Photo editing trends on Instagram are advancing rapidly. Remember when the feed was filled with heavily filtered, square cropped photos?
That was only a few years ago, but in 2020 this style seems so outdated that you might be posting a daguerreotype.
What seems like an interesting and original photographic composition can quickly become a tired cliché.
Your average Instagram user spends almost half an hour on the app every day, meaning photos that looked fresh a year ago have lost some of their sparkle. You want to follow the latest Instagram photo editing trends to grab their attention.
Below, we’ve rounded up the best X styles for 2020!
Top 10 Instagram photo editing trends
“No edit” edit
Instagram used to be the place for flawless, curated images: pristine brunch plates, cool beach photos, and bright interiors. But that aesthetic is over.
In 2020, users prefer photos that look good real. Images with a little texture are more interesting than perfectly edited landscapes or portraits.
You don’t need to drop all the edits for this trend to work for your brand. You can clean your photos by removing imperfections or dirt with an app like TouchRetouch.
Adjusting the brightness or contrast will also subtly enhance your images. Learn more secrets to editing your photos while keeping them natural looking.
Not for the drop, but the first months of 2020 were characterized by isolation. Almost everyone is at home, many of whom do not have an Instagram husband to pull off their looks.
This makes it difficult to look for an eye-catching background and get the perfect photo shoot.
As a result, the humble mirror selfie is on the rise again. These images look a little more candid and natural than staged photos, and as a bonus, you can shoot them without a tripod.
Even retail brands are turning to self-portraits for a new angle. Fashion brand Aritzia’s spring campaigns feature models taking selfies from their phones at home, resulting in some charming lo-fi looks.
To maintain the throwback appeal of this format, consider increasing the graininess in a tool like Adobe Lightroom to add the type of texture that characterizes the film. Or use Afterlight to add fine dust and light leak effects to photos.
maximalist food photo
For a long time, her food pictures on Instagram were neat and refined: a square of avocado toast on a pastel plate, an artistic cappuccino, a perfect Momofuku cake.
Now, this aesthetic sounds a little stale, like a day-old donut. Instead, viewers crave food that looks lively and messy.
These food shots are dynamic or close-up rather than perfectly plated, and – sorry for the wordplay – they look good enough to eat.
To achieve this look, you want to edit your photos for high contrast and saturation to get a crisp and vibrant look.
Photo editing tool VSCO is great for food photos with a set of filters that enhance your images. Use a filter like G3 to add vibrancy or A3 for clean, bright tones.
Imperfect beauty portrait
In line with the “no editing” trend is the widespread adoption of imperfect beauty portraits.
This trend celebrates diversity and originality by showing real faces and bodies in all their glory. Instead of removing wrinkles, imperfections and other “imperfections”, these details are emphasized.
This trend is great for brands looking to build their reputation for honesty and reliability. Gillette Venus has done a great job of sharing unretouched images of women with stretch marks or body hair with the #MyHairMyWay campaign.
Other skincare, beauty, and personal care brands are turning to this trend, too, perhaps realizing that models with perfect skin probably don’t resonate with customers looking for acne treatments or eye creams.
These photos often look unedited, but are often optimized for Instagram anyway. Usually this means increasing the brightness and contrast to bring out more of the imperfect texture that makes them so interesting.
The “G” series filters from VSCO are great for subtly enhancing your portraits, gently flattering all skin tones while keeping everything natural.
We’ve come a long way since Instagram launched in 2010, baby. Remember when the platform only allowed square photos?
Even after Instagram loosened restrictions to allow other image formats, vertical photos took a long time to emerge. Now, they’re finally making a comeback in the spotlight.
Vertical photos give your images more impact by filling the screen and eliminating distractions. They also give you new opportunities to play with composition and framing to create amazing images. And it’s a gift for serious photographers who hate to crop their images to fit square format.
This long format is particularly well suited for nature photography where you want to convey a sense of scale and grandeur.
It’s also great for fashion shoots and lets you share lots of details without awkwardly cropping your model.
Before posting, make sure that the square version of your image appearing in your grid still looks good! Even in a full-length photo, the center of the image should be of interest.
Vertical photos should have an aspect ratio of 4:5, ideally 1080 x 1350 pixels. You can find a complete guide to Instagram image sizes here.
