How to Use Instagram’s Editing Tools - dummies

How to Use Instagram’s Editing Tools

By Jennifer Herman, Eric Butow, Corey Walker

View Instagram’s editing tools by tapping Edit at the bottom of the screen. A row of editing tools appears below the viewer.

Instagram editing tools
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The tool name appears above each tool icon.

Swipe from right to left in the row of editing tools to see all 13 tools. Tap a tool to open it below the viewer.

What you see below the viewer depends on the tool you tapped. For example, when you tap the Brightness tool, a slider appears so you can increase or decrease the photo’s brightness. No matter what tool you use, the photo in the viewer reflects the changes you make.

Here’s what you can do with each tool:

  • Adjust: You can adjust your photo in several ways by using the Adjust tool. A row of three icons and an associated slider bar appear below the photo so you can make the following changes:
    INstagram adjust edit tool
    © Soap & Sprinkles
    Use the slider bar in the Adjust screen to change the photo’s perspective.
    • Change the vertical or horizontal perspective of the photo by tapping the left or right icon, respectively, below the photo. After you tap the icon, it’s highlighted in black. The slider bar is a series of vertical lines. Swipe left and right in the slider bar to see the change reflected in the photo. As you slide, the highlighted icon above the slider bar is replaced with a box that shows you the change amount measured in degrees.
    • If the object in your photo appears tilted, tap the straighten icon in the middle of the icon row. Then swipe left and right in the slider bar to tilt the photo so that the object appears straight. As you swipe in the slider bar, a box appears in place of the straighten icon and shows you the number of degrees you’re tilting the photo.
    • Rotate the photo 90 degrees counterclockwise by tapping the rotate icon in the upper-right corner of the screen. Keep tapping the rotate icon to continue to rotate the photo in the viewer.
    • Crop the photo to a specific area by first zooming in (touch the photo and spread your thumb and index finger apart) in the viewer. Then hold down on the photo and drag it in the viewer until you see the part of the photo you want to post on your Instagram feed. If you decide you don’t want to crop the photo, zoom back out to the photo’s original size by pinching your thumb and index finger together in the viewer.
  • Brightness: In the slider bar below the viewer, slide the dot to the left to darken the photo or to the right to make the photo brighter. As you move the slider bar, the photo in the viewer darkens or brightens accordingly.
  • Contrast: In the slider bar, make the light areas of your photo even lighter by sliding the dot to the left. Make the dark areas even darker so the focus is on the lighter areas of your photo by sliding the dot to the right.
  • Lux tool: At the top center of the Filter and Edit screens is an icon that looks like a half-light, half-dark sun. Tap it to open the Lux tool, which you can use to quickly change the exposure level and brightness instead of using the separate Brightness and Contrast editing tools. Move the slider to change the exposure level and brightness. When you’re finished, tap Done to save your changes, or tap Cancel to discard them.

If you want to undo any edits you’ve made, tap the Lux icon and then move the slider to its default location, 50. (The default setting for the Brightness and Contrast editing tools, however, is 0.) When you’re done, tap Done. If you’ve undone any edits in tools other than Lux, you won’t see the gray dot below the tool button.

  • Structure: This tool enhances the details in the photo, such as adding color in an area that appears washed out in the original. In the slider bar, slide the dot to the right to see how the tool increases the details of the photo in the viewer. If you think the photo is too detailed, slide to the left to make the photo fuzzier.
  • Warmth: In the slider bar below the viewer, slide the dot to the right to make the colors warmer by adding orange tones or to the left to make the colors cooler by adding blue tones.
  • Saturation: In the slider bar, slide the dot to the right or left to increase or decrease, respectively, the intensity of all colors in your photo.
  • Color: You can change the color of your photo’s shadows or highlights or both, as well as change the intensity of the tint. Eight colors are available: yellow, orange, red, pink, purple, blue, cyan, or green.
    color tools Instagram
    © Soap & Sprinkles
    Tap the color dot to select a color for your photo shadow.
    • To change the color of shadows in your photo: Tap Shadows, if necessary (it’s the default), and then tap one of the color dots.
    • To change the highlight color: Tap Highlights, and then tap one of the eight color dots, which are the same colors as those used for shadows.
    • To change the tint intensity for the shadow or highlight color: Tap the color dot twice. In the slider bar that appears below the viewer, slide the dot to the left or right to decrease or increase the intensity, respectively. When the intensity looks good to you, release your finger from the dot and then tap Done to return to the Color page.
  • Fade: Do you want your photo to look like it’s been sitting in a shoebox for years … or decades? In the slider bar, slide the dot to the right to fade the color from your photo or to the left to add color.
  • Highlights: In the slider bar, slide the dot to the right to increase the brightness in bright areas of the photo. Slide to the left to darken the bright areas in the photo.
  • Shadows: In the slider bar, slide the dot to the right to lighten the dark areas in your photo. Slide to the left to darken the dark areas.
  • Vignette: This tool allows you to darken the edges of the photo so people will focus on the center of the photo. In the slider bar, slide the dot to the right to darken the photo edges.
  • Tilt Shift: You can blur the outer edges of your photo and keep the center in clear focus so people will automatically look at the focused area. Tap Radial below the viewer to blur all four edges of the photo and keep the center focused. Tap Linear to blur just the top and bottom edges of the photo.

You can change the size of the “unblurred” area of the picture by tapping the center of the photo with your thumb and forefinger. Then spread them apart to make the area larger or together to make the area smaller. Tap Off if you don’t like the changes and want to keep your entire photo in focus.

  • Sharpen: This tool sharpens features that aren’t visible in the original photo, such as the texture on a wall. In the slider bar, slide the dot to the right and left to make the photo less and more fuzzy, respectively.

After you finish making changes to your photo, apply your effect by tapping Done. Or discard the effect by tapping Cancel.

After you apply an effect, a gray dot appears below the effect’s icon as a reminder that your photo now sports that effect.