How I edit my photos & plan my feed for Instagram! (PLUS the tips & tricks you’re dying to know)

So.. I bet you’re scrolling through the Gram’ stumbling across pictures on social media feeds that make you think, “HOW DID THEY DO THAT!?” Well my friends, if this is you, then you are in good company because that was me too!  I still get super inspired when I feel that same way. I have learned so much from other bloggers, you tubers and IGer’s (Is that even a thing? lol) that has helped me find my style and learn how to plan a cohesive feed of my own. Everyone’s editing style is different, unique and there is no wrong or right way to do it. It is a process that is all to personal taste. I am in NO way an expert. I’m just a gal who loves photography, creating and editing who wants to pay it forward! Through this blog I am simply sharing what works for me. I love to read editing blogs and I find them so helpful and interesting! So, I thought maybe some of you would, too! Lets get into How I edit my photos & plan my feed for Instagram! PLUS the tips and tricks you’re dying to know.


We can’t begin without the basics. The equipment that I use is either my DSLR Canon Camera or my iPhone 8 Plus. Most of the time for Instagram im using my iPhone. To me there is something so personal about “in the moment shots” that only a mobile can produce. I love being able to quickly give an insight into my life and have an almost instant sharing ability that is very convenient and portable. (Note that for my professional photography services ALL imagery is taken with my DSLR and edited in Adobe LightRoom. But this post is about the Gram’ – So back to it!)

APPS That I Use 

Facetune 2, VSCO, Snapseed, Planoly, UNUM, Adobe Lightroom Mobile

The main two apps that I solely use for editing my pictures is Facetune 2 for whitening + the detail tool and VSCO. I do keep Snapseed and Lightroom around for very specific editing needs such as de-saturating a small area or removing unflattering yellow lighting which I’ll go into later with examples of both!

1.The very first step of my editing process is looking at my image and deciding If I need to bring it into Facetune 2. If there is anything that needs brightened up such as white dinner plates, mugs, table cloths or even concrete I may do that then select the detail tool to bring out my desired areas of focus. I like Facetune 2 vs Facetune Classic because of the ability to have intensity sliders with what you are doing.

2. My second step is adding my filter! And the MAIN thing people seem to want to know the most is what filters I use and which are my favorite! I have tried so many different ones from other apps – but I am a VSCO filter lover, hands down. They are pleasing to my eye and range from subtle film like tones to those that are vibrant or clean. My personal favorites are 05, A6, (All of the A series is wonderful), M5 and HB1. I use some that are free and the rest I did purchase. I always begin my editing process filter first. Again this is just personal preference. When you open your VSCO interface – this is what it will look like!

VSCO with my Favorite Filters

3. The next step in my editing process always begins with a crop at a 4×5. This is the MAX size that Instagram will allow and takes up the most space, which is good! Most images will automatically go to IG in a 1×1 format. Once I choose my filter that I think looks the best I will adjust my exposure, Contrast, Straighten my image, sharpen, temp etc until it is pleasing to my eye. Lately I have been adding a touch of grain at a +2 to +7 to give it a more authentic film look since VSCO filters and presets are based off of classic film tones.  Here are a few examples of a before and after!


4. My next step after editing my images to my liking is pulling up my UN UM app! This app is the bees knees because it allows you to add, place and move all of your photos around so you can see visually what your feed will look like before ever posting it! This app also helps to keep track of what content you are putting out. For example making sure you don’t have two side by sides of the same thing in your Instagram Grid. Think of your Instagram as your own mobile magazine. I used to use Planoly as well – but I only use this app to store my preset hashtag lists or to auto schedule if its a business post!

5. POST IT FOR THE PEEPS! This is literally all I do for my editing process. Now lets see some examples of tips and tricks with the whitening tool, what selective de-saturation looks like, and some food and product photography tips!

Facetune 2 Whitening & Detail Before and After

BEFORE (I chose this photo due to all of the white in the image AND its our favorite restaurant in Destin Florida!)
AFTER (Dont go over board here with the whitening tool. A little goes a long way. Remember the key is to look natural not like you over edited it! 😉

Facetune 2 OR Snapseed for Selective De-saturation of colors or distracting objects

BEFORE. Notice the unflattering Yellow lighting
AFTER. Notice the desaturation of yellow lighting.

Food and Product Photography tips!

