A super quick guide to editing photos for Instagram on your iPhone

I’m asked now and again how I edit my photos for Instagram using an iPhone, so I thought I’d just write a super quick guide with some basic tips for brightening and warming photos. I do use some apps, which I’ll talk about in another post, but to start off I’ll give some tips on using the editing tools in the iPhone photos app.

First of all – just to be honest, I don’t actually use my phone to take many photos anymore. I’ve got a camera with wifi that I can connect to my phone, so about 99% of photos I post on Instagram are taken using my actual camera. If you’re looking to take better photos, but aren’t sure how to move on from your phone, it’s worth doing your research and checking out what deals are on, and tips on things like what makes a good 4k camera *

Anyway, back to my quick editing guide. We’ll use this photo as an example of one that was ok and I quite wanted to use on Instagram, but I wasn’t entirely happy with it before a bit of editing… it was just a bit too dark and didn’t stand out.

Before any editing

STEP ONE: Brightening

I’m a sucker for bright and airy photos, so once I’ve sent the photos over to my phone the first thing I do is open ‘photos’, click on the editing icon (next to the bin), then the little cog that looks a bit like a sun or a stopwatch. I then click on the downwards arrow next to the ‘light’ menu option. If you click on the word ‘light’ it allows you to lighten the photo by sliding right to go brighter and left to go darker, while automatically changing things like contrast.

I prefer to leave alone or alter manually, which you can do by selecting the downwards arrow.

First of all, I go for ‘brilliance’ and slide the red pointer it as far right as I think it needs to be. Hold down on the photo to see the original if you want to compare it with your edited version.

I then do the same for ‘brightness’.

This is the photo once I’ve upped brilliance to 0.81 and brightness to 0.24. Already quite a difference!

STEP TWO: Warmth (or cast)

My next step is to warm the picture up a bit. I like it to look as if the sun is shining even if it’s a bit of an overcast day. So as before, get yourself into the editing feature of the iPhone photos app and hit ‘colour’, then ‘cast’.

If you have a Mac or use other editing apps, there’s usually a ‘warm’ option under the white balance menu. I prefer this as it looks a bit more natural, but if I’m trying to be quick I’ll just use cast to add a bit of a sunny glow.

Here’s the pic with cast set to 0.71:

STEP THREE: Saturation

I leave saturation until last because I don’t want to go over the to with extra colour, but I do like to up it a little as I’m so pale and pasty!

Under the ‘colour’ menu again, select ‘saturation’ and increase it until you’re happy. As I said, I don’t go overboard or it’ll just make you look sunburned!

Here we are with saturation at 0.25:


Of course for Instagram your pics need to be square, which you can either change in the photos editing feature or on Instagram itself.

I try to stick to the rule of thirds and have the subject of the photo set slightly to the left or right of centre, like this:


Ok, so this is a really basic guide and it should only take a few minutes to edit your pics using these four steps, but I think it makes a huge difference and is worth a go.

Here’s a comparison of the original photo and the edited version:

What do you think? Is it worth a bit of editing to improve your photos?

*this is a sponsored post, but the basic editing guide is all my own!

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