My editing style and how to create a consistent Instagram feed

This is probably the question people have asked me the most on my Instagram: how do you edit your photos? Even though it’s really difficult to give you guys one magic formula to recreate my editing, I’ll try to give you a few tips to ensure consistency in your feed.

A few things to know about photography and editing

First of all, there's no perfect filter that will work on all the pictures you take. There are many factors that can affect your editing (please note that I’m not a professional photographer, only a content creator who has learned a few tips along the way:

  • The type of camera you use (iPhone, Fujifilm, Canon, Nikon, Sony, etc.)

  • Your camera settings (ISO, aperture, shutter speed, white balance, shadow tones, highlight tones, etc)

  • The environment (inside or outside): is it bright? What are the surrounding colours/tones? Is the composition empty or busy?

  • The subject. Your edits will definitely be different depending on what you’re shooting. Per example, a still-life shot won’t be edited the same way as a portrait or a landscape.

Personally, I don't even use the same filters on every one of my pictures. My best advice for you, to make sure all of your pictures will blend together would be to use UNUM (or any similar apps) to plan your feed in advance.

My editing process

I’m currently working on some Lightroom presets that I'd like to eventually sell on my blog, but it’s a very long process to create filters who will work on iPhones and most DSLR cameras. I need to try them on different subjects and make sure most people will be able to use them easily. For now, I can't tell you guys when the bundle will be ready. In the meantime, I’m going to show you guys how I edited one of my favourite pictures using VSCO and other cool apps.

For the photo above, I used VSCO’s M5 filter. As you can see, I like to add warmth - it’s more flattering for my skin and I believe it brings life to my photos. Here’s the complete formula :

  • M5 filter +4,2

  • Exposure -1,0

  • Contrast -0,3

  • Shadows +0,5

  • Temperature +3,5

  • Saturation -0,5

  • Skin tones -0,5

  • Clarity +2,5

  • Grain +2,5

  • Highlight tint +2,0 (beige one)

  • Shadow tint +0,5 (red one)

However, I tried this formula on other photos and it didn’t work just as well. I usually alternate between the A6, G8 and M5 at +4,5 or +6,0 (max). Sometimes I even go crazy and add a little bit of Afterlight’s Cascade filter to make the orange tones look a little bit more yellow.

For this one above, I used VSCO’s A6 filter. Here’s the formula :

  • A6 filter +5,0

  • Exposure -1,5

  • Contrast -0,3

  • Highlights +0,5

  • Temperature +3,0

  • Tint -0,5

  • Clarity +1,5

  • Grain +3,0

  • Highlight tint +2,5 (beige one)

  • Shadow tint +0,7 (red one)

Finally, I used VSCO’s KK2 filter for the last one.

  • A6 filter +3,2

  • Exposure -0,5

  • Shadows +0,5

  • Highlights +0,5

  • Temperature +2,5

  • Saturation -0,5

  • Clarity +2,5

  • Grain +3,2

  • Highlight tint +2,5 (beige one)

  • Shadow tint +0,5 (red one)

The dusty effects

When I feel like it, I sometimes add a soft “vintage” feel to my photos by adding dust. My two favourite apps to do so are Afterlight and RNI Films.

Why is having a strong branding so important

People often ask me “How do you always keep the same tones in your photos? Do you only wear orange/brownish clothes to ensure that?” and the answer is: yes, partly. In my daily life, I obviously wear many other colours and visit a lot of places that aren’t necessarily “on brand”. However, as a graphic designer, I simply consider that having a strong branding is really important to please the eye and showcase most products, so that’s why I always shoot in environments that will reflect the same aesthetic. Furthermore, I really love terracotta colours, so I can't resist adding some touch of it in almost every picture that I take to reinforce the illusion of symbiosis.

IMG_7391.jpg

About the feed

As easy as it looks like, planning a feed can be a real headache. Even though I try not to care too much on a daily basis, I still apply a few rules to make sure I’m satisfied with the outcome:

  • The checkered pattern: for. the. win. I always, always, alternate between busier and emptier shots. It gives a steady pace to the feed and makes it look more “diversified”.

  • Alternate the angles (close shots, still-life setups, outdoor and indoor #ootd shots, etc.) to avoid repetition.

The upstream research

With UNUM, I always plan in advance where I’ll put my upcoming photos in my feed. It also helps to plan what and where I’m going to shoot. When I have empty spots, I usually test with a few inspirations I’ve saved on Pinterest to see if a certain composition would fit great. Afterwards, I plan my shoot according to these restrictions: would a dark/busy photo would fit better than a minimalistic one? Is there too much outside shots around? Should I shoot inside instead?

As for the shoot locations research, this is a loooooong - and kinda creepy - process. Per example, I always try to stay up to date about the new trendy places in town by regularly checking my favourite blogs (what’s up Tastet!) and local Instagrammers accounts. Also, Google Maps is my best friend. Let’s say I want to shoot in a bookstore: I’ll type “bookstore” and literally check ALL the photos of the local store in the area. I’ll even track online the best streets/facades to shoot at with Street View. I know what you’re thinking: weird. Yes, I know. I could be a great candidate to work for the FBI.

That’s it!

Feel free to leave a comment below if you think I might have forgotten something. This article is a constant work in progress and I’ll definitely come back to update it from time to time!