How to edit Instagram photos to get more likes? Wolf Millionaire explains how you can quickly transform any dull photo into one that will POP and get more likes on Instagram.
How to edit photos to get more likes is another common questions I am asked. Let me first explain why you need to edit your photos even if you think you’re a professional photographer. More people are taking time to create high quality content knowing that CONTENT IS KING! This after all is the stepping stone for having your photos hit the explore page and get noticed by hundreds, thousands and sometimes millions of NEW people outside of your following.
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Why Edit Instagram Photos
Instagram is becoming more populated with great accounts in every niche. More people means more competition to have your photo seen in peoples Instagram feeds, so we have to make sure the photos we are posting are almost popping out in peoples feeds. What you think looks AMAZING on your laptop/desktop editing photos, doesn’t exactly mean they are going to look AMAZING on peoples mobile phones or tablets.
First off, you don’t need to be a photographer, editor or rockstar with a camera in order to quickly and easily make the photos you’re going to post POP and get noticed in Instagram. All you have to do is remember that most of the people viewing your Instagram photos are all doing so on their mobile phones. Another thing you need to remember is that most people have their phone brightness settings at 50% or less in order to maximize their battery life. This right here is the biggest secret to which you need to address when editing your photos.
Because the majority of Instagram users are between 18-34 year old it means that they eat, sleep and live on their phones. As a result, most people have their screen brightness somewhere around the 50% brightness mark. I can’t stand having my phone on anything but 100% brightness (both iPhone 7+ and Pixel XL) in order to really see the true quality of what I am posting or editing. Lets dive in to a bunch of examples so I can show you exactly how to edit photos to get more likes on Instagram!
How To Edit Photos
Even professional photographers who upload their photos to www.MadWhips.com where I source all my photos from need their photos slightly edited. How to edit Instagram photos without expensive software or wasting time? I simply use the Instagram photo editor to quickly edit my photos and make them pop.
Checkout the BEFORE & AFTER edits I have done below of photos that were uploaded to www.MadWhips.com prior to me posting to Instagram. Some there are slight edits, others you can notice how I have made them sharper, more vibrant and come alive. This is the secret sauce to creating killer Instagram content. You have to remember HOW people are consuming your photos before you can understand how to edit your Instagram photos.
As outlined above we want to make our photos pop. I usually use the LUX (auto filter) to just add a little overall vibrancy to the photo, I use this filter about 75% of the time and anywhere from 24%-50% strength depending on the photo and color composition. I always double check the EDIT I have made along the way checking BEFORE & AFTER by touching the image when in edit mode to compare it against BEFORE & AFTER I edited it.
I do not EVER use any other Instagram filter. I just don’t like them, and of the studies I have read, most people don’t use them either as they usually do not help your photo perform any better in getting better engagement.
FIRST STEP: Is the image bright enough for people who have 50% brightness setting on their phone? YES OR NO? Most of the time it’s NO and you have to increase the brightness just a little without blowing out all the whites or colors, this is a very important step so don’t over due it. At this point I also check if playing with the contrast makes any parts of the photo jump out or be furhter eye catching. I use contrast 25% of the time and usually only use it 10%-20% on any given photo (usually to make the blacks a little darker).
SECOND STEP: STRUCTURE, I love Structure, it’s similar to a photoshop Clarity function, just play with this one a little and see how it makes photos come to life. Every photo will be a little different but you will see a big difference for photos that love to have their STRUCTURE increased. I pretty much ALWAYS use this feature, anywhere from 10%-50% on a photo.
THIRD STEP: WARMTH & SATURATION, both of these are probably 2 of the least used Instagram photo editing tools I use. The warmth helps you correct a photo that feels too WARM (too SUNNY) or TOO COLD (blue/gloomy). You really have to play with it in the slightest variance like +/- 5%-10% MAX otherwise you swing the photo too much one way. I like to have a somewhat neutral tone image so that the image itself speaks without too much distraction from a WARM/COLD look. Saturation is another I use very little. When I do I apply 5%-10% to an image as it has drastic effects on ALL colors in an image. Too much saturation makes your image look amateur. It’s all about that fine balance with these two.
FOURTH STEP: I rarely ever use Color/Fade, useless unless you’re trying to really fade out your image to give it that vintage hipster look. Useless to me!
FIFTH STEP: HIGHLIGHTS & SHADOWS, I also use these two options very very lightly if at all. Highlights bring down the whites in the image so it’s a fine adjustment if anything. I also rarely use the shadows feature as it tends to make blacks too brights and negates the efforts you made with the contrast. Sometimes both of these work, but for the most part I rarely use either of them.
SIXTH STEP: Vignette & Tilt Shift – USELESS, I have no use for the Vignette feature which darkens the 4 cornes of your image to give the vignette effect and the Tilt Shift looks like shit if you’re going to use it on Instagram. Save it for your high resolution artsy fartsy photoshop productions. Instagram has no use or love for photos that uses these features. Just trust me on this one.
