How to Edit iPhone Photos for Instagram

So… I kind of love Instagram. It may or may not have been a major reason for me getting an iPhone way back when. (That and the fact that my old phone couldn’t hold a charge for more than 30 minutes.)
I went through a phase for maybe a month or so when Instagram was driving me nuts, but it was just that, a phase. I have an iPhone 4 and I really do believe that the iPhone 5 has a better camera, however, even then, the camera rocks.
We had a family digital camera when I was in middle school. A ridiculously clunky Nikon Coolpix version 1.0 with approximately 3 megapixels and space for 40 photos. I brought it to Italy in eighth grade and (thankfully) the pictures were so grainy. (My awkward phase was best not captured…)
The fact that we carry around amazing cameras in our pockets is great! The fact that we can edit photos right on our phones without Photoshop is even better.
I’m definitely not a photographer. I went to photography camp in fifth grade and that was pretty much the extent of my photography training. But I do love snapping my favorite moments around town and sharing them with everyone on Instagram. (Have I mentioned how much I love Instagram?)
I’m also totally not a #NoFilter girl. Give. Me. The. Filters.
I was out with Mackenzie the other day and she mentioned how she thought it was ridiculous how many apps I used before uploading an Instagram. Yep. I edit the photos a ton before uploading. #Guilty and equally #NotSorry.
First… I take a whole batch of photos before choosing one that I think is okay. It’s a little bit of an issue, I realize and fully admit this. Honestly, I can’t even believe I’m admitting this… but here’s a pretty common series of photos. Ugh. Is there Instagram therapy or something? Sign me up.
Yep. So once I choose a photo that has a good angle and no weird blinking and no bizarre anything in the background… I can move onto the editing process.
I generally use three apps to get the desired effect.
LINE Camera | This is a super basic editing app. You can open a photo and resize it. You can add text and some funny little stamps if you so desire. The filters are okay, but nothing crazy amazing. I generally start in this app to square up photos and then click on the “clear” filter.
Squaready | I try to upload fully square pictures, but sometimes the shot just won’t work in a 1×1 ratio. This app is great because you can upload vertical or horizontal photos right into Instagram. No more feet or heads cut off!
BeFunky | This is an amazing editing app. You can rotate, straighten, crop, “beautify,” brighten, add contrast, change the fill light, toggle with the exposure, and change the hue/saturation… plus lots more! The filters are especially cool because you can change the level of the filter.
Don’t believe me? Check out the before and after of this Instagram.

It was about to storm in Tampa when we took this photo. It was dark and quite grey. But… the after? It’s like a totally different photo! Love it.
For my OOTD pictures, I use Diptic. I downloaded it forever ago, so there are definitely different versions of apps where you can put together a bunch of different photos. (I know that Pic Stitch is quite popular!)
What apps do you use to edit photos on your phone?

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Glad to see someone admit the filters are painfully addictive. And fun. If the click of a button can make my complexion fairer and my hair brighter, why wouldn't I use it? I would like to be wrapped in 'Earlybird' most of the time, but– alas– we're not there yet. Thanks for the editing tips! 😉



All due respect (your Instagram is one of my favorite accounts to follow, Carly!), but I have to say a post like this that reveals the amount of precision, perfection, and tinkering that goes into every finished photo is incredibly frustrating to me. I mean, changing a photo so that it looks like a sunny day instead of a cloudy one? The weather is so beyond any of our control that it hardly seems like something we should want to change just for the sake of creating a certain image. I've noticed that bloggers can create a huge sense of distance when they aren't honest about the little slices of life they share–online, it's easy to make your life look perfectly posed and curated, and while I love seeing images of pretty things and cute outfits as much as the next girl, I value authenticity even more. I've had such a growing sense that everyone just wants to maintain this illusion that's developed around some unspoken standard. It's very DIS-illusioning, in fact, to see all of the effort that goes into it, because to me it communicates that it's not real, and in a way, I think it can reveal insecurity, in the sense that a photographer feels too much pressure to never let anyone see imperfections. If the purpose of Instagram is to share little pieces of real life, then taking 30 photos and changing minor elements in order to present the perfect shot is hardly real.

I sincerely don't mean anything personal or any disrespect, and I've definitely been guilty of the multiple shot thing, too! Just know, Carly, that all of us love your blog for who you are. You don't need to be absolutely perfect, nor make us see you a certain way. Just be free!


Completely understandable. For me, however, I've defined my Instagram as a visual extension of my blog. I put just as much energy and time into the creation of one photo as I do into one post.

Twitter, on the other hand, is much more spur-of-the-moment and cutting-room-floor. I've posted pictures of my grey hair and my messy kitchen table 🙂

I think it's really quite similar to what Erving Goffman referred to as dramaturgy. We all have different ways that we present ourselves depending on the time/place/situation. I present myself (aka the college prepster) differently on different platforms to create a whole picture of myself! It's hard to get to know a person online (vs. getting to know someone in person), so I use the benefits of different platforms (blog, email, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Vine, etc.) to create as close to a real-life 360• picture as possible 🙂

(PS Here's the picture of my grey hair:


Not sure if I agree with Goffman (as in, that sounds accurate, yet as for the merits of the idea I'm not completely sold), but fair enough! I don't have a Twitter account, so I guess that's what I've been missing out on all this time =) It really is your honest voice that makes me so excited to read your posts every day!

Hanna Yoon

i absolutely LOVE PicFx! You do have to pay a dollar or two for it but SO worth it. Especially if you take a lot of portrait pictures! You can layer filters and there's a section that just has so great things for people-pictures.

Paul Gonzalez

I know great photo editing app for MAC I think this is the best photo editing software to create quality content for your own blog or website. Try to and I'm sure you'll feel the difference between yours and this one.

Ronald Jonas

Nice tips, I was looking for the same kind of tips since long. This is really helpful for photo editing, especially for iPhone users.

Thanks Carly.