Clinging to a single color family, images appear clean and vibrant in flow, standing out like Rothkos towering in a crowded art gallery.
This monochrome look is dramatic and interesting, giving a simple product photo an editorial feel.
And bold colors or a bright background stand out on your Instagram feed, that’s exactly what you want to do.
Different colors evoke certain moods and emotions: red is energetic, orange is happy, purple is creative, pink is romantic. Choose a color that reflects how you want your audience to feel about your brand.
Remove distractions from your background, such as dirt or shadows, with an app like Touch Retouch to enhance your images. It helps you remove unwanted objects from your photos while maintaining the natural look.
A more versatile tool like Adobe Photoshop Express can also help you dial up the saturation of your highlights while keeping your photo balanced and beautiful. Or try another feature-heavy photography app, Darkroom, to adjust the colors in your photos.
Another trend with a retro kick is neon glowing brightly all over Instagram. Also known by a sexier nickname, it seems like everyone is bathing in neon light these days.
Suitable for cinematic shots, dramatic portraits or fitness brands that convey an active and energetic mood.
You can achieve that sultry mood in your photo montage by placing pink and blue lights on either side of your subject. But an even easier method is the aptly named Neon app, which is packed with colorful filters.
artistic still life
Not every photo in your Instagram feed has to be a product shot or even directly related to your brand. You can build your followers and engage your audience with beautiful photos and videos that set a mood, enhance your aesthetic, or offer visual inspiration.
By treating her Instagram account as a mood board, Glossier gained a massive following even before launching her first product, posting over 125 dreamy photos of landscapes and objects in her distinctive pink palettes. They are still excellent at still life art:
Surprising your audience with stunning images in 2020 is one way to cut the noise. Instagram users are overloaded by content; a dreamy photo is a great palate cleanser. If you can make your product shots look like works of art, better:
Good lighting is the foundation of an artistic still life. But ingenious editing takes it to the next level. Pixlr is an easy photo editing app that includes a host of presets and tools like Color Splash that enhances the highlights of your photo with a stunning effect.
Apollo is another great photo editing app for creating dramatic shadows or changing the lighting of your images to compensate for limited natural light.
Or try an app like AfterFocus, which lets you slightly blur the background of your shot to highlight your subject.
Creativity pays off here; Download and play some new vehicles!
You can always count on Gen Z to change an Instagram trend, and 2020 is no different. This year, teens have taken up a healthy hobby: creating collages to celebrate high school graduation and posting virtual yearbooks on Instagram.
Collages have started popping up on Instagram over the past few years, and this trend shows no signs of fading.
Combining photos, illustrations, and text, collages give your Instagram posts a friendly and relaxed feel. It’s a great way to add variety to your feed, enhance word-based images, and add fun and creativity to your account.
There are loads of apps for creating fun collages. Unfold is a popular option with lots of great templates. Or try Adobe Spark, which is simple, clean, and optimized for social use.
After testing hiding the number of likes on posts, Instagram is moving to make likes private across the platform as part of their strategy to make the platform a more connected, community-driven place.
Without each post demonstrating its relative popularity, many influencers and brands feel free to experiment with their posts, sharing interesting and factual content rather than what they think will perform best.
If you want to show your original and experimental side, try playing with flash effects. They are clear and highly focused but not polished. Instead, they tend to look a little gritty and raw, with too much grain and texture. They make portraits more interesting and add a sharp editorial flair to product shots.
To achieve this effect without any extra equipment, try David’s Disposable, an app that lets you emulate the disposable camera flash effect with your smartphone. For more precision, invest in an external flash unit and sync it to your iPhone camera with a device like the Tric. This will give you more control and quality than using the built-in flash on your iPhone.
Or you can always use a real DSLR and upload your pictures to Instagram from there. (We won’t tell anyone!)
Editing Instagram photos with Moyens I/O
Time saving tip: You can edit your Instagram photos to achieve all these effects directly in the Moyens I/O board. No more editing photos on your phone, emailing yourself and then uploading them individually to your social media management platform! The video below shows you how to crop, align, filter, and more before scheduling your posts.
Are you ready to take your photos into the next ten years? Remember that trends are supposed to be fun – if you enjoy the content you create, your audience likely will too.
Save time managing your Instagram presence by using Moyens I/O to edit, schedule and publish posts, grow your audience, and track success with easy-to-use analytics. Try it for free today.