{ Blog & Stuff }: How I Edit My Instagram Using VSCO

TL;DR: How I Edit My Instagram Using VSCO here

{ Shannon Silver in Cabo, Mexico // Champagne at Shannon's }

A while ago, I posted on Snapchat a text message between my boyfriend and me. I had got to his text about 30 or so minutes later saying “sorry, I was making an Instagram”. He is an awesome blogger boyfriend because he just gets it… & he knows I was being dead serious.

I, then, mentioned on Snapchat that an Instagram post takes me about 30 minutes at the very least and I had a tonnnnnn of questions about that so I figured I’d take you behind the blogging scenes. Also, these type of posts from bloggers are my favourite and I find them very helpful. Do note, that I am a psychotic perfectionist, so sometimes half the time is me battling myself.

Instagram is a very powerful social media tool & quite frankly, one that is talked about often and always making the news waves.

tbh, it is my favourite social media outlet. I like it because I see it as a curated feed for everything Shannon Silver.

Instantly by looking at my feed, you have a feel to my aesthetic and vibes.

You can get the raw look on snapchat, but I personally like curating my feed (& I like using Snapchat as a BTS peek, like me on the ground with a marble slab in my tiny studio apartment to get a photo for the gram in the one area of lighting or with a tiny LED lamp in my very dark apartment #BLOGLIFE).

I know the trend now is to make Instagram more raw, but honestly, then what’s the point of Snap..? also, I may be psycho, but I find editing my photos therapeutic??

A huge piece of advice I tell aspiring bloggers is to really spend time with your aesthetic.

Seriously. It is extremely important.

One thing I strive for between my Instagram and the blog itself is for them to be homogenous. What do I mean by this?

I want my Instagram to represent my blog and my blog to represent my Instagram.

Now, for a post for another day, 90% of my photos on the blog are from my DSLR and edited in Photoshop. However, on Instagram, all my photos are editted via VSCO. If you are unfamiliar, it is a rad app based here the Bay (Oakland) that really takes editting your photos to the next level. You can download it here.

It comes with a few free filters, but for the most part, they are an in-app purchase of roughly $2.99 or something extremely reasonable. If you are serious about upping your aesthetic, I urge you to purchase every single filter pack. All in all, it will be less than $20 which is less than a cocktail at a douchey mixology bar where it takes you 15 minutes to get a martini sooooo again… speaking of reasonable (anyone know the reference? 😉 ).

Also, this is not sponsored (a girl can dream), this is one of my most used apps on both my phone and Photoshop.

I do have all of the filters, and to be honest, I decide my edits based on the photo itself. That said, I have a handful that I find myself constantly using, so let’s draw this social media curtain and I’ll show you exactly how I edit my photos.

OKAY so this may sound hypocritical since I am doing this post, it is extremely important for you to create your own aesthetic.

I am walking you through mine, and my thought process behind it, but it is to keep up with my aesthetic.

The point of this post isn’t to copy me to a T, but to see the process that goes into creating my aesthetic and to hopefully inspire your thought process on Instagram editing & your mood. Obviously, there might be similarities which is okay! But do note, this isn’t THE way to do things, it’s just how I do things, and how I see my aesthetic.

In order to be a successful (or semi-sucessful) blogger, you have to be authentically YOU.

So let that shine in your voice and aesthetic.

If you are inauthentic, it will be very obvious to your readers (especially if they know you personally), and honestly, you will burn yourself out because NOT being yourself is a lot harder than being yourself – think of all the work catfishers go through! But seriously, and more importantly, what the hell is the point?

Being yourself is, hands down, the best way to gain engagement and followers, end of story.

Blogging is extremely time consuming to be anything but you. One of the best parts of having a blog is having a little space on the internet that is YOURS.

K moving on….

