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Editing Photos for Social Media

May 5, 2017

Hi friends!  I have been getting a lot of inquiries about how we edit photos — both our “professional” images and our iPhone shots — and I am an open book, happy to share anything and everything!  This is such a fun topic for me to comment on because it is what I love to do.  I feel like I could talk endlessly about it (I’ll try not to).  I have a Masters in Photography from SCAD and we just launched a line of Fine Art Prints.  I’ll take any excuse to get out in the world and to create something beautiful.  A day spent shooting and is like magic to me; I would love to pass on some of our enthusiasm and teach you a little bit about our “behind the scenes” process.  I know that learning photography can be intimidating, so please don’t be shy to ask questions.  I would love to play some small part in your photography journey.  Of course, I am still learning too!

Lucy Cuneo Downtown Charleston Lucy Cuneo Downtown CharlestonJasmine Downtown Charleston By Photographer Lucy Cuneo

Charleston is full of “visual treats” and we are so, so lucky to live here.  It is warm, sunny, light-filled and full of pastel painted houses, overflowing window boxes, secret alleyways and beautiful gardens.  It is easy to take a pretty picture, slap a filter on it and call it a day.  I know that we are so fortunate; I will get into shooting in trickier circumstances later on in the series but, for now, I’ll take these ideal conditions and show you how I like editing photos.

Lucy Cuneo Downtown Charleston, Photo editing TutorialLucy Cuneo Downtown Charleston, Photo editing Tutorial

So much of editing is personal preference, there is no “right” way.  I lean towards vibrant yet dreamy images.  I love warmth in an image because I think it evokes feelings of happiness and beauty.  I do 99% of my editing in Lightroom.  I have downloaded VSCO filters for all of my camera systems — Canon, Pentax, Leica — and I work primarily with the “modern films” pack.  Right now, I’m using the Fuji 160C and Portra 160 filters the most, especially for our photographs that are taken outside in bright daylight.

Lucy Cuneo Downtown Charleston, Photo editing TutorialLucy Cuneo Downtown Charleston, Photo editing Tutorial

When editing photos I always look at an image with each filter and decide which I like best.  The images in this post are a mix of both of those filters.  I like to lighten the shadows (by sliding the bar to the right) and bring up the vibrance.  I often add a bit more magenta and yellow under the white balance tab.  I remove the “noise” from the filter by taking the grain all the way off.  For images without people, I like to use the lens correction feature in Lightroom.  This is under the “transform” tab — click “auto”!  It might be a bit easier to follow along on the video at the bottom of this post.  Last, I straighten my image and use the 4:3 crop ratio.

Lucy Cuneo Downtown Charleston, Photo editing TutorialLucy Cuneo Downtown Charleston, Photo editing Tutorial

Forgive me if I am speaking quickly in this video, just nerves!  I’m also planning to cover shooting and editing with the iPhone, what kind of light I look for, and photoshop fixes.  Anything else you’d love to know?

P.S.  This dress is from Hampden Clothing in Charleston.   I tell you only because I have received so many direct messages about it after posting on Insta-stories.  It is the most comfortable, feminine dress for summer — so nice to just throw on, easy peasy!  Do not worry if you don’t live in town, you can shop Hampden’s entire collection online (how cool is that?).   And this is entirely unsponsored, I’m just so impressed with them!!! xo Lucy


Thank you so much to the amazing, talented Pat Black for making this video with us!


  • Reply Anna Brown May 5, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    I love this! Your photographs are beautiful and it is so kind of you to share your knowledge. Thank you!

  • Reply Katie McC | Katie's Kronicles May 5, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    Wow thanks so much!!! People often shy away from sharing how they edit their photos but this is really helpful!!! I love how so many people have different editing styles and shooting styles and can use the exact same VSCO filters but their photos come out looking totally different. The amazing world of photography is awesome! Adore all of your photography! You have a really beautiful voice by the way!

