Fancypants Editing | Or, How I edit my Nikon pictures on my iPhone

One of the topics that I talk about frequently, here in this space, is that of photography. One of the characteristics that I love most about the field of photography is that it is a constant teacher. There's always something new to try. Nowadays, I don't have an exceptional amount of time to sit and study, but photography remains one of my most favorite subjects. I always appreciate it when someone else takes the time to write out their thoughts about something they believe is important, when someone shares a favorite find, source, or recipe, or when I stumble upon a beautiful project that inspires me to create. Today, I've decided to do my own bit of sharing.....

Over the last several months, beginning with our trip down the Oregon/California coast, I've really fallen in love with editing my Nikon photographs on my, wait for it, iPhone! I know it sounds totally backwards, but in case you'd like to join the Backwards Club, I've put together a little tutorial below. What I've come to realize, recently, is that this particular process works for me and works for me well. It might not be the most professional, but the final product makes me smile. And, as I struggle to get used to the moody lighting in our new home, this editing process has become a lifesaver-- it has allowed me to continue to love taking photographs. (You'll have to let me know if you also are a closet iPhone editor!) Of course, what has made me fall in love the most with this process is the VSCO Cam app/filters and the brightening tool of Afterlight. These two editing apps are my go-to's. Allthetime. Last night, in addition to taking my email inbox from 12,000+ to THIRTY NINE, I also cleared out my camera roll from 989 to 137. Here's to filling up that camera roll time and time again!

// Step One // Download your photographs onto your computer and email them to your iPhone. Using your iPhone, open the photo files and save them to your camera roll. Then, open the Afterlight app. On the main screen of the Afterlight app, tap the box on the right, which will let you choose a photo from your camera roll. // Step Two // Continue by editing your photo's brightness, clarity, etc. (The brightness button is the tiny sun, second from the left.) Once you've brightened your photo to your liking, save the photo to your camera roll. // Step Three // Open the VSCO Cam app. Tap the + button at the top of the screen to import your image from your camera roll. Find the desired image, tap to select it, then tap the check mark at the bottom of your screen. // Step Four // Import Successful! Tap you image again, and at the bottom of your screen, you'll see a tiny wrench/paintbrush-- tap that button and select your desired filter. Then, save the image to your camera roll. // Step Five // Click on the image in your camera roll and export the image to your email inbox, facebook, text message, or to iCloud etc.

Happy picture taking and happy weekending!


  1. Anonymous5:46 AM

    I love how in photography everyone finds a different method to do their thing. I've been really addicted to taking iphone photos rather than dslr because of the ease of editing. I never really thought to take the photos with my dslr and then edit on the ihpone. I have to admit it does seem a little crazy, but whatever works and keeps you interested... I'll have to give this a try, I've really been missing my dslr lately and the ability to have higher resolution images than the iphone gives. I absolutely love your photos so keep it up girl!

  2. Jenna,
    Your first sentence is so spot on. I love that, too, about photography. And I also have been so addicted to taking iPhone photos more than dslr photos for the same reason in addition to the fact that I always have my phone around, it seems. I know this process is totally backwards, but it does work for me and I am so happy with the vsco filters. That's the real reason I edit on my phone : ) Thanks so much for your input here!

  3. I love this post. I love editing my pictures using both Afterlight and VSCO cam so it's fun to hear you do the same. Have you ever tried printing your pictures after using these filters? I'm curious to see if they still turn out as well once printed or if using the phone apps make them lose their quality a little. I enjoy your blog!

    1. Hi Caroline,

      Thanks so much for stopping by! Your question is such a good one and I'm so happy to say that I actually have an answer! : ) I just shot some family photos for a friend and when she printed the pictures, the features, especially in the faces, were a little bit darker than I like, but I probably would've been the only one to notice. I made a mental note, though, for next time. So, long story short, my advice would be, if you're going to print the photo, cut the filter strength in half. But, yes, those vsco filters are so beautiful, aren't they?! (

      p.s. I don't think the quality of the photo was any different to those that I've edited in Lightroom. Just the strength of the filter needed to be adjusted. Hope this helps!

  4. oooooook, I've been getting ready to dive into saving up for VSCO for my laptop, but never ever considered editing on my phone!! You're a genius! Totally going to try this with my latest shoot :D

    1. Susanna,
      And, I do mean this with my whole heart-- this process changed my (photography!) life! : ) You'll have to let me know what you think when you try it.


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