One thing you will notice about my instaesthestic – & remains constant no matter what filter I use are the following:

⚜ cool tones (heavy on this)

⚜ a kiss undersaturated (I find this brings out the cool blue tones)

⚜ hazy fade (heavy on this too)

⚜ light on shadows (this brings out the fade even more)

⚜ light grain (I feel like this complements the fade)

If I could describe my instaesthetic it would be cool & hazy.

I am very much attracted to blues and dreamy haze like a moth to a flame.

On that note, if I use a photo that is full of blue, like this or this, I actually UP the saturation a bit to bring out those blues, do a heavy cool temperature and an even heavier fade to cut through the saturation.

Now, if your focus is bright, crisp colours, you will want to up the saturation, no fade, and high contrast. If you want pink to be your main focus, mess with the tint (this brings out the magenta or green in your photos… + for magenta and – for green). Again, play around with all of this. I mentioned here that finding your aesthetic and vibes takes time, but you will find it.

After I finish my edits in VSCO, I do some finishing touches on Instagram & on occasion Snapseed. Happy to do an additional post on this, but I use instagram to amplify the look I’m drawn to, especially the fade – so that cool haziness I am all about – it’s like my finishing touch,

I use Snapseed for selective saturating (since I use low saturation, sometimes I want a piece to pop, like red lips or a killer sunset) but more times than not, to fix blemishes. #realtalk

Now… let’s get into it!

PLEASE NOTE: All before pictures are COMPLETELY raw and unedited.





{ How I Edit My Instagram Using VSCO // Champagne at Shannon's }


{ How I Edit My Instagram Using VSCO // Champagne at Shannon's }


{ How I Edit My Instagram Using VSCO // Champagne at Shannon's }

This is one of my favourite filters. A little fun, since it is from the Aesthetic series, and the theme of the post seems to be aesthetic.

I love it because it brings out the whites, mutes down colour a bit, adds a hint of a fade (which I add more to), and has a heavy contrast. I like it a lot for flat-lays for that reason. To bring out the blacks and whites, I upped the exposure and contrast.

Although they both are square images, I used the crop to even out the photo

NOTE: Filter A3-A6 is FREE right now on VSCO for a limited time. Holla!




{ How I Edit My Instagram Using VSCO // Champagne at Shannon's }


{ How I Edit My Instagram Using VSCO // Champagne at Shannon's }


a8 Process

This is a go to filter of mine for obvious reasons. It is heavy on both cool tones & fades. It mutes highlights and shadows, which I like since it adds to the Fade effect. This one is in the Minimalist Collection (which includes the J series – more on that below).

I like using this one when it is dreary outside, since it emphasizes the San Francisco fog & I am a sucker for that heavy fade.

I don’t use the perspectives much, but I did it to rearrange things. It brought me closer to the screen and also elongated my legs through perspective & illusion, NOT AND NEVER Photoshop. Just call me Kendall Jenner over here.

PS – can we talk about how amazing these leather bells are?!



{ How I Edit My Instagram Using VSCO // Champagne at Shannon's }


{ How I Edit My Instagram Using VSCO // Champagne at Shannon's }


{ How I Edit My Instagram Using VSCO // Champagne at Shannon's }

The C series, Vibrant Classic, are interesting because they seem so out of my aesthetic. However, for that reason, I like using the C series for travel. It brings a pop of dreamy colour, it really amplifies sunlight, and adds a boost of saturation. I kind of like having my San Francisco photos being low saturated, but my travel (especially tropical travel) being a little bit brighter.

To keep it along my vibes, I add a heavy fade, lower the saturation (so instead of being lack of colour, it’s more on the pastel side), and will up the cool factor.

Another thing to note was how I cropped it for the full effect of looking out into the ocean.



{ How I Edit My Instagram Using VSCO // Champagne at Shannon's }


{ How I Edit My Instagram Using VSCO // Champagne at Shannon's }


{ How I Edit My Instagram Using VSCO // Champagne at Shannon's }

These are the Essence Filters. They are known to really bring out shades of indigo – which is music to my ears, seeing that indigo is a mix of blue and purple. They also make the highlights on the creamier, golden side.

