Photo Editing for Beginners with Lightroom Mobile

Lightroom Mobile is a FREE app you can download and use right now! You don’t need an adobe cloud membership to use it, just sign up through the app for an Adobe ID and you’re ready to go. Once you download the app, you can follow these 5 tips for editing your photos and creating your own preset/aesthetic!

  1. Start with a good, clear photo.

    This is so important. With a good, clear photo you can manipulate it almost anyway you’d like! Whether you are shooting with your smart phone or a camera, you can edit any photo using the Lightroom app. Start with your object of focus and make sure your camera is centered on it. If you don’t know how to frame a photo, there are thousands of articles available that go deep into this so I won't do that here, but if you have trouble but the grid on your phone. Let that guide you into getting your object of focus centered!

    You also don’t normally want to be standing in direct sunlight. If it is super sunny out find a spot that is shaded! If you get to pick when you want to take a photo try right as the sun rises or at golden hour! Always make sure you are facing the light source and not away from it. It will be hard to edit you out of the shadows!

    Also make sure to stand in a way that feels natural and comfortable to you, don’t just try to copy something you saw on IG especially if it doesn’t feel right for you! Go with your gut and move in a way that feels good! Just keep moving and trying different things. Make sure the person who is taking your photos knows to keep shooting until you say your done! You’re sure to get a good photo this way. Also try different angles and backgrounds if you can’t seem to get it right. Whatever you do, just keep going! Don’t get caught up in your inner mean girl’s voice about how you aren’t looking perfect or you are too awkward. I promise no one is going to think about your photo as much as you. People will probably only look at it for a couple seconds anyway!

    Here are some photos to show you different angles to show how changing your perspective makes a difference!


2. Create your “look”

There’s a lot of talk today about creating your aesthetic on the gram. All that means, is creating at cohesiveness about your feed. If that’s something you want to do, then here’s a few tips on how to do that.

  • Use consistent colors in your photos. Yes, you can apply the same filter to pictures but it doesn’t always make the photos look similar. That’s when your backgrounds, etc. come in. If you want to have all pink photos you might have to take some photos with pink things haha.

  • Don’t stress too much about it just have fun! Some people get way too much into this & in reality it does not matter as long as it makes you happy!

Here’s two photos taken at the same location & using the same filter for reference.


3. Use Lightroom cc for mobile

I make all of my presets that I use on my photos on Instagram & on the blog. I have several that I use with iPhone photos that you honestly cannot tell much difference in them versus my camera.

Here is how I edit a photo every time. Remember each photo will be different and you will have play around with these settings until you achieve the look you want!


  • I always start with the light settings. I bring up the exposure, just a little to brighten the photo because I like a bright, colorful photo. This also helps to bring out colors and objects. I typically bring down the contrast a little to take out some the the darkness, being careful not to wash out the colors. Next I bring down the highlights and bring up the shadows to continue to brighten up the photo. I play with the whites depending on how much are in the photo, usually I leave the whites alone or bring them up just a little. The last thing I do in the light settings is bring up the blacks quite a bit to really make all of the colors show up.


  • Next I move onto the color settings. I bring up the temp & tint to warm up the photo just a little and add some pinks. I also bump up the vibrance and saturation a little to really make the colors pop.

    • Then I move onto the colors specifically in the MIX icon in the color setting.I go through each color individually to achieve the certain colors I am looking for. Here is a simple run down of what I do, but you really just have to play around with this yourself and see what works for you!

      • RED: Bring the hue down to get a deeper red/pink color. Leaving the saturation alone most of the time. Brightening up the color by bringing up the luminance.

      • ORANGE: Bringing down the hue to get a less yellow-orange color. Bringing up the saturation just a little and then the luminance down a bit to make the skin not look so bright.

        ** Red, orange, & yellow will affect your skin & hair the most. So if you have an orange tint on your skin or very yellow hair you can fix it here by playing around with these colors.

      • YELLOW: I typically don’t like yellows in my photos so I leave the hue alone, bring down the saturation to remove them and bring up the luminance to lighten them out.

