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How I dramatised this mobile photo for Instagram

The future looks bright and no stink-eye cat will get in my way!!

An image, no matter how well composed with expressive subjects can fall just that little bit short due to the dull light of that cloudy day. But with the use of a few mobile photo apps, a little bit of time, the mood of this photo has lifted from drab and dull to bright and dynamic.

Here’s how I did it on my iPhone for the colour version of the recent High Alert Cat post.

I used the apps – Snapseed, VSCOcam and Instagram – mainly to liven up the colours which were rather boring.

Screenshots ordered according to sequence of use

  1. Snapseed
    • The controls are lined up at the bottom of the screen.
    • Used Tune Image to brighten, up the ambiance and contrast of the image.
      • Slide up and down the photo to select the attribute you want to adjust – brightness, ambiance, contrast, etc.
      • Slide left and right to adjust the level of the attribute.
    • Used Drama sparingly to give the image greater definition.
      • Drama likes to desaturate the image so you’ll have to adjust the saturation, unless you like the edgy, wash out effect Drama usually creates. 
  2. VSCOcam 
    • The colour filter options are lined up at the bottom of the screen.
    • Applied the Vibrant(C1) filter, which deepened the colour of the image that I had brightened in Snapseed.
      • Choose the filter you would like to use. Click on the slider symbol so that it appears for you to toggle and adjust the strength of the filter to be applied.
      • Depending on the effect, I may return the VSCOcam filtered image back to Snapseed to refine further the brightness, contrast, etc.
  3. Instagram – The Rise filter creates that warm glow in the center effect that completes the image.

The original photograph, the final image on Instagram and the black and white. 

The mobile photo apps used in this post can be downloaded for free. And while each individual app may take some exploring and getting used to, I am pretty happy with the results that I can get just by editing the image on my phone. I often fiddle with my photos on the train and during downtimes when I am waiting for something.

I’ll be happy to hear if you have other ways of editing to share and other comments. :)


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  1. So fun, I love reading about editing choices and seeing before and after comparisons. :)

  2. Great tutorial! I use Photo Zoom fx and Perfectly Clear to take and edit photos from my phone. I’m going to check out Snapsee now.

  3. I use the very simple PicsArt app to edit my photos. It has a good range of tools as well as some cute clip arts and stickers to add some fun to my photos. Definitely worth a try if you’re looking for something like that.


    • I have PicsArt on my phone but have not really explored that yet until you mentioned it. Now that I looked at it again, I found that it has layer options and blend modes which is something I don’t have an app for at the moment so that’s awesome :D I did not find any clip art though, so I’m not sure if we are talking about the same app :P

      • I’m pretty sure we are! I’ve got one of the old versions as I chose not to update it as it said it may lose some functions to improve the speed of the app. Mines an android app, maybe it’s different on an iphone?


  4. So much to play with… Love the tips.

  5. If only to bring out the cat’s eyes, the editing made the photo! That is one suspicious cat! Donna probably would want to play with the cat, not hurt it, don’t you think? She’s a good girl!

    • Absolutely, cat’s eyes not so clearly defined in the original. In this case, Donna was more interested in the children playing at the nearby playground which is why she wasn’t even looking at the cat :P

  6. I actually think I like the black and white version best.
    Most of my photo editing (more like “tampering”) takes place within the limited capacity of iPhoto, but Lightroom is on my “must purchase” list. Outside of that, I don’t do much smart phone editing and don’t even have an instagram account (though I may cave on that soon simply to follow others).

    • :D The black and white is a direct convert from the colour edit. The gradients in the edit helped the final black and white to have that sort of clarity and look. I am behind the times and depend on my very old version of Photoshop CS2 to do most of my photo editing or tampering, as you call it :P Instagram is good if you would like to have a platform for your mobile photos and if all your friends are there. Otherwise, you may find that just another timesink that may or may not improve the quality of your life. I’m there because I like to check out new things and so far, it is a visual scorecard for me for experimenting with mobile apps for photos and posting everyday. I’m glad you like the black and white edit. My horror will be if someone actually said they preferred the original, non-edited photo D: Bwahahahaha!

      • lol. Well what’s another timesink when I’ve already got Facebook, Twitter, and a blog, really?
        Your last comment makes me think back to those multiple choice questions in school – often when I got one wrong it’s because I had the right answer initially and then changed it. I’m always worried about doing something similar when tampering with my photos.

        • I think your worries are misplaced and you can trust your own judgement :P And it is very hard to do wrong when you take Moses and Alma to such scenic areas! :D Lucky them and you!

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