I liked this one in particular since it brought out the sherbet tones. The jeans I was wearing have pink tinted destruction as well as my spiked julius, so I liked how it complemented that.

Also, I caught this during Golden Hour outside on my fire escape so the lighting was on major point, and this filter really emphasized that. For that reason, I didn’t bring things down to be too cool.

Not much extra edits here than my usual, but it still makes a difference.



{ How I Edit My Instagram Using VSCO // Champagne at Shannon's }


{ How I Edit My Instagram Using VSCO // Champagne at Shannon's }


{ How I Edit My Instagram Using VSCO // Champagne at Shannon's }

Ooooh so this is one of my absolute favourites. Again, a part of the Minimalist collection.

This filter really mutes the colour but It does darken things a bit, so I like to up the exposure when I use this AND bring down saturation even more.

You might have noticed I only brought down the temperature by 1. I did that to save the whites, rather than turn them light blue, but it still has a cool feel to it.

I find this filter with a heavy exposure really produces clean, minimalistic photos. Great to bring out the blacks or whites of a photo when used in conjunction with the exposure tool.

⚜ WILDCARD:: Smoke me, I’m Dope


{ How I Edit My Instagram Using VSCO // Champagne at Shannon's }


{ How I Edit My Instagram Using VSCO // Champagne at Shannon's }


{ How I Edit My Instagram Using VSCO // Champagne at Shannon's }

Now this one is a wildcard, because I rarely edit my photos this way but thought it was worth mentioning.

So I wanted the theme of this photo, for obvious reasons, to be green. I found a filter (J5 – Minimalist) that emphasized green. For that reason, I also upped the saturation.

I wanted to get rid of some of the pink that my lighting was giving me for whatever reason, so I brought down the tint (aka more green than magenta), as well.

Next & this is where things get a little interesting, I went through to edit the colour of the highlights and shadows and made them both Green. This is a great way if you’re looking to make the focus of a photo the colour itself to create a certain mood.

…Now, please don’t tell me I have to explain why I chose Green for this one, do I? 😉


PS – Since this post is full of information, and I am extremely busy at my FTJ this week as holiday aftermath, I will not be posting on Friday. See you guys on the ‘gram until Monday! x

Now, if you made it this far, would love to know – what are YOUR favourite filters and why? What is YOUR aesthetic? Also, share your Instagram and let’s follow each other. I know know we are all thirsty for followers, but I love connecting with people & seeing people vibe with their aesthetic. Shoot me your handle below!

  • Mallory

    Your blog name is so cute!! Thanks for sharing your editing tips!

    mallory | http://www.the-drifter.com

    • Thank you so much babe! Kind of like a cheeky play on Breakfast at Tiffany’s 😉 – hope you found the tips helpful! x Shannon

  • YES thank GOD for this post, ok listen, for me its all about easy, I wish I was better with making things PERFECT but its just not me! I love that you simplified the process and now I see what these apps can do! Thanks for shairng

    • Thank you so much, love! I remember when I was first learning VSCO and it honestly seemed so overwhelming so I am so glad I was able to simplify it. Also, I have a “s easy it’s ridiculous” tip for you for VSCO. If you like the way you edited a photo, select it, click the … in the lower right corner and select “Copy Edits”. Then, select the photo you want to edit, click those three dots again and select “paste edits” – this is a MAJOR time saver!

      I am thinking the S2 and S3 filters would be great for you & your brand – brings out black and white backgrounds but makes pinks just POP! x Shannon

  • Such an in depth walk through, I love this! I had no idea VSCO originated in Oakland (Oakland pride, my husband is from there!), it makes me even more happy to support it.

    • Thanks babe! I am so glad it was helpful. Yup! Right across the other side of the Bay Bridge! They show up in my LinkedIn all the time LOL – do you use it for photoshop too? It seriously makes editing photos for the blog a breeze! x Shannon

  • Great post!! Thanks for all of the info! 🙂


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