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The Biggest Photo Editing Trends on Instagram Right Now


By Jessica Worb

Published December 9, 2021

5 minute read

We've come a long way since the Mayfair and Nashville filter.

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Stay on top of the biggest social media marketing trends!

Instagram photo edits have come a long way since the Nashville and Mayfair filters entered our lives.

In 2022, it's all about subtle tweaks, consistent color tones, and ethereal effects.

Ready to tap into the latest trends and give your posts some pizazz?

Here are the top 6 photo editing trends on Instagram right now:

  1. Desaturated Tones

  2. Raw and Unedited

  3. Text Overlays (Especially on Reels)

  4. Light Flares and Reflections

  5. Pink-toned Hues and Filters

  6. Warm Tones

#1: Desaturated Tones

Long gone are the days of harsh edits and pumped up saturation — desaturated tones is what everyone is lusting after in 2022.

We’re talking brightness down, a hint of sharpness, and saying goodbye to bright colors.

Check out how creator @theindiaedit has adopted the style on her feed:

@theindiaedit

To achieve this effect, shift the brightness and highlights way down. You can easily achieve this look by editing right in your phones’ camera settings but, you can also use photo and video editing apps like Tezza or VSCO

On Tezza, try the filter “Cocoa” and on VSCO, try bringing your brightness down and applying India’s favorite filters, “M5” and “A4.”

If a dark feed isn’t your vibe, you can still play around with desaturated tones. Try bringing the saturation down and upping your brightness like influencer @shawnacischroeder:

@shawnacischroeder

One of the easiest ways to start incorporating desaturated tones into your feed is by using a free visual planning tool to experiment with different feed compositions before you hit publish.

Later’s Visual Instagram Planner shows you exactly what your Instagram feed will look like with your future posts in it, so you can achieve the perfect grid.

You can easily rearrange or swap out photos from your media library until you’ve found the best composition for your feed. Plus, you can now use Later’s Visual Instagram Planner straight from your mobile!

#2: Raw and Unedited 

The raw and unedited photo trend has been gradually building momentum over the last 12 months, and we’re tipping it to be a huge trend for 2022.

An influx of brands and creators are now peppering their feeds with “no edit edit” photos.

Check out how TikTok star @remibader has adopted the unedited style on her feed: 

@remibader

Even the most natural-looking Instagram photos probably have some edits happening behind the scenes, but the trick is to keep them subtle — make minor edits to your contrast, brightness, and color corrections.

This minimal edit trend goes hand-in-hand with the rise of authentic content over recent years, which has seen a shift in the way brands and creators interact and engage with their communities. 

Once upon a time, brands strived for a picture-perfect perception. But in 2022, brands are embracing being more open, honest, and vulnerable with their communities.

#3: Text Overlays (Especially on Reels!)

If you're looking to tap into the coolest visual trends on Instagram Reels, this editing trend is one for you.

Adding timed text overlays to Instagram Reels is a great way to tell a stronger story – and it looks really aesthetically pleasing too.

To achieve this trend, use an external editing app like InShot. You can download and import fonts and add them on screen for a set duration.

Check out this in-depth tutorial by @reelstips for more inspiration:

#4: Light Flares and Reflections

Light flares and reflections are another hot trend making waves on Instagram.

We’re seeing these edits appear on the feeds of Gen Z and millennial-focused creators, influencers, and brands alike.

And you don’t need fancy lighting or photo studios to achieve this look, it can all be achieved in the edit. 

To recreate this trend, try an editing app like the Pink Papaya app (iOS) to apply flares, shadows, and the prism feature, or Tezza (iOS and Android) for its pride, light, and shadow effects. 

The result is eye-catching and ethereal.

Plan and schedule your aesthetic feed in advance with Later it's free!

#5: Pink-toned Hues and Filters

On Instagram, we wear pink. 

Or at least that’s the trend going into 2022.

Pink-toned hues and filters can make your Instagram grid look whimsical and nostalgic. Think: 90s Barbie meets Clueless — — an aesthetic that's perfect for a millennial-skewed audience.

@thebirdspapaya

There are tons of free editing apps and presets to help recreate this effect. Storyluxe, Tezza, VSCO (C4),and the Pink Papaya app all have their own versions of this filter.

#6: Warm Tones 

Every year, there’s one effect that seems to take over Instagram — and this year, it’s warm tones.

These toasty tones bring a sense of cozy richness to any feed. They’re ideal for interior design, portraits, and product shots. 

For example, travel blogger Kelsey of @kelseyinlondon uses warm tones to highlight her beautiful travel shots:

@kelseyinlondon

To recreate this trend, lookout for presets that have reddy-brown undertones. Check out Tezza’s "Toasty" and the "Warm" Series in VSCO for a great starting point.  

Remember, creating a cohesive Instagram aesthetic for your feed isn’t as important as it used to be. Which means there’s never been a better time to play around and experiment with different vibes. 

Don’t be afraid to try something new!

If you’re not sure how new photos will look on your feed, try editing them ahead of time and using Later’s Visual Instagram Planner.

Ready to create the perfect Instagram aesthetic for your brand? Design, curate, and plan your feed with Later!

Stay on top of the biggest social media marketing trends!

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