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A Guide To Instagram Photo Editing

You can't polish a turd...but you can roll it in glitter.

In an ideal world we'd always be able to take well-lit, well-composed photographs for our Insta feed. But sometimes that's not the case. There's an array of problems potentially lying between you and a flurry of red hearts: suncream-smeared lenses, the poor lighting of a Friday night bar, blurry faces. Without a clue, the most stunningly beautiful sunset you've ever encountered with your own eyes will sadly not translate onto IOS. So let us be your guide.

Go vertical
With Instagram's update in 2015, they broke out of the square format for the first time with the ability to go vertical or horizontal. Vertical images take up more space in the newsfeed, so are more likely to be spotted as your followers scroll through. To go vertical, simply tap the arrow icon in the left corner when you select an image to post on Instagram.
Think in colour
I always find brighter photos are more likely to rake in the likes than images with little colour or focal point. Look for colourful backdrops for that #FWIS ('from where I stand' to you and me), or just snap your favourite sunnies if abstract compositions aren't your thing.
Sometimes you don't want everything dead straight. Try adding some angle to your image to make it more interesting. Find this in the advanced editing panel on Instagram (the icon is a spanner), and it's the first tab - adjust.
Brighten, brighten, brighten
Brightness has to be my most used tool on Instagram - it has the ability to lift any badly lit image and make it pop. Combined with other adjustments (see below), this tool is crucial.
And the other stuff...
After you've brightened, there's certain other tabs on Instagram that are essential to try out each time you edit. In the order that you see them, those would be Contrast, Structure, Warmth and Saturation. Contrast does what it says - deepens shadows and lifts highlights. To get more technical on this one, you can edit those individually further along the tabs (Shadows & Highlights). Structure is to be treated with caution - avoid faces unless you want to pile on years, but a touch works well on landscapes. Warmth adds a tinge of cool or warm to balance the colour in your photo, in case you found yourself with dodgy light. Then Saturation adds or takes away colour. Here's where you flip to black and white (in that case don't use the warmth tab). Adding about +5-10 on Saturation will bring out the colour in your image without it being obvious.
Other good apps
If you want more control over editing, try Afterlight (well worth the 79p), which has a broad range of tools for Instagram but more in depth. Also Photoshop Express for the sole reason that you can clone out bits of dust and unwanted specks.
Follow Anna on Instagram @annarosejay