Filters: Instagram

You may have seen last week that Meg & I are bringing back our Holders Not Folders challenges! So many of you participated in our Summer 2014 series, and we had a blast cultivating a creative Instagram community with you all.

For this quick, six week series, we want to focus on teaching you something new (or reminding you of something you already know) to integrate into your phone photography. Each week we will announce the new challenge, share a quick tutorial and/ or tips, and then encourage you to practice that skill in your instagrams! Make sure you hashtag #holdersnotfolders and interact with the others participating!

Are you in? We want to encourage you that you can create fun and inspiring photos with your phone and have a beautiful instagram that reflects YOU! Join the challenge and get creative.

Written by Megan of Rivers and Roads

Today we are talking about filters. Those beautifully created presets just waiting to be placed with your photos. You’ve probably experienced those times when your original photos don’t always portray the quality and style you want them to. So you head to your favorite photo editing software to up the exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, tones, etc. until you get your photo just right.

I’d love to share three things I like to use/keep in mind when editing my photos for Instagram – apps, consistency/style, less is more.

There are so many photo editing apps out there, and I know it can sometimes be overwhelming when trying to decide which ones to use. There are two I highly recommend: VSCO and Afterlight. I used Afterlight until I discovered VSCO, and it is a great app with wonderful editing capabilities and various filters options. However, I personally prefer VSCO’s simplified setup and beautiful filters. I wrote a post a while back about VSCO being my favorite photo editing app, and I still stand by that! It is extremely user friendly, well designed, and has everything you could want out of a photo editing app.

One of the things I’ve struggled with in the past is finding consistency in my Instagram style. Do I want my photos bright and bold,  or more muted, or black and white, etc? Personally, I think that your editing style is something important to consider when looking at your Instagram feed. Your style helps to set you and your brand apart from the rest of the crowd. I edit every single one of my photos the same way, using the same filter, in order to create a kind of consistent feel for all of the photos in my feed. This helps to set a “mood” for your Instagram. I’ve found that I prefer my photos to be brighter and bolder. This means I tend to bump up the exposure, contrast, and saturation, and throw on my favorite filter at a low intensity (usually HB 1 or 2 in VSCO).

I have included some before and afters of Instagrams which best represent the bright and bold look that I am going for in my feed.

Clean and simple is my go-to style in most every part of my life, and that includes my Instagrams. πŸ™‚ In order to obtain that look, I use natural lighting as much as possible. Good lighting will drastically improve the quality of your photos, requiring less editing to give your photos the pizzazz you want. Because of that, I almost never use filters at their highest intensity because that can tend to over-edit your photo. Sometimes the use of too many filters can make the photo lose a lot of the qualities that were great about the original. Like they say, you CAN have too much of a good thing. My rule of thumb when it comes to filters is to use it but don’t abuse it, and remember that sometimes less is more! πŸ™‚

HOMEWORK: Now it’s your turn! While you’re instagramming this week, play around with filters and your editing style. Figure out what you like and what you don’t like. Try to find an editing style that gives consistency to your Instagram photos. Download some different apps and figure out which is your favorite to use! Share with us any photos you are proud of by using the hashtag #holdersnotfolders, and please leave some love on other grams you see in the feed! 

Be sure to follow @megmcilvaine and @oakandoats on Instagram. To see the rest of this challenge (along with our previous series) click here.

Author: Elizabeth Mayberry

  • chelsea

    Less is more…. I'm the same way.

    PS – gave you a shout out on my blog this morning πŸ™‚

  • Christine Hawkins

    Love this! The both of you take crazy beautiful pictures! I need all the help I can get! Thank you for sharing these tips!

  • What a fun series! I am definitely in for the challenge. I definitely need to work on instagram consistency–these are great tips! Thank you, girls.

  • okay so question. I used to be able to do it, but with the most recent update to VSCO I can't figure out how to edit pictures I took with my regular camera app? I've been trying for like. two weeks to figure it out. am I just a space cadet? or did they take that feature away?

  • Oh no! I have been adding them on mine so I'll share with you how I do it. I am not sure if this will work, but try this!

    1. Click on Library
    2. swipe down the photos from the top and you should see a Plus button at the very top
    3. click on that and find the photo you want to add!

    Let me know if that worked! If not, you might need to contact support!

  • oh my goodness. that was as easy as I thought it was going to be once someone pointed it out. thanks!! haha

  • YAY! That makes me so happy that it worked!

  • You are so welcome! I am excited to see how you continue to shape your consistency!

  • i love vsco – it's amazing and is my go-to before insta filters!

  • Yes! I quit using insta filters a long time ago because I feel like the 3rd party apps like VSCO are so much better! πŸ™‚

  • I just love these suggestions!! I will definitely be using vsco! Thank you both!

  • I adore VSCO. I use it for all of my Instagram editing!

  • VSCO is an awesome app. So helpful!

  • It is my favorite!

  • ME too!

  • It is totally my favorite!