How to Edit your Instagram Photos using VSCO

KatieLewLa4 comments1759 views
editing with VSCO cam
Today’s post is quite different to anything I’ve done before. I’ve never written a How To post, but since Instagram is all the rage right now and I’ve been asked a few times, I thought I’d share how I edit my Instagram photos with all you lovely people. Now that I’ve finally settled on a (sort of) photo editing routine it seems like the right time to do it.
editing with VSCO cam
There are four editing apps that I would recommend for editing photo’s on your iPhone. You can see them in my previous post 4 Must have Photo Editing Apps. I cannot recommend them enough for people who like to edit there photos quickly and easily. I literally use them every time I take a photo for Instagram and I have developed my own style which I’ve been sticking to for a few months now. Today I will focus on my use of +VSCO for editing photo’s of beauty products and flat-lays but I do regularly use other apps in conjunction with VSCO.
So let’s get on with the nitty gritty part of this post. How I edit my Instagram Photos.

iPhone Camera App

The first step I take is using the iPhone Camera App to take my photo. As you can see in the photo below, I always keep the grid on so that I can keep my main point of focus quite central. I always use the square photo so that I never have problems cropping my photos for Instagram later on. It just makes things much easier when going down the editing route. One last point is to always remember to press on the item you would like to focus on, this will make that item much clearer and give you that lovely blurred background effect that you get on DSLR cameras. Who needs to spend a fortune to get great photos?
how to edit instagram photos


My absolute go to editing app is VSCO – just as it is for many others in the blogosphere – and that’s because you can practically do everything in one place. There’s a reason VSCO is so popular and that’s because they have the best filters out there. Don’t be fooled into thinking there aren’t many filters to choose from. Visit the VSCO store and you’ll find plenty more free filters to download as well as paid ones.
Here’s how I use VSCO to it’s full potential.


The filter I use for the majority of my photos is HB1/Hyperbeast which brightens whites, increases contrasts and shadows and gives a cooler tone to your photo. It generally just makes things ‘pop’ and appear brighter, clearer, whiter and more beautiful. I adjust the level of this filter according to how bright my photo already is but I usually settle somewhere between 6 and 9.
VSCO free iphone app


The next thing I adjust is the exposure of the photo. This will lift the brightness and make things all together lighter and brighter. As you can see when taking a photo against a white background it makes the white much brighter and lifts any visible shadows slightly. Again, the level of exposure you apply is dependent on the original photo. Sometimes I only need to lift a photo +1 level if the lighting was pretty good to start with, whereas if the light was dull when I took a photo, I might need to lift it by as much as +4. As a rule of thumb, I never usually go above +4 for exposure as the higher you go, the grainier the photo can become and I don’t want to effect the overall quality of my photography.


Next up is contrast and this tends to make your darker shades darker and lighter colours brighter giving more contrast between light and dark. I only usually adjust this by +1 as too much alteration to contrast can make my photo look posterised which is not the effect I’m going for.
editing the contrast on photos


I don’t like my photos to have too much warmth and brightness of colour as you can see on my Instagram Feed photos. This is where saturation comes in. I tend to adjust my Saturation slightly to remove colour a little bit. When I say slightly, I mean by maybe -1 just to make my photos a bit cooler and neutral.


Next, I adjust the temperature of my photo, which also adds a cooler tone. Again I only usually adjust the temperature by -1 to give it a whiter/blue tone as a pose to a warmer/yellow tone.


When I have completed the above steps, I will go back and adjust the sharpness. After all edits are done, sometimes the clarity of a photo can be lost slightly, so bringing the sharpness up a couple of levels makes it clearer and more defined.

editing the sharpness on photos
And Voila, my use of VSCO is complete. As you can see, in just one photo editing app you can dramatically change a photo to get the effect that you want. For me it’s all about bright, white, clean photography. That’s what I tend to look for in others Instagram feeds but also what I like to apply to my own. After your editing is complete you can either save the freshly edited photo to your camera roll, or simply share it straight to Instagram from within the app. Easy peasy lemon squeezy right? I think so, and all it takes is a couple of minutes to get a great, simple, clean photo like this one.

edit photos, instagram, VSCO, blog

The greatest feature of VSCO for me is the ability to copy and paste edits on to your photos. We’ve all been guilty of taking many shots of the same things because we can’t decide which is best and in the VSCO app there is no need to edit each photo individually. If you take numerous photo’s the same you can simply edit one of the photos and then copy and paste the edits onto all similar photos, meaning you can edit 20+ photos in the space of about two minutes. Now isn’t that pretty special?
Simply put, that is how I get my Instagram Feed looking the way it is and I’m currently very pleased with it.
style your instagram feed using VSCO
Feel free to share your Instagram Links in the comments as I love to find beautiful new feeds to follow. If you like what you have seen and fancy following my Instagram then my link is 
I hope this post has been helpful for you. If you’re looking for more Editing Apps to suit your needs then have a look at my 4 Must have Photo Editing Apps post.
Hi my name is Katie and I'm the writer of KatieLewLa. I am from South Yorkshire and love to write about pretty much anything that takes my fancy. Please share the love for KatieLewLa or leave me a comment below. Enjoy.


  1. I tried using this app so many times and it always crashed my phone so I had to stop using it 🙁 I'm lazy and just edit it on instagram with lighting and contrast nowadays! Tania xx

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