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Many people have asked me how I edit my pictures for Instagram. The truth? I edit Instagram photos using my iPhone. While I shoot my photos on a Nikon D3300, I’m way too poor to invest in an actual editing program. To be honest, I will be the first person to swear to you that you don’t need one! Nonetheless, I always edit my pictures before I post them. So, how exactly do I do it? Here are the main apps that allow me to edit defined, bright pictures without ever having to pay a dime.

1. Snapseed

I’m convinced that Snapseed is pure magic for those of us who are less tech-savvy than others. It’s easy to use and it makes your photos pop! One of my favorite things that this app offers is its “selective” feature. It actually allows you to edit Instagram photos by brightening, adding contrast, or adding saturation to a certain part of the photo. For example, let’s say you have pink lipstick on in your picture, but you want to make it brighter. You can easily use “selective” to highlight your lips!

Other parts of Snapseed that I love? Drama and HDR Scape. These filters are perfect for a photo that you want to make more defined. Here’s an example of one of my Instagram photos before I edited it using Snapseed:

before-7It’s okay, but not great right? So, let’s see what we get after brightening up the picture and using the Drama filter. We end up with this:

edit Instagram photos2. ColorStory

If you already follow me on Instagram (@leahshoup), you’ll know that my feed is all about bright colors. So, how do I make my colors stand out? The answer is easy: ColorStory. The app gives you one essentials “color pack” for free all well as a starter with flare, light leak, bokeh, and color fog. However, if you want to use more filters, you’ll have to purchase packs for $0.99 cents. In my experience, I find this to be extremely fair priced. In fact, I’ve only bought two packs: Chroma and Light Leaks. Here’s an example of one of my Instagram photos before I edited it using ColorStory’s Chroma filter:

edit Instagram photosIt’s pretty, but the colors just don’t pop as much as I’d want them to. So, let’s see what happens after using the Chroma filter:

edit Instagram photosI hope that I’ve shown you in this post that you don’t have to be a photography pro with an expensive editing program to create great photos! Are there any other apps that you would’ve included?

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You don't need a fancy editing program to create great Instagram photos. Here's a guide to editing stunning Instagram photos without spending a dime.

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Wednesday 9th of October 2019

[…] to our new Pinterest Board! Let me know if you’d like the invite. This week I’m highlighting How to Edit Stunning Instagram Photos with your phone by Leah at Gringa Journeys! I’ve recently been trying to step up my Instagram game and Leah’s […]


Tuesday 9th of January 2018

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Lyn @ A Hole in my Shoe

Sunday 23rd of October 2016

I so need to get my act together with editing to improve my Instagram... off to download Snapseed, thank you.


Sunday 16th of October 2016

Wow I am so thankful you shared this! I have been so frustrated with photo editing and photoshop is too hard I'm not techy! But the tedious part of Snapseed ... I I have to load pics from laptop to phone ( can only send a few at a time) so then in order to load to my blog I'd have to send them back to laptop again... there's gotta be an easier way :/ This was a great post!

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