Quick Photo Editing Tips for Your Instagram Dog

So our Arne has been on Instagram since he was puppy and Instagram has become a pretty big part of our lives, which some people may not get. They may understand it a bit more if they knew just how many friends we have met through having an Instagram dog, and that’s not just dogs that we know on Instagram. We’ve made actual, real life friends that we enjoy spending time with. Arne doesn’t have a huge following, around 15.3K at the moment, and that’s ok. Aside from all of the wonderful people you can meet, it’s also a really great way to find out about local events and companies. My husband and I can be really introverted and have a tendency to spend a lot of time at home, mostly watching tv (we’re in the golden age of tv folks!), so finding fun dog events or just meeting up with dog owners for a quick playdate in a local park is something that is casual and fun enough to get us out of the house.

So as you can imagine, I take a lot of dog photos. If I’m being honest, I take a ridiculous amount of photos. The thing is, I’m not photographer. I don’t have a clue about aperture or f-stops. I take all of our Instagram pics on my iPhone7. It’s handy and it takes decent photos. I think the trick to taking great iPhone photos is in the editing. I have tried so many apps and I have a lot of the Adobe for iPad apps as well. Over time you realize which ones really work for you and they become your go-to apps. What works for me with a little white/grey dog, may not work as well for someone with a different colored dog though. Before we get started on the actual apps, remember that natural lighting is so great for capturing the best shots. Indoor lighting is going to require a lot more work to get it just right, but sometimes you have catch your dog making an adorable face, even if it’s in your dark kitchen.

So let’s start with this photo:

This adorable photo of Arne was taken a few weeks ago when we visited Santa Barbara. We had just arrived at Kimpton Goodland, which like all Kimpton hotels is really dog friendly. Unfortunately, the lighting isn’t great, it’s taken at an angle, and Arne isn’t looking so fresh.

So where do we go from here?

1. ColorStory app. I used ColorStory on my iPhone for this one. ColorStory is great because there are so many packs with every kind of filter you could ever need. My go-to in ColorStory is the Airy pack with the Picnic filter.

Ok, I could have stopped there because that’s a cute photo. Let’s keep going and work on it a bit more.

2. Snapseed

Take your photo that you’ve just saved from ColorStory and open it in Snapseed. I’m doing this tutorial on iPad, so the options when you open the app look slightly different than on iPhone.

Tune Image gives you the basics: Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, Ambiance, Highlights, Shadows, and Warmth. I’m going to turn the Brightness level up just a tiny bit to +10

Next I’m going to go back to menu and select Brush and I’m going to select Saturation -5 and just take a little bit of the Saturation out of the fur around Arne’s nose, but just a tiny little bit or it will start to look too grey. When you use the Brush tool, you use your finger. It may be helpful to zoom in when using Brush.

Next I’m going to go back to the menu or select Effect to choose Dodge & Burn on the Brush. This is something I use to get Arne’s white fur looking really fresh and clean. I’m going to use it on those same areas that I circled and also on the inside of his paws and legs. This may be an option for white or lighter fur dogs, but it may not work for dogs with darker fur.

Disclaimer: I think Arne looks adorable without editing, but if you’re posting on Instagram and you’re hoping for a repost or feature with an another account, your chances will be much greater if you edit that photo.

So now Arne is looking so white, like he just came from a grooming!

Sometimes I like to select Details in the menu and turn up the Structure and Sharpness just a tiny bit, maybe to a +7 or +8 if needed, which is what I did on this photo. You can judge how high to turn those things up based on your photo. You want to keep some softness, especially on a dog.

After adjusting the Sharpness and Structure to a +7, I went back to the menu and selected Glamor Glow. I adjusted the Glow to just +8, changed the Saturation to -1 (this is really dependent on the photo and I usually turn the Saturation right back up to how it was prior to selecting Glamor Glow) and Warmth to -10, which gave me this photo:

As you can see, the photo is a bit angled. You can really see it on the headboard. You can adjust your photo in ColorStory when you first select the photo to edit, or you can do it at the end in your photo album, which is what I did here:

Now I have my final photo ready to be put on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

So we went from this:

To this finished photo!

Kimpton loved this photo so much that they shared it on their main Instagram and Twitter accounts as well as Kimpton Goodland’s accounts. The first photo is cute, but it would have never been shared if I had posted it in its original form.

To summarize:

1. ColorStory app – Airy pack with Picnic filter

2. Snapseed app-

a. Do basic Tune Image- adjust things like brightness or contrast

b. Use Brush feature to adjust levels of Saturation and Dodge & Burn

c. Adjust Structure and Sharpness if needed

d. I used Glamor Glow on this photo, but that’s not always needed.

3. Crop/ Frame or adjust any angles

I really hope this helps!


Follow Arne and check out more of his Instagram pics at @ArneDoodle

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