21 Aug 2013

Guide to Making Your Photos Look "Hipsterrrific"

It's been so long since I last posted anything on my lifestyle blog and I hereby apologise for that as I've been busy preparing my retakes end of this year! Life's been pretty much very stressful so here I am with a new post on teaching you how to make your Instagrams look good... or at least good in my opinion.

I'm definitely not a master or guru in this area, I just like to explore new ways of designing and editing my photographs, especially when I'm on holiday. Recently, I've also bought a white table for me to study at my balcony (free wind and bright sunlight), so that's my new Instagram partner now :)

Many of my followers have asked me which apps did I use to edit my photos/add overlays from #brenoverlays/add words/yadda yadda... So I've decided that I should make a guide to explain my process of editing my photos that I upload onto my Instagram! :)


1. Apps used & reviews

(Those that are ticked are the ones that I use on a daily/weekly basis)

I'm a big fan and avid user of Vsco Cam (free), PicFX(paid), PicsArt (free), Diptic (paid) and Squaready (free). I downloaded Studio (free) and Flipagram (paid) this morning so I haven't got the chance to explore them fully yet so I can't really say if I love using them or not. Phoster (paid), Montage (paid), Phonto (free), Mextures (paid) are occasionally used as not all photos need so many layers and layers of editing. I've also been using Afterlight (paid) more frequently recently and it's not too bad..... I edited the picture below mainly using Afterlight, it's effects are special and can be found on no other app.

But for now Studio has given me quite a good impression and I might soon prefer it over Over (ok no pun intended) as the overlays are free and I do not have to keep buying new overlays even after paying for the app itself. (Yes I'm using the paid version of Over and its a freaking money sucker ok).

The 360 (paid) app is probably the most special photography app I have on my phone...... I'll leave you to think which images did I use this app on and what effects does it have :) Will make a guide for this app soon.... when I see the need to use it.

2. How I edit my photos using various apps

Here's a photo of an elderflower cupcake: 

First, I'll be using Vsco cam to edit this photo. The new Vsco cam interface is more user-friendly (with the clearer "undo" and "back to original" buttons) and versatile as higher levels of exposure/contrast/whatever/filters can be added to the photo. The number of filters are still the same though.

Here are some of the filters inside:

 You can even adjust the intensity/opacity of the filter by moving the circle leftwards!

After making sure that the filter looks ok on the photo, you can proceed to the "Tool" section to edit the exposure/contrast/temperature/saturation/vignetting of the photo and also to crop the photo. 

                                                     Adjusting the exposure of the photo...

And wazzah....

Now I'll be using PicFx to edit the same raw image of the cupcake.

PicFx is mainly about adding layers and layers of filters to your photos. Their filters are stored in cute little "albums" - Classics, PFX Film, Vintage, Urban, Cross Process, Light, Space, e.t.c.

Follow the yellow boxes...

Before adding any layers, I would always increase the brightness of my photo by clicking this paintbrush button (yellow box)

Explore the effects listed in this scroll in your photos! 

The small album-like sets below are the various filters, scroll to the right and you will find more. 
The bar on the right is for adjusting the intensity of the effects and filters on your photo!

For this photo, I used PFX15 and PFX5. Remember, the order of filters is very important when you edit your photos using PFX as different orders can give off different effects!

Remember to click this add layer button after you have used a filter to lock the filter in. You can undo this action by clicking the button next to it. Notice the - and + on them?

Drawing/Overlays on photos

For drawings and overlays, my helpful buddy would definitely be PicsArt. 

Select "Photo" if you are working on a photo in your gallery 
and then select the "Gallery" option.

I chose a photo of a puppy in this case to work on.

If you would like to draw on the photo, select "Draw".
Personally, I use a stylus to do all that drawing.

Select the squiggly line to change and choose the paintbrush you would like to use.
(it's something like photoshop)

Next, select the colour palette to pick the brush colour you would like to use.

Remember to select the paintbrush option before you start drawing, if not, nothing will appear!

Tip: If you would like to zoom in/out, select the eraser before doing so as that would prevent you from drawing unnecessary stuff on the photo.

To add an overlay, select the "Add" button, then the "Add photo" button

I have an overlay album in my phone so that it's more convenient for me to select which one to use.

After selecting the overlay, press the "Normal" button at the bottom right hand corner of the screen to change the effects for the overlay.

To make it white, select Screen or Lighten.
To make it black, select Darken or Difference.
(The black effect only works on near white or white backgrounds)


Tip: Sometimes when your background does not have any contrast with the overlay, it's hard to differentiate between both. Hence I would always adjust the opacity so that I can select the best position to put my overlay. :) (Remember to adjust the opacity back to 0% once you are done!)

And we are done! Don't forget to click the tick on the top right hand corner and save your masterpiece!


Basically there is much more to be explored within these photography apps and for the first image in this post, I used Diptic and Studio to edit it :) It is close to impossible to create a complete guide on how to maximise the use of each app as there are just way too many methods to edit your images! 

At the end of the day, the recipe to having a beautiful final product is all about creativity, exploration, experimentation and knowing what apps in your phone could cater to your needs. I always have an image of the final product in my head and would then automatically use the various apps in my phone to make it work :)

If you have any questions and feedback, do direct them to my ask.fm and I'll reply them there! What are your favourite photo editing apps? What sort of photography do you enjoy dabbling in? Do leave a comment below!

Signing off,

Credits: Brenoverlays, PicFX, VscoCam, PicsArt