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My heart soared when a notification on my cellphone showed NatGeoTravelShots liked my Instagram photo. As a photographer, this is something I have wanted ever since the first time I picked up a camera. 

Today I want to share how you can do it too and really get your images noticed.

bel woodhouse
Bel Woodhouse

It also helps make your pitches stand out, sell your photos along with future articles, and build up your social media followers. And the best part is that it can be done with any photo in your phone’s photo library, whether taken with your camera and imported to the phone or taken directly on the phone.

Plus, it’s free. It can be done without having to spend a fortune on fancy editing software. Just by using an editing tool you carry around with you every day, your smartphone.

In fact, the photo NatGeoTravelShots liked took less than a minute of editing while enjoying a cup of tea sitting in bed one morning. That’s how easy it is to make an image shine and really get noticed. 

Here it is, the before and after shot so you can see the difference. This was taken very early one morning so is a bit dark and as you can see, no editor would jump at this without editing.

phone editing image
phone editing image going lighter

But, while most smartphones these days have great editing options, the image has to be worthwhile. To choose the right one, make sure it’s an interesting subject and is different than the hundreds of other tourist photos you see.

In my example above, I lay down on the wooden deck to get a different perspective and really provide a sense of distance drawing you out to the lake.

Now quick, go and grab your smartphone and try this with me. Look through your photos and choose an image you think will attract an editor’s or publication’s attention. I’ll take you through three easy steps on how to edit it.

Click on your photo then open the edit option. It may be top right or bottom left but all smartphones have one. Let’s have some fun. Ready, edit, go…

1. Lighten your image.

All phones will have different editing buttons, so to lighten the image look for the brilliance or brightness options. Some phones will have both so click on each and experiment to see how it effects your image.

Lightening your photo brings it closer to an image seen naturally with the human eye. It brings up color and detail, making it more pleasing.

2. Sharpen it a little bit.

Next, we want to add some extra definition to make every part of the photo stand out. To do this you want to find the definition or sharpness options. Some phones will have both. Once again see how this tool enhances your image.

3. Add a splash of color.

The last step is to deepen the color. There will be a saturation option. This will add more of each color. The blues of the water will be bluer making you want to dive in. The greens of the foliage will bring up different shades showing Mother Nature at her best.

But, be careful not to add too much color or it will look fake. So just a splash to deepen what is already there.

Now go have some fun with it, I hope you have as much fun as I do making images into works of art.