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Behind the grid #1

Yay for a new blog series!! I love when I come up with ideas that can span across months and that I can do multiple versions of. It’s nice having, almost, back ups for when I feel low on content and inspiration and just need something to go up.

I came up with the idea for “behind the grid” whilst writing a post about how i edit my instagram photos. It felt a little tired, boring and not in line with the standards i try to hold my other content to. So i had a little brainstorm and got thinking, then decided on this.

Once every few months, i’m gonna take a look at my most recent 9 instagram photos and chat through each one, touching on how i styled them, how i took them and how i edited them. 

In my opinion, it’s a pretty cool way of discussing all the ‘behind the scenes‘ aspects of instagram and you’ll get an insight into how much work i actually put into each photo. Sometimes it takes me ages to get one photo, other times it’s a very quick ‘snap and go’ situation and it’s less than 10 minutes for shooting and editing. Totally depends on the photo i want to post that day.

My instagram is a combination of photos taken of me, either by my wonderful friend Louise or my instagram boyfriend Max, with that lovely depth of field that we all enjoy so much, and outfit selfies. They’re quite a recent addition to my instagram theme but they’re proving so popular that i try to do at least one a day. I’ve been trying really hard with my styling and developing my fashion sense so it’s really heart-warming to read all the lovely comments. Since posting outfit selfies, I’ve also had a lot more fashion brands reach out to me for collaborations. This has been quite crazy to me, and something I am definitely enjoying. A lot.

So, let’s take a look at the last 9! I try to post at least once a day, if not twice, and I’m juggling outfit photos and camera photos right now. It’s turned into quite a nice little pattern!

Post number one is an outfit selfie i took outside my front door – the pile of leaves and dirt in the corner isn’t the nicest thing to look at but we’re #keepingitreal. I had gotten a clothes delivery a few days before and also wanted to wear some clothes i hadn’t worn in a little while, so out came the dog jeans again! I also wanted to wear my new boots from New Look, they’re so sophisticated and they are heels i can actually walk in, which is rare. This was a very quick shot as my mum was waiting for me in the car – i took a burst of about 10 and sorted through them, thankfully managing to take one that i liked.

I have to contort my body quite weirdly to get these shots; i hold my phone upside down, just above shoulder length and angled down if i want to get my shoes in. I never know what to do with my other hand, so in the pocket seems to be safest. I’ve never used this backdrop to shoot with before but i really love it, i had originally tried to edit out the orange tones in the brick wall but couldn’t, on my phone, without making my skin grey.

I edit almost all of my photos the same way, with minor adjustments depending on lighting and location. I don’t bother creating presets or anything like that, because what i do is so minimal that it’s not any more time effective. I’ll run through each of the settings for each photo so you can see exactly how i got my desired effect, even though it’s probably super boring to read.

I start by putting the image into Lightroom and putting the highlights right down to 0 – I like that this brings back a lot more details in the image. For this specific photo, I lifted the shadows +70, lifted the whites +23 and darkened the blacks -60. I like my photos to look quite dark and moody, so will rarely lift both the shadows and the blacks. Under the Colours tab, with every image I will always de-saturate the yellow tones, as much as i can. This photo is at -95 – sometimes i can’t completely take out the yellow or it’ll alter skin tones and surroundings.

I then save that edited version and put it into VSCO – an app i’ve fallen back in love with for autumn/winter editing. To make my photos all look similar, i try to use the same filter if i can. For this photo, i’ve used HB2 / Hypebeast and put it down to 10.2. I can’t remember if i had to pay for this filter or not but i literally use it all the time, so it’s worth it. I then upped the exposure by +0.8, and that’s it for that photo! I’m kind of obsessed with it.

The next photo is one my friend Louise and I took on one of our shoot days. I had to recycle these photos for ages because we don’t have time to shoot together until this weekend. Thankfully, we shot a lot of outfits and i was able to get a hell of a lot of use out of them without posting 2 in the same location too close together. This outfit was picked specially for a post that hasn’t been published yet, and i really loved wearing it. This shirt is one of my favourite shirts that i own and we all know how much i love this leopard print craze going on right now.

