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Instagram is a wildly popular social media app, and it’s a fantastic way to market your salon. But with more than 300 million users worldwide, standing out from the crowd isn’t easy. One of the most important aspects of cultivating a captivating Instagram account is to pay special attention to photo quality. Instagram is all about the photos! Makes sense, right? Here are some photo-editing tips to help you take your salon’s Instagram to the next level. Special thanks to Tiffany Sherman of Lacquered Up in Sola Salon Studios at Times Corner, Fort Wayne, IN, for sharing this photo of her studio with us to use as an example. She took a great picture of her space that required only minimal edits – a perfect example to show how subtle changes can really help your photo shine!

Use Filters Sparingly

Filters are great! They add some character to photos with minimal effort, and they help to mask some common photography errors, like under or over-exposed photos. However, be careful with the strength of the filter. And consider what you are sharing a picture of; for instance, if you’re trying to show off the great color you just created, show the true colors and consider sharpening the photo instead of adding a filter. Take Tiffany’s photo, for example. Using the Valencia filter helped brighten up some of the shadows, and made the photo more engaging. However, we only used the filter at 81%. Any stronger, and it would blow out the images, making the highlights too light and obscuring the gold text in the sign at the top of the image. To adjust a filter’s strength, simply double tap on the filter and use the slider at the bottom. Tap on the checkmark when you’re finished! See how using Valencia helped brighten up the photo? The shadows are less intense, and you can see more details. Also, the lighting in the studio is cool, so the original photo looks a little gray. The Valencia filter helped warm up the image and make it look more inviting. The effect is subtle, but that’s what we were going for. Tiffany’s cute studio looks even more adorable and inviting in the after photo!

How to Edit Using Tools

While filters can be a great way to edit your Instagram photos quickly, the Tools feature allows you to have more control. Some filters alter the color or focus of an image, which isn’t always a good thing. If you want to showcase the way a photo looks in real life (like a before and after hair photo, or a picture of nail art), you probably want to enhance the original photo without altering the color. This is where Tools comes in! As an example, we are going to use the same image of Tiffany’s studio. To edit using Tools, tap on the wrench. Along the bottom of the Tools screen, there are several options to scroll through. For this example, we used most of the Tools (but not all of them). Here is each step of our editing process, so you can see how the photo is altered slightly with each Tool used. First up is Brightness. Since the original image is a little bit dark, we increased the brightness. When we clicked on Contrast, the photo looked best without any alterations, so we kept the Contrast where it was. We upped the warmth a little bit to make the photo look more yellow instead of gray. This makes it look more inviting.

We decreased the Highlights a little bit to help the gold lettering on the sign look more legible. The Shadows were perfect as they were, so we didn’t mess with them. And finally, the original image was ever so slightly blurry, so we sharpened it up. And now we’re ready to share!

Every photo is different, so the edits we made here won’t work universally. The best way to learn how to use all the Tools is to play around with them. Instagram makes it easy to play around with the Tools, and figure out the best way to edit each photo. Here’s a little tip, holding your finger down on the image during any part of the editing process will show you what the original image looked like before you started editing. It’s helpful to toggle back and forth from the original photo to make sure you aren’t going too far. Successful photo editing is all about subtlety. To learn more about getting the most out of your salon’s Instagram, click here.

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