let's be real. i'm not the first to write about editing my instagram photos. i also don't have the best instagram feed. but what i do know is that i definitely edit every single picture i put up and i do know that since i've started paying more attention to the pictures i post i have more people liking and commenting on my pictures and i've also managed to pick up about 500 new followers in a month. ummm...that's fun! 

so...let me restate - i am not the authority on this. also, this doesn't just have to be for instagram lovers. let's say you have an image of you and your hunk-of burnin' love at dinner and the exposure in that restaurant is just garbage. download my favorite editing app and you'll be able to have all the restaurant selfies you could ever want to print out, use as desktop wallpaper, post to facebook...any of the above!

whether you instagram or not, there's a style of photography each of us is attracted to. for me...i like light and bright. you won't find anything moody or dark on my instagram. this may be because i am the mom of two girls and ever since we had sawyer our house essentially exploded in pink. alas...the majority of my pictures involve either the outdoors or pink this's or that's (clothing, blankies, toys, baskets, etc.). in my research, i've read if you want a lovely feed, stick to a theme.

but back to my photo editing - last month i started using the app afterlight. there are loads and loads of options and filters, but i only ever use the brightness (i always increase), and the contrast (i always decrease). it really is that simple! and if ever you're in a dark space and the picture really doesn't turn out...try increasing the exposure using the exposure slider, then go back and use the brightness slider. boom. all of a sudden you're a photo editing master. it really really does make all the difference!

you can also crop your image strategically to make it prettier than what it looked like in real life.

you can see in the picture below i saw a wall of mugs at anthropologie. i loved the way the wall looked. in hindsight, i guess i could have moved some of the mugs from another row to fill in the blank spot in the lower left corner...but i didn't. i was the weird girl with my phone out trying to snap an image as quickly as possible. seriously...i always get so nervous taking these sorts of pictures in public. i'm always terrified an employee is going to tap me on the shoulder and tell me to put my phone away...and then i'm going to have to make a scene. kidding...i'd just run from the store.

so anyway - i snapped the picture. opened the mugs image in afterlight. increased the brightness. decreased the contrast. cropped the image. straightened the image. done. boom. to some, maybe it doesn't look better. me...definitely looks prettier and more intentional.

and yes. you can totally eff up when editing. ummm...case in point.

i'm not even sure what happened here. the image on the right doesn't look this exposed on my phone, but obviously it is. the wrapping paper has nearly disappeared!

note to self - ease up on the brightness slider. there can be too much of a good thing.

my best advice when editing - it definitely takes some practice and i'm certainly in that phase, but if you want your images to come out looking a little more polished...find a favorite photo editing app and learn how to use it. you won't regret!