Highlights -63 // Shadows +58 // Whites +45 // Blacks -30 // Yellow -98 saturation // HB2 filter +8.1 // Exposure +0.8

This third photo is one I actually didn’t think would fit my grid at all, i thought it was too dark and too moody but it actually fits quite well because of the pop of colour. I had recently gotten this cardigan from New Look and this is how i pictured styling it, so i wore it to work and took some photos in my office. I also tried to showcase my new boots in the best way i could. Trying to make this pose look natural was quite the task.

To take this photo on my phone, i took a tip from Amy’s post and used the Dramatic filter on the iphone settings to take it. This already made it really dark and moody so the editing involved lifting it and bringing the detail back.

Highlights -47 // Shadows +46 // Whites +54 // Blacks +36 // Yellow -100 saturation // HB2 +8.1 // Exposure +1.5

This next photo is old AF and shows how desperately i was running out of content. I shot this with Max and Louise back in July or something crazy like that, but just decided it would probably be fine if i re-edited it and nobody would be able to tell. This dress is from Zara but i sourced it on Depop, before the leopard print craze took control of the world, and it’s very short so i am wearing a skirt underneath. I’m not a very girly girl so will always choose boots over everything else, and it looks bloody good.

Highlights -10 // Shadows +53 // Whites +39 // Blacks -48 // Yellow -100 saturation // HB2 +10.0 // Exposure +0.7

I don’t particularly like how i edited this photo, it’s not my favourite on the grid and if i wasn’t so obsessed with order and continuity, i would remove it.

This next outfit photo took me so long to get – i took about a million photos in different locations at work and home, but they just didn’t look right when i edited them. I ended up getting out my softbox and using artificial lighting in front of my wardrobe to get it. These trousers are my favourite thing right now, the colour is so autumnal and i had visions of it with this shirt, i’m so glad it worked out in my favour.

Highlights -100 // Shadows -16 // Whites +39 // Blacks -11 // Yellow -100 saturation // HB2 +5.8

See Also

Another photo from my mass shoot with Louise, this time styling the jumper dress i was sent by a clothing brand. We went down to Leith docks to try and get some shots with the boats in the background, but neither of us particularly liked the lighting. I thought i’d try and edit them anyway, to see what i could do, and ended up liking them enough to post, which was surprising.

Highlights -100 // Yellow -100 saturation // Dark blue -32 hue // HB2 +9.2

The next outfit shot is also for a brand, who sent me the bee bag. I thought it would be funny to style it with my llama shirt and turn it into an alternative take on the animal print trend. It looks a bit crazy given the different patterns going on, but i tried on those trousers beforehand and couldn’t be bothered taking them off. I also shot this with the softbox in my bedroom, after taking some flatlays the night before and deciding i hated them.

Highlights -100 // Shadows -25 // Whites +9 // Blacks -30 // Yellow -100 saturation // red -50 saturation  // HB2 +8.4 // Exposure -1.2

Aaaaand another photo by myself and Louise, in a midi skirt, in front of a door. But it’s a different coloured door so it’s fine, right? This outfit is also being used in an upcoming post, and it was my favourite one i shot that day.

Highlights -64 // Shadows +42 // Whites +37 // Blacks -44 // Yellow -87 saturation // HB2 +9.3 // Exposure +0.7 

The final photo is a simple outfit selfie i took at work yesterday – i like posting a lot of ‘in the moment’ outfit photos instead of pre-planned content all the time. This cardigan was also sent to me by a brand, i didn’t feel very well and wanted to keep it simple and this is what i came up with. I wanted to let the cardigan do the talking. This only took me about 5 shots to get the one i needed, which is rare and much appreciated.

Highlights -100 // Shadows +28 // Whites +34 // Blacks -36 // Yellow -100 saturation // HB2 +6.8 // Exposure -0.3

Well, that was bloody long. Hopefully i find some sort of way to condense this because jesus, if you’ve made it this far i have to commend you. Send you some chocolate or something to apologise.

How do you like to edit your instagram photos?

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View Comment (1)
  • I find these kind of posts so interesting! You Instagram is looking absolutely amazing at the moment, so I was really excited when I saw you’d published this! I used to use Snapseed and VSCO to edit my photos, and recently switched to lightroom. I do have a preset but I edit each individually through it as one preset isn’t going to work for every photo!
    Excited for more posts like these!
    Hels 💗

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