How I Edit Photos for My Blog and Instagram
Today I’m excited to sit down with a big cup of Red Diamond coffee and spill all my photo editing tips and tricks. Over the past few years of blogging I have learned more than I ever knew there was to learn about photography! Whether you love taking pictures to share with friends or use photography professionally for your business, I hope this post is helpful and informative for each of you!
Photography is something I have been interested in and intrigued by for as long as I can remember. I still remember the excitement of receiving my first digital camera (the “Canon Powershot” advertised by Maria Sharapova.. anyone remember those commercials?) as a Christmas gift from my parents when I was in 4th grade. I hardly ever put it down and took pictures of just about everything in sight! Very little has changed since then.
When I started my blog, I loved photography but really was not too knowledgeable in the art of it. I had no earthly clue what the words “manual,” “aperture,” or “iso” meant. I also had no idea what Lightroom was or the difference in shooting in RAW vs JPEG. Needless to say I’ve learned A LOT in the past few years, and I’m excited to share my photo process and tips with y’all!
Below I will be breaking this post down into the following categories:
Camera/ Equipment I Use
How I Save/ Store My Photos
How I Edit Blog Photos
How I Edit Instagram Photos
Let me know if there is anything else you would like me to cover regarding photography in future posts! But before we get too deep into things, you should know that photo editing can be time consuming and tedious (especially considering the number of pictures I take and edit on a daily basis).
I strive for perfection in every photo I shoot and share on my blog and social channels, so the first step in my photo editing is finding a cozy and inspiring place to work. For me, this usually means cuddling up on my couch with a fresh brewed cup of Red Diamond Classic coffee. Knowing that each batch of Red Diamond coffee is handled with extreme care to ensure the smoothest and best flavor makes each sip so delicious, and helps me to focus on handling my photo editing process with that same care and attention to detail!
1. Camera/ Equipment I Use
I currently use a Canon 6D (40% off here) with a Canon 50mm F/1.8 lens for most blog and social photos. I recently rented the Canon 24-70mm F/2.8 lens and am considering making the purchase soon! The only thing holding me back is how much bigger this lens is, and I have always loved how light and easy my camera is to carry around with just the 50mm lens. For polo photos and other outdoors type photos, I use a Canon 70-200mm F/2.8 lens.
2. How I Save/ Store My Photos
I shoot all my photos on a 64gb SD card (always sure that the SD card is “Class 10 Speed” for fastest/ efficient shooting). After shooting photos, I load all the photos into the Photos application on my MacBook Pro laptop. I have saved my Photos application to an external hard drive, so none of the photos are actually saved on my laptop/ taking up computer memory- they are all saved to the external hard drive. I use this 1 TB external hard drive. I have filled up 5 or 6 of these hard drives over the past few years. Side note: when purchasing an external hard drive for photo storage, always be sure to purchase one that is compatible with your computer’s software (Mac, Windows, etc.)!
3. How I Edit Blog Photos
After loading all of the photos into the Photos application on my laptop/external hard drive, I create an album within the Photos application for the event/post I am working on. I move all the photos that I shot for the event/post into the album then go through and delete the ones I don’t want to edit or use. After narrowing down the photos I want to edit, I import them to Lightroom. I will usually edit around 30 photos for a post but only publish about 10-12.
In Lightroom the first thing I do is apply a preset I created/ have tweaked over the past couple years. The preset brightens the photo and shifts the color hues/saturations, so the photos I publish have similar coloring and create a cohesive look for my blog and Instagram. Presets are a wonderful starting point but they are just the beginning of the editing process for me. Each photo must be individually edited/ tweaked to make sure the light and color is just right.
After applying the preset, I will go through each photo one by one and adjust the exposure, temperature (increase warmth*), tint (shift to pink a bit*), highlights (decrease a bit*), shadows (increase a bit*), whites, blacks (increase a bit to take out the sharp looking contrast*), vibrance (increase*), and saturation. I also decrease the yellow saturation a good bit. I am personally not a fan of a lot of yellow in my photos. I used to always decrease the temperature to get rid of the yellow, but I have found that just reducing the yellow saturation and still increasing the temperature of the photo gives a warm but not yellow glow.
After editing my photos in Lightroom, I export them to a folder saved on my desktop. I then upload the photos I want to use to my blog or airdrop them to my phone to share on Instagram.
*how I usually but not always adjust the photo… every shot is different!
4. How I Edit Instagram Photos
For the photos I share on Instagram, I use the same Lightroom editing process above and add one extra step. After airdropping the Lightroom edited photo from my desktop to my phone, I import it to the VSCO mobile app where I apply one of my favorite filters. This has been my way of keeping my Instagram feed looking somewhat cohesive and “on brand.” For the past year or so, my favorite filter has been C3. I apply this filter to the photo then adjust the settings a tad further. Because this filter is very warm, I usually decrease the temperature and increase/decrease the exposure until it is just right.
After editing the photo, I export the full res. image to my photos and upload to Instagram!
A quick note just to remind you that this is just my personal editing process and there are millions of other ways to edit photos. This is just my personal take on things! I think the most fun thing about photography has been discovering my personal photo style and how to translate how I see an outfit, object, animal, or landscape into a digital image to share with y’all. Discovering my style and getting comfortable with my editing was a long process that probably took me about two years to really nail down. And I am still learning and evolving my photo style almost daily! Don't be discouraged with photography… keep shooting, learning, and growing in the process! And don’t forget to get a caffeine boost with Red Diamond to get you through the tedious process of editing photos. The finished product is always worth all of the work that you put in!
*Thank you to Red Diamond Coffee & Tea for partnering with me on this post!