How I Edit My Photos

I love colorful photography so this picture is my idea of perfection. My daughter Charlie using my camera to take pictures of colorful umbrellas in my favorite city. The only problem with this picture was that the height and angle of the photo didn’t allow me to crop for Instagram without cutting out Charlie’s legs. Tragedy, I know. As I was playing around with editing the photo last night I thought about how much I’ve learned by playing around in different apps. I always use multiple apps when I edit because they each have different great features. Here are the apps I use:

Easiest App to Use: I always start with the PicTapGo app. It was the best $3.99 I’ve ever spent. Almost every time I use the following filters together: Lights On, Auto Contrast, Sugar Rush, Brightside.PicTapGo

Best Free App: I use Snapseed on every picture I edit. I can’t believe this app is FREE! I don’t like the filters on Snapseed so I skip those and go straight to the Tools. The tools are amazing and very easy to use. My favorite tools to use are: Selective, Brush, Portrait, and HDR Scape (for landscape photography).

Snapseed 2

Best Filters App: I recently became obsessed with VSCO. It’s a little pricey at $19.99 but I saw great reviews online so I downloaded it. There are SO many filters that you can easily swipe thru, plus the app includes all of the standard editing tools. In this photo I used the L2 filter. I’m still figuring out my favorite filters but I am really starting to love this app.VSCO

Best Spot Healer: Whether its food stains, mud stains, or who knows what – I always have something in the picture that’s ruining the photo. My favorite apps to get rid of those spots are Adobe Photoshop Fix (app) and Polarr (online photo editing). Polarr is more expensive ($24.99/year) but the cloning feature is top notch. In the pictures below I used the cloning feature to add another bush to the background. If you are looking for a free app use Photoshop Fix. I love the auto-heal brush – it will fix just about every problem. If you are new to editing I would definitely start with Photoshop Fix then graduate to Polarr.

Cloning Feature in Polarr:

Best Overall: For intermediate editors like myself you can’t beat the Adobe platform of tools.  The cheapest package is $9.99/month and it comes with Lightroom and Photoshop. That’s the package I have. It seems expensive but so worth it if you want to step up your editing game. I use Lightroom for editing on my phone and Photoshop for editing on my computer. When I use Lightroom I start with the Preset tool to make the picture look more natural. Then I use the Selective tool to brush areas that need to be lightened, darkened, etc. Adobe Photoshop has SO many features but my favorite is the Content-Aware Move Tool. It’s an easy to use feature that allows you to move people or objects to another part of the picture. It fills in the empty space so that you never would know something was there. In this picture I moved the umbrellas down a little bit to fit both the umbrellas and Charlie’s whole body in the picture.

Content-Aware Move Tool in Adobe Photoshop:


Best Instagram Edits: Usually by this point my photos are good to go, but I occasionally edit using Instagram. I don’t care for most of the filters but sometimes I use Valencia at a low percentage to soften the picture a bit.  I like Instagram’s Sharpen tool so I usually reserve sharpening for the very end. I will play around with Brightness and Shadows to make sure the lighting is good and then I’m done.

The last thing I recommend is to follow @happygreylucky on Instagram. She has a story about how she edits her photos and it’s really helpful.

If you have any editing tips I would love to hear them!



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