How I Edit Photos For Instagram

Y’all! I am so happy to be sharing this little post with you today! This is not a sponsored post and it doesn’t have any affiliate links in it. This is all stuff that I have learned over the past four and a half years of using Instagram.

So long ago I fell into the first time instagram user trap of filters. I remember some of the pictures I used to post and now am like, “Oh, Leah…” But we all start somewhere, right, and back then I loved the way those photos looked and that’s all that really matters, amiright?


I have gone through lots of different ways of taking photos and lots of ways of editing photos throughout the years and something I need to make clear-my way is not the right way. I take and edit photos the way I do now for ME, not for Instagram, not for other people, not for likes…but for me.


For the longest time I thought I had to use my big camera and that was it and never eveeeeeer would I post a cell phone photo. No way, not me! I enjoyed taking photos and still do with my Nikon and have always loved editing as a stress reliever. I would lug my camera around everywhere we went trying to get that perfect shot then spend hours importing and editing and exporting all the photos back to my phone so I could upload them to the gram. It got to the point where taking photos really was a job and I found myself trying to stage everything to make it look pretty because I knew how much work was going to go into this after the fact so I wanted it to be perfect the fiords time.


You guys, that was tough! I know that part of my job as a blogger is photography but I also knew that to help my stress and anxiety that follows me around each day I needed to find a better way for me. I had purchased lots of presets for mobile devices in the past and never really liked any of them when I would try them out of my cell phone photos. I finally told myself that enough was enough. I wanted to be more in the moment and able to capture true to life moments with my family and the ones I love and carrying around that big ol’ camera wasn’t the way to do it.


One day I made the hard decision (really it actually was difficult because I was so attached to that camera) to put the camera away and only use my phone camera all day and see what happens at the end of the day. It was so nice not carrying that thing around and setting up everything in my home! I will say that learning how to take cell phone photos is tricky, or at least it was for me. I was so used to being able to manipulate everything in the camera that it took me about a week to get it down.

Tips for phone camera photos:

  • be super aware of your lighting

  • use natural light

  • get on the level of the kiddos if photographing them

  • choose your angles wisely

  • try to get a straight photo in camera rather than correcting while editing

  • know how your presets or your way of editing affects your photos beforehand

Lighting— Natural light will always Gove your the best light, shadows, color. I tend to shoot near a window and have learned through trial and error that indirect natural light is the best for phone photos. I can’t master the backlit photo on my phone camera without blowing the whole background out but I’m ok with that.

Get Low— When I take a photo from above of the kiddos or from my standpoint I never like it. I have learned that at least for me, it distorts the people and things in the frame and there’s no real way for me to correct it how I edit. Because of this I tend to always take photos straight on from the kiddos’ level.

It’s All About The Angles— I have learned that for me, I love to shoot as if I’m looking at the wall behind my subject. I don’t like the way photos come out usually on my phone camera when I’m taking them at any angle or facing a corner so I will stand back and take the whole photo as if I’m taking a picture of a flat wall.

Straighten It Out— As mentioned above about “taking a photo of a wall” I try my hardest to make sure my phone isn’t leaning to one side distorting the photo while I”m taking it. There are awesome apps like Lightroom CC Mobile that allow you to play around with the geometry of the photo in post editing but it’s so much easier when you don’t have to do that. Sometimes changing those in an app can distort the way your subject looks.

Presets— I have fallen in love with a set of affordable mobile presets called Sedona by Bethany Poteet. I will link them here so you can check them out for yourself. I love the way the skin colors come out, the greens are desaturated, the white are bright but soft…these presets are the only ones I have loved when using cell phone photos and it’s like they’re magic.


Here are some before and afters and check out our Instagram page to see our everyday!

Leah23 Comments