The 5-minute Instagram edit

Skip to a section

Oh no!

You have 5 MINUTES to upload an image to Instagram before you need to dash to Full Court Press for your next coffee meeting with a seriously profesh businessperson. Writing a short description with tags is simple, but editing your content to fit your Insta feed takes an age.

So how do you edit an Instagram photo under pressure?

The longer you stare at the image as your finger is sliding along the vibrancy bar, the less you are able to judge whether you’re perfecting the colours in your image to fit your brand, or if you’re hallucinating that your image is cool rather than warm toned, and it’s wayyyy off. 

~ Take a breath ~

It’s a wonder how ‘the speed edit’ isn’t considered eligible for the 2020 Olympics.

Obviously you’re seriously busy as a small business owner, and ensuring your photos are edited to brand identity perfection is not highest on the priority list. But making images uniform doesn’t need to be time consuming.

Knowing what steps to cover and creating a routine will make you super efficient and streamline your process of editing social media content.

So, rather that doing what you usually do, ask yourself:


What would Georgia De Lotz do?

We’ve consulted our top product photography babe Georgia for some expert tips on keeping editing short, sweet and effective.

1. Adopt a preset

Consistency is key to a perfect feed, and creating and using a preset can save you from trying to match your new image to what you already have.

Georgia has a fave preset she uses in Lightroom to get her image looking like her others, and then tweaks it to perfection. (But don’t JUST rely on presets, like you wouldn’t just slap on an Instagram filter would you?!)

Spend one minute fiddling with the white balance, opacity of the filter, shadows, and saturation to get it juuust right.

Getting that photo edit Instagram ready

2. All about that aspect ratio

When you’re editing you want to make sure you have cropped your picture to best suit the platform it’s going to be uploaded to. 

Georgia uses a ratio of 4:5 for her Instagram feed, and suggests that you save your image in a range of aspect ratios for accessibility in the future. You don’t want to waste time trying to find that photoshop file and having to re-export your pictures.

Spend a minute cropping and aligning your frame.

3. Tap that clone tool

Who knew it was so easy to erase imperfections? The clone tool is super handy for removing tiny marks, and can be found on most editing applications (Pixlr, Photoshop, e.t.c.) and really ups the quality of your images.

However meticulous you were at swiping away any dust bunnies on your flatlay, you’ll always be able to find a small mark, smudge, or chip somewhere within the frame. Removing this with the healing or clone tool can perfect your image and make it infinitely more professional.

Georgia comments that she sometimes uses this tool to even remove light switches if they are a distraction from the image subject. Just don’t go too crazy with your new power of erasure.

Take two minutes to zoom in and check for any blemishes.

Don’t abuse your new power

4. Fix those lens warps

This is more of an advanced tip, but one which is vital to consider if you like clean, straight lines in your feed.

“Some lenses warp your pictures and you’ll find your straight lines can end up curved” according to Georgia. She uses Photoshop and Lightroom which have options to detect what lens you used and can correct them.

That last minute will be spent fixing the lens warp on your image.

Now you know your 4 key steps for super efficient editing that’ll lead to MAXIMUM consistency for your Insta feed – and it shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes!

Also if you’re not clued up on the miracle of free social media scheduling apps like Later, then what’re you waiting for? It’ll save you sooo much time.

And if you’re looking for more helpful tips on using Instagram to it’s fullest, check out our other blog posts on that exact topic.

Loved this article? Say thank you with a pin!

The Author

Save & share

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest

More like this, plus seven free checklists

Join our mailing list for sickenin’ advice from our blog, updates on our Bristol workshops, some sales promotions (hey, ladies’ gotta hustle) and the occasional lovely offer too.

Plus! Seven free small business checklists. They’re well good too.

Other articles that might tickle your fancy

Laptop on a pink cushion inside Studio Cotton

8 boring reasons why your competitor has more Instagram followers


3 basic reasons why Linktree is still bad for SEO


7 (plus 3) smart & easy things to do *after* your Instagram post goes viral


6 frustrating ways your brand is damaged when someone regrams your Instagram content

A fancy GIF of our seven free small business checklists

Fancy seven free brand and marketing checklists?

Join the Studio Cotton mailing list for heaps of free advice for creative small businesses. You’ll also get seven totally free checklists, and we think they’re ruddy wonderful.