How I Insta-edit Macro Photos

A friend of mine, Angela Campbell, asked me on Facebook to do this post, so this is thanks to her request. It will be a 2 part post. The first will be simple editing on Instagram and the second will be how to take better pictures. I am no expert with my camera, but I do love to make photos, so bear with me if I don’t give you all the minute details.

I do my best work with a Nikon D3200. Photography magazine calls it a good soccer mom camera, so it’s not something that professionals use and is very reasonably priced. It is a DSLR camera and I own 3 lenses for my camera. Two came with the package when I purchased the camera at Costco and my husband gave me the 3rd, which is a 40mm macro lens, for a Christmas present.


In August, my daughter and I went to see Stinky at the Denver Botanical Gardens. Lots of things caught my eye while we waited in line for over 3 hours and this butterfly feeding from this flower was one of them. I had my macro lens on for some pictures I’d been taking earlier, so I cautiously got closer and closer to this butterfly. It kept moving around the flower, feeding from each of the yellow stars in the center of the flower and it didn’t seem to care that I got right up in its space. I snapped pictures on the automatic setting of my camera that has a flower picture on it as the butterfly circled. The image above is the raw image as it came out of my camera.

I take a lot more pictures than I share. Many are out of focus, or I don’t like the background, or the subject isn’t in a flattering position. I believe that most professional photographers also take a lot more images than they share, especially in our digital world. It’s not so hard to just hit the delete button for images that didn’t come out the way you expected.

This was my favorite of the many pictures I took of this butterfly feeding. I liked the angle of the butterfly on the flower. In order to make this raw image share-worthy, I did a little editing in Instagram. First, I cropped this image so that it was much closer on the butterfly and flower. It took out extraneous pieces like the corner of the building and the other flowers in the background of the image.

Next, I used Instagram’s structure tool to really bring out more details. I never slide the sliders all the way to the right. That tends to make pictures too harsh, in my opinion. I also used just a touch of increased contrast, pulled in a bit more saturation and increased the sharpness of the image.

As you can see from the images above, the final picture (which is the featured image) still looks like the original, but is sharper, brighter and the subject is clearer. Additionally, the flower looks better because you no longer see the other flower that is behind it because of how it’s cropped. My Instagram friends and followers really liked this image. It got over 1,600 likes and 80 comments. Even more important, it’s my son’s very favorite.

I hope this helps you with some simple Instagram edits on your photos! I don’t want to see the #nofilter tag. Meh. The editing tools in Instagram aren’t crazy making, but they sure can make your images pop.

My name on Instagram is CatMellott. Come on by and say hello!



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