How to Edit Wildlife Photos for Instagram
Updated: May 18
Want to know how I edit my wildlife photos for Instagram? Join me in this behind the scenes video as I share my Instagram tips for photographers who want to share their wildlife photography online. I use Adobe Lightroom to edit my photos, so I will talk you through my step-by-step process, so that you can do the same!
Or, if you would prefer to read a bit more, here is the video transcript:
In this video I'm going to show you exactly how I edit my wildlife photos so that they work on Instagram to ensure that I have a really uniform, aesthetically pleasing feed. From sharing my photos online I've managed to build up an audience now of over 20,000 followers across different platforms. So, I'm going to share with you the tips that I use to edit my photos for Instagram to make photos that really stand out, capture
people's attention, and hopefully inspire them to act base of those photos as well.
Hello! I'm Roxy welcome back to my YouTube channel. I'm a zoologist and wildlife photographer and I like to use social media to tell stories about animal and climate activism. Hopefully inspiring people to change and get involved in conservation initiatives themselves. Instagram is the platform I use the most. I think as a photographer, because it's a very visual platform, it works really well. So that's what I'm going to be focusing on today; editing photos specifically for Instagram and I'm going to be using some animal portraits because, again, they're my
favourite things to photograph, showing you some examples of exactly how I edit them using Adobe Lightroom.
The first thing you're going to want to do is open up Lightroom. Now, if you invest in one thing as a photographer, I would highly recommend using this package. It took me about a year before I finally caved and
subscribed to the package because I thought that phone apps would be just as good and then a friend of mine actually let me try out his Lightroom and I soon realised it wasn't anywhere close to what I was doing on my phone.
I'm going to use some photos that I recently took of the mandarin ducks in the local woodlands near me, showing you how I would edit these photos so that I could then post them directly to my Instagram feed.
What I'll do first is I'll go ahead and start cropping them making sure I have a nice crop that looks nice to the eye. Also, particularly if you're shooting portrait photos, the Instagram feed doesn't allow you to post full portraits, so you do have to crop them down slightly so that you can post the image without losing anything on your feed, so do bear that in mind.
Then the next thing I'll do is I'll go ahead and apply one of the presets that I have already created based on my personal aesthetic. What I'd recommend is spending some time editing a photo to get it exactly how you like it and then saving those as a preset so that you can then apply them to your future photos making sure that all the colours on your feed are looking very similar. Then the next thing I do is think about the colours: did that preset make anything look off at all? Sometimes
they're slightly too vibrant. Although vibrant colours do work well in Instagram, you still want to keep an image looking true-to-life.
Then I like to reduce the blacks because, again, personal preference but I like slightly darker images.
Are you someone as well that shares your wildlife photography work on Instagram? If so, comment below your Instagram handles that we can check
them out and build little community of fellow wildlife photographers that like both YouTube and Instagram.
The next thing I do is I work on enhancing the eyes of the animal. I really like super sharp irises: I normally enhance the saturation just on the iris a little bit and also the sharpness around the area as well.
Then I go on the same tool but instead of iris enhance, I click on
sharpness. I want to be zoomed out a bit and I basically go around all of
the face. I do this on all of my animal portraits increase the sharpness around the face because I feel like it makes the feathers or hair looks so much nicer.
Then, on this guy, my white balance was kind of off; he had a really white face, but you can see around this edge here particularly, it's gone kind of blue, so go on that tool again and then I go into whites. You can see it's not too different, so I bring up the whites here. Then I'll take down the saturation a little bit as well to try and get out those weird hues that were coming in.
I'm also going to do another one because there's still some blues
around the upper banding, so I'm going to go into noise because it's not something I'm going to change otherwise, and I'm just going to warm it up. That's that done! Move out and you can see now it's looking a lot more true to colour than it was before. You can see not that much has changed but it's a lot more vibrant; the whites are whiter, the reds are redder, the greens... erm, yeah it's just a lot more vibrant and that really works for an Instagram feed.
Let's go for this one because I haven't already edited this one yet. This isn't an image that I liked very much: the duck isn't looking in a good direction, he doesn't have his feathers all puffed up, so it's not one I'd probably put on my feed but, I'll see if we can do anything nice with it. I'm going to go for quite close crop on this one.
Then I’d quite like to warm this up a little bit more so I'm just going to increase the warmth and increase the tint a tiny bit too. Then what I'm going to do is come down to the colours bar here because there's some greens in the image that aren't currently really being picked out and I'm going to pull up the greens.
Then again, we'll go into custom, sharpness, and sharpen up his face. Then, oh, this is another tool I sometimes use, teeth whitening because then you can go over the feathers like this and it just makes the whites so much more vibrant which I really like all right.
I'd quite like some more highlights coming through here so we're going to go into this and do kind of like a gradient. Bring up the highlights from the corner of it. Bring up the temperature from the corner... There we go! Those are before and after again, so I've made it quite a bit more orangey pinky.
Once the image is complete and you're happy with it I then export it, transfer it to my phone, and then before just posting, I know it's exciting when you have an image you're really happy with you want to post it straightaway, but I think about how this will look aesthetically on my feed and make sure that I organise my posts in a way which will look nicest. So, I like to line up my post based on what's going to go on top of the one below it, but again play around with it see what works for you.
I hope that video was helpful, and that you learnt some tips that you can put into practice for your own social media. If you would like to learn more about social media I have a completely FREE, yes free, guide available: all you have to do is head to the link in my bio to get yourself a copy. There is lots of information in there about how to build a digital brand.
If you did enjoy this video please do leave a comment, like, subscribe;
having your support on these videos means the absolute world to me. I'll also be putting out lots more videos over the coming weeks and I have lots more on my channel so feel free to have a browse and check some of those out for some more wildlife and photography-related content as well.