I've had a lot of people ask me how I edit all of my Instagram photos. Well, just like the thousands of other IG-savvy folks out there, I edit using a consistent 'style' and color scheme to keep my grid clean. There are TONS of free apps and programs available to accomplish this, meaning that you don't need to spend tons of money on software and cameras to get a good grid. Use what you have, work hard, and make something great!
This brings me to the point of this blog: how I edit my photos in Adobe Lightroom! Now as I mentioned earlier, there are countless editing apps out there, with the mobile version of Lightroom being one of them.
I will do this tutorial using the mobile app because it has almost every feature that desktop Lightroom does. You can even sync photos between the two for copying edits! I use this feature a TON when traveling because it allows me to edit my images without carrying around a laptop and hard drive.
Now, without further ado, let's EDIT!
STEP 1: ADJUSTING LIGHT
This the first section of Lightroom that I adjust when editing images. As with all edits, what you do in this section depends on what ‘look’ you aim to achieve. I like my images to be bright and so here’s what I adjust:
Exposure: This setting changes how exposed/bright the image is. Depending on how bright the original one is, I typically bump this to +1 or +.75.
Contrast: This setting changes how different the darks and lights in an image look. I don’t like my images super contrasted because it takes away from the bright, cheery look, so I hover in the 5-20 range for this edit.
Highlights: If you want to achieve a bright image, bringing up highlights is super key. Lower highlights help under-expose certain areas in an image. For example, if you want to see the clouds in the sky (which is typically too bright in images).
Shadows: This adjustment, when raised, decreases shadows in an image. How much I raise it depends on the image, but typically I raise it enough to where little shadows exist.
Whites: As the name implies, whites bring up the whites in an image. I like the whiter appearance, so I usually bring them up to +20 or so.
Blacks: When raised, this decreases the blacks in an image. I typically don’t change this, but when I do, usually only go up to +10.
STEP 2: ADJUSTING COLOR
The color section of Lightroom is really where theme creation begins. Think about it: when you look at any creator’s grid, what’s the main thing that looks similar? Color.
It starts with actually taking photos that include your desired colors in it (because software can’t do everything). For instance, having colorful photos for a colorful grid, darker tones for a dark grid, and so on. Lightroom comes in by helping to fine tune colors, and also diminishing unwanted ones.
White Balance: This section changes the warmth/coolness of an image, how it is tinted, and also vibrance/saturation. For a colorful theme, I like to have a warm accent and pink tint. This means sliding the first bar to the right for however warm you want it to be, and again to the right on the second bar for the pink tint. You also want to bump up the saturation and vibrance, which changes how noticeable and rich the colors are. I aim for +15-30 in saturation and +10-20 in vibrance.
Color Mix: Located at the top right of the Lightroom app, this is a tool that really builds theme. For each of the main colors (red, orange, yellow, purple, green, teal, etc), there are options to change the hue, saturation and luminance. If you’re aiming for a colorful feed, then it works well to boost brighter colors and desaturate darker ones. You can also change color hues to keep consistent shades throughout all photos. I love using this tool for my skin, helping to diminish red undertones from acne *I cry*.
STEP 3: EXTRA EFFECTS
After I finish editing color, my last steps are to do some minor effects based on the photo. But before doing this, there is one effect I use that ties into color:
Split Toning: Hidden under the “Effects” panel, split toning allows you to choose a color shade for shadows and highlights. This adjustment is my new favorite for color edits, and it’s honestly much easier than adjusting multiple colors.
Clarity and Dehaze: Wile I don’t use these too often, clarify and dehaze are sometimes useful when the sun or other phenomena cause a bright image to look hazy and unclear.
Sharpening and Noise Reduction: Located under the “Detail” tab, these edits do wonders in the appearance of a photo. Images that are out-of-focus or unclear can be fixed by raising the sharpening tool—just beware of too much image grain! But just as sharpening adds noise/grain, noise reduction takes it away. This is particularly useful if you shoot with a high camera ISO or at night.
STEP 4: PRESETS!
While optional, this final step allows you to save all of your edits into a preset that can easily be applied to future images in one tap. You do this by tapping the three dots in the upper right of the app screen and selecting "Create Preset." From there you can name the preset and select which edits to include in it.
I hope you found this tutorial helpful! Feel free to DM me any Lightroom edits of your own via my Instagram (account name bel0w). Remember to hit the subscribe button and never miss another #BeyondWords blog again!
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