@How to

How I edit my Instagram photos: Part II

March 27, 2017
Instagram part II

After the popularity of my first Instagram photo editing post on how to create white backgrounds using the free app Snapseed, I thought it would be appropriate to share more tips and tricks I’ve learned over the last 2 years since then. Most of these tips show you how to edit your photos to have crisp white background and bright saturated colours. For a general overview on how I create bright white backgrounds to my lettering photos, refer to the original post. Here, I will be giving solutions to the most common problems encountered when trying to create that nice white background in your Instagram photos using Snapseed.

One side of the photo is overexposed

For an overall, crisper picture with highly saturated colours, it’s best to make sure that your picture is evenly lit. This means that even though your original picture is dark, it must be evenly dark all around. It ensures that after you edit the photo, one side will not be overexposed. Taking your photo in front of the window is a good idea if you want more light, but don’t do so if it only makes the top half or the left half brighter. Instead, step back a bit and don’t let the natural light shine directly onto one side of your photo.

Bad photo (left) / Good photo (right) – the left side of the left photo is too bright. The right’s is uniformly dark.

The left photo’s left side is slightly over exposed.


The colours in the photo aren’t true to life

I’ve discovered that adjusting the warmth of your photo before you begin using the selective tool ensures that colours are as true to life as possible. If your photo is warm (i.e. the “white” part of your photo is yellow”), decrease the warmth. If your photo is too cool, increase the warmth. Play with the warmth until the ‘white’ parts of your photo are no longer warm or cool toned, and are instead, neutral.

Warm vs Cool image

Warm vs Cool image

After editing

The colours in the photo are washed out

To avoid overexposing your photo and decreasing the saturation, make sure your points for selective brightness are in all four corners of the photo, away from the colourful areas. See the below for an example. You can then adjust how far away from that point you want the brightening to be, so you can avoid over brightening the central area.


Help! I’ve accidentally got an unwanted smudge on my photo

If you’ve accidentally gotten an unwanted pen mark in your photo, use the healing tool to remove those spots. Zoom in as much as possible before using the healing tool, or it will ruin the rest of your photo

See that orange smudge below the pen?

I want the colours to be brighter and more saturated

Increasing the overall saturation can cause the rest of your photo to have a yellow tinge, especially in areas that you want to keep bright and white. To avoid this, use the selective tool, and hover the red cross over the coloured areas that you want to increase the saturation of. This way, it only increased the saturation of your selected colour, not the overall photo. From there, you’ll want to increase the saturation and brightness untill it looks good to you. Do this after the background is whitened.

I want to remove harsh shadows next to things in my photo

To remove harsh shadows next to props such as pens and accessories without washing our your photo, use the exposure brush tool. As with the original post where I use the exposure brush tool to increase the brightness of the background, you can use the same technique but zoomed in more to “overexpose” the shadow and remove it. I usually zoom in and remove shadows up close at 1.0 intensity, then zoom back out and go over those areas at around 0.3 or 0.7 intensity.

Before, with harsh shadows to the right

Before, with harsh shadows to the right

After, without harsh shadows

After, without harsh shadows


If you want me to answer more of your questions regarding how to achieve the white background look, leave a comment or message me on Instagram. I’m more than happy to help!

Stay creative!

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