    Katie |

    • Reply Lucy Cuneo May 5, 2017 at 3:29 pm

      Katie, thank you for saying so. Video is scary! I totally agree re different results. There are so many ways to do it. xoxox

  • Reply Susana May 5, 2017 at 2:36 pm

    Thank you Lucy, this video was very helpful. You have the prettiest images. I’m excited to shoot in Charleston next!

    • Reply Lucy Cuneo May 5, 2017 at 3:28 pm

      You will have the best time Susana!

  • Reply Rox-Anne May 5, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    Wow this was really informative! I’m working on a blog post about photography tips for bloggers. I’m not a professional by any means, it’s just beginner tips I have picked up in the last few years. Would you mind if I link over to this post so people can learn editing tips from a true professional? Cheers! xx Rox-Anne Celebrating This Life

  • Reply Bryn Bradsher May 5, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    So excited you are going to be sharing your process! You have beautiful images! I do several similar steps when editing but I already learned a few new features from your video! Thank you so much for sharing!

    xo Bryn

    • Reply Lucy Cuneo May 5, 2017 at 3:28 pm

      I am so glad to hear that, Bryn!!!!!! xxxx

  • Reply Tristan Dennington May 5, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    This tutorial is so helpful! I’m always looking for ways to improve my editing for my blog. Thank you for sharing your process!


    • Reply Lucy Cuneo May 6, 2017 at 6:35 pm

      Glad you found it helpful, Tristan!

  • Reply christiane begin May 5, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    Great tips Lucy ! I shoot with a lot of colored outfits in my lifestyle photos for my blog, I am hesitating on either getting VSCO pack 2 or 1 for my taste. Which one would you recommend ? I Would like my photos to look clean and not to bold because of the bright colors.

    • Reply Lucy Cuneo May 6, 2017 at 6:33 pm

      Hi Christiane,

      Hmm… I have both of those packs and I use VSCO 1 more often. I love them both though! VSCO 1 is a bit cleaner, less vintage looking and you can just turn down the saturation a few notches to make sure the colors are not too bright! xx

  • Reply Aurelia Paquette May 5, 2017 at 7:01 pm

    Thank you so much for this video, Lucy! I’ve been using Lightroom for a while and this gave me some great ideas for how to speed up my process. I cover a lot of travel, and I often find that I have to shoot in open, midday sun, sometimes with backlighting, in order to feature a certain landmarks. Do you have any tips for how to handle these types of shots either during the shoot or in post-production? xoxo

    • Reply Lucy Cuneo May 6, 2017 at 6:34 pm

      Hi Aurelia,

      Can you shoot at all closer to sunrise or sunset? That’s such a tough time of day, especially on people. I would just backlight as much as you can and then bring up the shadows in post to soften the overall feel? Hope this helps! xx

  • Reply Casey Thompson May 5, 2017 at 7:01 pm

    Thank you! One thing I always struggle with is file organization after editing on the computer and posting on my phone. The back and forth is exhausting! Do you have a more efficient solution for that?

    • Reply Lucy Cuneo May 6, 2017 at 6:35 pm

      Hi Casey! Let me give this some thought! xx

  • Reply Cinthya May 6, 2017 at 9:03 pm

    Lucy, thank you so much for the tutorial! Your images are so beautiful and this tutorial was so helpful!

  • Reply Michele May 10, 2017 at 6:43 pm

    Hi Lucy! I love that you are haring your photo editing process, it’s so helpful for me to see. I was curious what kind of camera your used for these photos or what kind you would recommend for capturing blog photos (casual photography, not like your gorgeous fine art photos which I am sure is a whole different ballgame). I currently use an older Nikon DSLR and have a similar photo editing process, but my photos don’t look as bright and airy – I am thinking it might be my gear. Any camera recommendations would be to fabulous 🙂 Thank you so much!

  • Reply Adam March 1, 2018 at 3:41 am

    Thanks. Your guidance and tips are important and we appreciate your efforts for sharing this great information.

  • Reply Casey June 8, 2018 at 1:02 am

    Hi! I just discovered your blog and I love it! How come you do not use the lens correction of people?

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