Admittedly, I’m a big fan of using a DSLR for my Instagram pictures and seeing as I own one, why not use it? That being said, sometimes Iphone is best (see this post for an example) and from all the reactions and questions that I got from posting this, I thought it was time to address what I use to edit on the go.

I revealed via Insta story that my Big Ben photo initially looked something like this:

unedited iphone photo big ben

Evidently, from the before and after snaps, you don’t need anything fancy to take a good photo for Instagram. It’s all about what you do during post-process that makes the difference (I’d say 60/40 in favour of editing). When I expressed this on insta story, the responses I received were varied.

Photographers thanked me because they are sick of people, even aspiring photographers themselves, thinking that using an expensive camera and lens equates to a high standard of photography. I use a basic Canon with a portrait lens and every professional photographer I’ve consulted about my kit has affirmed that this is totally appropriate for the kind of street style shots that I want. What appears to be a misconception in the Instagram world is that the camera is a magic wand that can make miracles happen. This is so untrue it hurts and so annoying when people ask ‘what camera do you use’, as if that actually makes a huge difference. Lenses however, are a little more special, although I’ll save you the trouble of asking ‘what lens should I get?’ If you’re after that blurred background all it takes is an aperture of 1.8 and below to achieve it.

On the other hand, the response I received from other bloggers after posting the ‘before and after’ photos at Big Ben was that of shock. The reason I wrote the series of posts about ‘Taking Creative Control’, particularly the one about identity, is because I wanted to make it clear that learning to edit your own images is crucial to your brand (not to mention it’s also a vital skill as a blogger). By knowing how to edit, you’re not as dependent on someone else for content.

It’s not about having a trained photographer but all about the lighting, composition and editing. It’s actually all about you and how good your eye and feel for things are!

Example 1:

iphone 6+ gold lips selfie

CONDITIONS: It was 9am in the morning, the lights in my room were off but I had a crack in the curtains, which was all the light that it took to take this shot.


  1. I passed this through quite a few apps on my phone, starting with Facetune. I smoothened out my skin and used a brush to even out the colour.
  2. Next was Lightroom where I desaturated everything and increased the clarity and contrast. As this shot was taken in a dark room, I had to increase the exposure too.
  3. I brightened key areas with Snapchat’s selective tool (my favourite thing and I don’t really use anything else for portraits on this app!


CONDITIONS: It was a foggy day in Hong Kong, my friend shot this whilst crouched in the middle of the road.


  1. Again, desaturation (except from my skin but on consideration, I would make that less orange) and a lot of clarity, contrast and sharpening.
  2. I put the brightness up and used Snapseed’s selective tool to increase the brightness on my back.

I don’t use presets or filters for my Iphone pictures and I’ve stopped using VSCO as I found the tools too clumsy. I only use the three apps, Lightroom, Facetune and Snapseed and it’s all about fine tuning the image to achieve a natural skin tone (except for that Cheetos situation in my HK picture, it’s really bothering me now!) and the rest is personal preference.