Ever wonder how food and product shots are taken? STAGING! It’s all about the natural light baby and details. Let’s hear it again in the cheap seats: NATURAL LIGHTING AND DETAILS. One of my big photography passions is food and product shots for Preston Belle Designs! For me each shot begins with the setting and adding in a scene that draws your audience’s attention to your image. I set up a mock table with props! Great props to use are old sheet pans, cutting boards, measuring spoons, wood boards, paper, cooking utensils etc. Really this is limitless and you can use ANYTHING that you want to set up your ideal scene. I love a good coffee pour myself! For food photography I use my DSLR quite often and I also use my phone for these from time to time. Make sure to move near bright windows or natural light and try to avoid direct harsh sunlight. Setting up foam boards as a light reflector can do wonders! For smaller product shots a black box or white box works wonderfully and tones down unwanted highlights which make editing much easier!

Staged Food Scene by my window with natural light with wood planks as a mock table, fresh beets I purchased for this shot, a left over pumpkin from Halloween, Bread from our counter and my husband Donnys  homemade cider! Shot with Canon 50mm 1.8 and edited in Adobe Lightroom
Staged Food Scene by my window with natural light. Wood planks used as mock rustic table, and items from home. Shot with Iphone 8 Plus and edited in VSCO.
Staged Food Scene by my window with natural light. Old baking sheet made the perfect backdrop for this avocado. I used chives from my herb garden for subtle details. Shot with Canon 50mm 1.8. Edited in Adobe Lightroom
Another Product Shot For Preston Belle Designs! This was a staged scene shot with my Canon 50 mm 1.8 but edited in VSCO mobile and the other editing steps I listed above! Wood planks as mock table with props next to my window with natural light.


Apps Used: Facetune 2 (paid), VSCO (Free w/ paid filters), Snapseed (Free), UNUM (free)

Steps Used: Facetune 2, VSCO, UNUM (if needed to look at feed) then POST.

Tricks: Whitening tool in Facetune 2. Remove yellow lighting with selective tool in snapseed or brush tool in snapseed OR with the black and White tool in Facetune 2. Details tool in Facetune 2 if you want to add to a specific area.

Favorite Filters: A series, 05, Hb1 and M5

I hope you found this blog insightful and helpful for you! I enjoyed making this and if you have any questions please feel free to ask! I am happy to help!

With love,

Ashley @PBD

What is it REALLY like to quit your day job and start your own business…?


What is it really like to quit your day job and start your own business? I’ll tell you…

Scary as hell. But worth it.

For years we had dreamed and fantasized about my husband leaving his job as an 18 year veteran Bench Jeweler to start his own business. He was amazing at what he did at the bench. And at home in what little free time he did have between the balancing act of a job, fatherhood and being a husband – he became a self-taught custom hand engraving artist, also. At first it was just a conversation in passing without much merit until the years passed and the stresses mounted. His life of being the “Great and Powerful Oz” behind the curtain began to take its toll. I could see his once clean pressed work shirt slowly evolve into a noose he wore around his neck day after day. A work horse, if you will, of building the dream of another instead of building his own. With intense pressures, work loads, mountains of stress and high company expectations a top producing jeweler faces inside of a major corporation – we knew our time was now or never to make the leap into freedom. Our freedom.

With two kids, himself and me to support – – we had some serious soul-searching to do. Could we even do this? Would we be able to earn an income? How would we financially back our business with only ourselves to lean on? Would our kids be okay? Would we fail? Would we succeed? How the hell do we do this? What would we tell our families!? – Did we even care and did that even matter anymore…

Our decision came after we realized all of those questions and concerns played second fiddle to the life we were currently living. We wanted a NEW beginning, a brighter future, adventure, travel, life by the sea and happiness. For that to happen we had to be brave enough to take our lives back into our own hands – so we did. We met with our CPA for guidance and probably a little “You can do this!” pat on the back before we jumped. The following day my husband quit his job – pulled out our retirement – and we hit the road running into the light chasing a better tomorrow. The rest is history. Sort of… We have a long ways to go!

Believe me, these decisions didn’t come without fear or apprehension. But we as a husband and wife – mother and father – knew that for our family this was our path and the direction we wanted to pour ourselves into. “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” – Muhammad Ali

There have been MANY bumps in our road so far. From illnesses, to insurance. From finances to vehicle break downs. From purchasing equipment to all the unsexy detail work of running a business with love –  we have experienced what seems like a lifetime of getting unexpected kinks worked out in just a few short months. I’m pretty sure this comes with the territory of entrepreneurialism and more will happen over time. But as for now we are heading into calmer waters and sailing off into our official launch this month! Exciting, amiright’?!


With love,