FINAL STEP: SHARPEN, now that you have done some quick editing, you need to just play with the sharpness a little. I usually ALWAYS sharpen all photos to give the small Instagram sized photos we have a little extra edge of sharpness which further refines the lines, edges and colors in your photo. I usually use SHARPEN about 10%-15% on any given photo. Some photos might look too grainy or low budget if you use this even a little, so experiment and see how it looks.
How To Edit Photos – Examples To Follow
Next up (and for those of you who didn’t know) Instagram has organized their photo editing in an order that you should usually use when editing. Brightness, Contrast, Structure etc….
The photo above should be clear to you what I did to clean up the image to make it pop. The photo was taking as the sun was setting in Monterey and the photographer’s (@upscale_exotics) original image is not square crop and optimized for viewing on laptop/desktop. On my laptop the photo looks rich and awesome, but when I look at it on my mobile device those original edits lose their appeal especially when I square crop it to give my followers the EXOTIC CAR zoomed in, crisp and sharp. THIS IS KILLER CONTENT. As you can see by my “AFTER EDIT” the image is CLEARER, brighter, sharper and the structure gives it a little more depth and playfulness.
This photo above, is AMAZING of a frozen blue Ferrari FXXK by @pc_cars. However when I view it on my mobile device you can see how DARK IT IS… so I wanted to brighten it up to show more of the curves and lines of the car while showing off the colors. Brightness, structure, saturation, highlights shadows and sharpness is what I slightly touched up here to show it off more.
Above is the stunning 1 of 1 Ferrari F12 TRS snapped by @dario.fontana. While it’s an amazing picture to begin with, I wanted it to POP. AS you can see with some simple edits on the Contrast, Structure, Highlights and Sharpening, the silver almost looks like liquid metal, the trees in the back are a little greener and the overall shape of the Ferrari comes to life right off the phone. This looks spectacular on my phone with 100% screen brightness, but also pops on screens that have 50% screen brightness setting.
Here is another quick edit that took me 30-45 seconds to optimize for Instagram. This is the Pagani Zonda Barchetta (1 of 1) and photographed by @jm_ph0t0graphy and when I uploaded it to Instagram to post, it was showing way to dark. I want it to POP as it’s a beautiful machine and it deserves to get seen. Again, some quick Brightness, Structure, Warmth here and highlights and sharpness to finish it off! BAM now she pops and looks proper!
Here’s a quick example of how I slightly edited this RED Ferrari F12 TDF taken by @supercarsofmilan. The photo was already PERFECTION (very nicely done dude), but I wanted the red to POP, the black diffuser on the bottom to show more and the gray wall behind it to show some texture when looking at in Instagram. The AFTER EDIT comes to life on your phone, and as a result killed when I posted it. All I did was add a slight brightness/contrast bumps, some structure, highlights and sharpen it just a little more. The results speak for the edits I’ve done. Every little bit helps make YOU stand out on the explore page and in the FEED timeline!
This one is another sexy Ferrari F12 TDF taken by @exoticars_sg in Singapore! It might not look like much, but I used a little contrast (to make the blacks blacker) a lot of structure here (to bring out the lines and background textures, some saturation (to bring the yellow out), highlights to bring the whites down and sharpen to sharpen it all up and get those rear tail lights showing more detail! Remember the devil is in the details, in real life and on Instagram!
This final how to edit Instagram photos is a Black Lamborghini Huracan Performante taken by @carspotting_europe in Monaco. This was a great picture to begin with but I wanted to make the “HOTEL DE PARIS” in the back pop and the sharp lines and red tail lights on the car pop. I used some contrast to make it BLACKER, structure to bring out the hotel in the back, a little bit of saturation to make the orange calipers and tail lights glow as well as some sharpening again to make everything a little cleaner. This photos also did above average when I posted it.
If you want to step it up one step further, then download Snapseed photo editor for your mobile device. It’s the best stand alone photo editing app out there and I go through it STEP-BY-STEP how to use it in my InstaWealth Growth System.
SQUARE CROP vs NOT: Here is the simply truth, I don’t want to have to strain my eyes looking at an image you took on your fancy DSLR (3:2 or 16:9) camera that looks cool on a laptop or big monitor in a landscape mode. On my mobile phone I want to see the damn object (exotic car in this case) up front and personal. SO this is why you should always use SQUARE crop or make sure your photos are edge to edge for the object you want to show off. Don’t make people pinch and zoom to look at your photos if you want them following you and coming back for more. This is Instagram, YOU need to adjust & optimize your images to reflect the medium that it’s being consumed on (mobile devices).
For more STEP-BY-STEP walk throughs of how to edit Instagram photos so they POP and get maximum engagement, sign up for my InstaWealth Growth System where I will walk you through the editing process from the Instagram app.