How I Edit Photographs To Be Light & Airy.

edit photographs to be light and airy girl holding up map

edit photographs to be light and airy legs against a wall with book in hand and flowers

One of the questions I get quite a lot is how do I edit photographs, especially on Instagram. I did write about it before but I’ve changed the way I edit since then. So I thought a brand new post would be a good idea.

First of all the editing process changes slightly if I’m using my iPhone SE or if I’m using my Nikon D750. During the winter months when light is harder to come by I use my DSLR, it’s great for low light and keeps the picture quality I want. During the lighter months I use my iPhone as I get the results I want from it.

If I am using my camera I shoot the image in RAW. I then import it into Lightroom. You can get Lightroom and Photoshop from the Adobe Cloud, which is just under £10 a month. If you love photography it is definitely worth the investment and will help you edit photographs a lot more effectively.

edit photographs to be light and airy the before image

(the before image, can you tell haha?)

Once I’ve opened the image the first thing I do is see if the photo looks right with one of the presets I have. I purchased Rook & Rover Presets to edit wedding photographs with and I love them. The help me achieve the colours I like in an image. That slightly muted tone. If it looks good with it I apply it, if not I simply leave it off.

Once I’ve applied the preset (or not) I play with the light settings. I bring the shadows up to around 80-90 and then if needed I add a little extra on the exposure. Usually around 1.10. This helps to keep my images light and airy.

Sometimes I add in a little contrast depending on the image. This is normally around 10-20 on the slider.

I tend to bring the temperature/white balance of my image down. Preferring the cooler tones, I normally go for around 5000 or a bit under.

That’s all the editing complete, so I export the image as a JPEG. I upload it to my personal Facebook account (on the “Only Me” setting) and then save it to my phone.

edit photographs to be light and airy during the editing process

(after editing in Lightroom)

If I’ve taken the image on my phone I start the editing process from here on wards. Every single one of images since 2015 have the VSCO filter HB1 applied. This helps to keep my gallery looking consistent even when the background change. In the summer months I move away from my white backgrounds slightly and using the same filter keeps everything looking nice still (along with a few other factors.) I’m planning on writing about gallery consistency soon.

Once I’ve applied the VSCO filter. I save my image and then open it up in Instagram. If it needs a little more light I up the highlights a little and the brightness if I feel it needs it. I then cool the image again using the temperature slider. I drop it by 5-10 if I’ve already altered the image on Lightroom or between 15-20 if shot on my phone.

One thing I will always apply is Lux. The sunshine at the top of the editing screen. I tend to add somewhere between 10-40 depending on how much contrast the image has already. I find this helps my images to “pop” on the plain backgrounds.

edit photographs to be light and airy final image girl holding roses

(the final image I uploaded)

And that’s it. I don’t touch any of the filters in Instagram as I find them to be a little harsh and on the warm side for my images. I would definitely recommend downloading VSCO if you don’t have it already. It’s free and then you can buy filters you like. The one I mentioned is one of the free filters.

If you have any questions around editing or any of topics you’d like me to cover around photography let me know and I’ll be happy to answer them or write a blog post all about it.

How do you edit photographs?

If you’d like to get a little bit more creative with your photography you can enrol in my online course here.


  1. Bella

    Such great advice. I’m new to editing photos and tried Lightroom app as my husband uses the desktop version religiously but I can’t work out how to create and save your own preset, which annoys me. At the moment I just use Snapseed and save a few presets which I use depending on the photo. Will definitely download VSCO to give that a go. Xxx

  2. fridgesays

    #thesatsesh this was a fab idea, so glad you did it. its always interesting to see what others do. I love my SE iPhone….but i do think about investing in a decent camera, so totes jel 🙂

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