I think photo editing would have to be included in my top 10 favorite things to do in the world. I love the opportunity that each new photo brings for experimentation with color, light, texture, and general vibes. I wrote a post a few years back about styling + editing tips, but I think at the point I was only using Instagram’s editing features and I have a lot more tools and tips in my arsenal now.
Below, I will break down my favorite editing apps, and some of my favorite features of each one.
Snapseed is a magical app, if you can only download one app, this is the one. The feature I love most is the selective tool, you can select any part of the photo and edit it alone. For this photo, I used the selective tool to brighten up the water, increase its saturation (making it brighter and more blue), and increased the structure to make the sun shine reflecting off the water more noticeable.
Next, I brightened up the sky and decreased saturation a bit, then I went in and increased structure to all the rocks, and increased brightness and saturation on all of the colorful buildings to make them pop.
Lastly, I like to go into the ‘detail’ feature and play around with overall structure and sharpening, typically I like to increase this a bit, but every photo is different. Depending on the photo, I’ll also add some grain and increase the ambiance.
Here I used the selective tool to increase brightness, structure & saturation of the water and the sand. Then I increased the photo’s overall structure.
Editing food on snapseed:
When editing food photos, I like to keep it much more natural and subtle. I’ll usually brighten up a white background if it has any yellow tones, or use the healing tool to cover up matcha splotches or other spills that happen while I’m shooting 🙂
(I used the healing feature to edit out the spill that you see in the shadow on the before photo, I also increased brightness, structure, and saturation of the matcha a tiny bit. I increased brightness all over the purple background, I slightly decreased overall warmth, increased overall structure, and decreased shadows. )
Lightroom is what I use for all professional projects and when I want to get a really detailed edit on my desktop. I’ll typically use lightroom when editing a photo from my camera vs. my iPhone.
Some of my favorite features of lightroom:
- The color section. You can toggle to alter the shade and intensity of every color of the rainbow.
- The grain feature: I love increasing grain to give a vintage look on a lifestyle shot
- Sharpening: when you want a really clear and detailed look, increasing sharpness is must
- the ability to create your own filters (presets). I have so many presets on my lightroom account that I’ve created over the years. I love trying out my presets on a new photo, seeing what fits best, and then tweaking the settings to fit the photo.
For this photo, I used one of my presets that uses decreased saturation for green + yellow because I felt the grass looked yellow tinted, increased orange hue for reds to make the color a bit more subdued and peachy, increase saturation and decreased luminance on orange for a more bronzed look, increased luminance on yellow to make blonde pop, increase in overall whites to give a more clean aesthetic and get rid of the yellow tones, and a little grain for a vintage vibe
I love the fun of creating a totally different look- for this door, I used a preset that has increased teal hue for the blue color section and a decreased luminance and increased saturation for orange to make the rocks look warmer.
Okay, those are my favorite apps for initial editing. The next few apps are great for adding fun effects once you’ve gotten the photo to look the way you want it to.
This app allows you to add fun backgrounds + text to photos. My favorite backgrounds are under the water section.
Want your image to look like a dusty/scratched old photo? This is the app for that. It’s free and has lots of options and the ability to increase or decrease the effects, which I love.
This was edited using lightroom, then I added a dusty quality via Shift
A Color Story:
I love using A Color Story for their unique filters, (I used February from the seasons pack here), and their fun effects from the glow feature, I added this twinkly light effect using ‘ glimmer’. Lastly, I love the color fog feature, I added a hint of pink to the skyline here.
While I think this app is being a bit overused, it’s so fun and makes me nostalgic for the 90s + disposable cameras.
You can either take a photo on the app, or upgrade and have the option to load previously taken photos for use on the app.
I wouldn’t use this app for a food photo, or any photo I want to appear clear and bright. It’s better for lifestyle photos that you want to give a moody/vintage edge to.
(Huji gives a darker blueish tint to the photo, adds a slight distortion to the background, and adds random light leak effects)
This is actually more of a story editing app, technically. I love using their frames (like this polaroid) + templates to add some fun to story photos. Unfortunately, the app is free..but makes you pay for frames/templates.
Alright, that pretty much covers it! Hope you enjoyed learning about my editing tips + favorite apps. Let me know if you have any questions.