this picture I’ve added a turquoise leak near the top of the mountains to balance with the water. After this step I would consider this photo finished but you can continue to add more if you like. Check out @Jaglever on instagram if you like this concept. She’s an avid user of this app and does it justice on her photos.
Last but certainly not least, Snapseed. To be completely honest, I really only use one feature on this app but it’s so great that it had to be included on this list.
Snapseed has all the basics just like any other photo editing apps but contains one very crucial tool that no other has matched, and that is ‘Selective Adjust’. In a nut shell, this feature allows you to pin point a certain color in the photo and allow you to turn up the saturation, contrast or brightness ON JUST THAT COLOR. isn’t that amazing? So if you took a picture of a fire truck speeding down the highway and you wanted to make the red of the truck much more vivid then any other part of the picture, you can selective adjust. see below for how I executed it in a breakfast picture.
Go ahead and press ‘Selective Adjust’ on the bottom left hand corner. A small + symbol as well as an eye will pop up along the bottom. Press the + symbol and then pinpoint with your finger the color in the picture you’d like to enhance. In my example to the right you’ll see that I selected the yellow of the hollandaise sauce on my eggs benedict. you can tell that I’ve selected yellow because the inner ring on the magnifier shows you the color. Now lift your finger up and move it to the side. by using a scrolling motion up and down, you can select either ‘B’ for brightness, ‘C’ for contrast or ‘S’ for saturation. Go ahead and pick which one you’d like to enhance or diminish then move your finger left or right to execute. I know it’s a little complicated but I promise you’ll get the hang of it and your photos will be as vibrant as ever!!!
After you’ve enhanced all the colors you heart desires I like to just go under ‘tune image’ and bump up the saturation to really let the image sing. This app is the most ideal for bright, colorful and commercial images. My favorite user who practices over saturation would be @tuulavintage. check her out!
There you have it! My top 3 favorite editing apps I use for my instagram photos that make me an ‘editing BOSS’. Even though all three carry the basic tools, each one is unique in it’s own way and will benefit your iphonography career. Wether you favor moody on VSCO, filmy on Afterlight or Vibrant on Snapseed, there’s an app fit for everyones personality and vision. I hope you enjoyed this Tutorial! If you’d like us to post more similar articles then please write so below. We love to hear your comments and recommendations.
thanks for reading and happy editing!