      • GREEN: For the hue I like to make the green more aqua so I will bring it up some. I desaturate my greens by bringing it down some & also taking the luminance down a little.

      • TURQUOISE: I like to make I color really aqua so I will take it down a lot towards the greens. I will add a little saturation and a little luminance to make this color standout.

      • BLUE: For blue, I usually only have to edit this a lot when the sky is in the background. A lot of the times my preset will make the sky look a very bright aqua color, which if you scroll down in my IG feed you will see a couple photos this way. I don’t really like that so I will try to make the sky look as natural as possible. On average, I will make the blues more blue by bringing up the color some away from the turquoise. I will desaturated it just a little by bringing it down and make the color darker by bringing down the luminance.

      • PURPLE: I don’t usually have a lot of purples in my photos so editing them doesn't really do anything. Sometimes I will bring down the saturation and luminance a little anyways.

      • PINK: For pinks, I also don’t really edit too much here. I just bring down the saturation a little.


  • In the effects setting, I like to bring up the clarity to make the photo clearer. You can also you the dehaze setting to make a photo less fuzzy, like if there is a camera glare or if the sun in shining too much. I always bring up the dehaze a little. If you scroll down on the setting window, you can see more options for effects like adding texture with the grain feature. I don’t use this much but it is really popular.

    • In effects there is a button that says SPLIT TONE. Here is where you can create a “filter” look all your own. You can select a color and that color’s saturation to lay over the highlights and shadows. Again this is something you will have to play around with to see what works for you best. I usually will not saturation the colors too much. My highlights are set to a pink color with a 15 saturation and my shadows are set to a peachy color set to a 6 saturation. Then I use the balance at the bottom to add more pinks than oranges by bringing it down.


  • In this window, you can add sharpness to your photos. I will do this a little if I think the quality isn’t what I would like it to be but you can eliminate that if you focus your photo well like I mentioned earlier. Sometimes I will add some sharpness anyway because IG has a reputation of lessening the quality of your photo when you upload it.. ugh. Here there is a cool feature called noise reduction. Use this if your photo was taken in low light and it looks really grainy, unless of course you like that look then just keep it. If you bring up the noise reduction it will make your photos appear more smooth.


  • Once you are finished creating your edit. You can save the settings to use it on any photo by creating a preset. Just click the three dots in the top right hand corner and click “Create Preset”. Next, leave all the boxes alone & just name it whatever you’d like! Now you can take those same effects and apply them to any photo. Keep in mind, you WILL have to play around with the setting in the LIGHT window each time as you most likely are not take the same photo in the same location every time. Then more you play with the app the more you will learn!

Check out my instagram for a Full video tutorial here!


4. Plan

If you want to create a more cohesive feed, I like to use the app UNUM to see what photos would look best alongside the ones I have! You can use it to plan out photos & captions, find the best times to photos, & see what hashtags work best for you! I like it the most because it allows me to see where I can mix the perspectives and not always be posting the same thing!


5. Post

Just do it! Create something you are proud of and share it with the world! Instagram is a fun place and I know it has the potential to be overwhelming and full of comparison. Just be YOU and if you feel like instagram just makes you think about all the things you lack, maybe you need to unfollow some of those people who make you feel that way. Sparking joy doesn't have to just be about cleaning out your closet if someone you follow brings you down, unfollow. I fill my feed with people who inspire me so every time I open the app I’m inspired and challenged to create something new. Also, lots of dogs and memes.. can’t do wrong there.

I have met some people cool people through the platform so I encourage you to reach out to people you like and that inspire you! Engage with their posts, dm them questions you have about what they say. The majority of the people on there want to make real connection & love it when you do!

Write captions that educate or inspire others. If you have something to say, say it! I like to think about it this way: this is my little corner of the universe where I get to make a difference everyday. Even if it just reaches one person, that’s all it takes to start a wave of change.

Hope you enjoyed this post! If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me in the comments below or head over to instagram and send me your questions there!