Tutorial – Instagram Photo Editing; DARK TONES (EP.1)

Day by day, the request to share my photo editing process on Instagram has grown so fast. For me, the tone that I created through editing is something like an identity and I really don’t have an idea why people want to apply the same tone as mine. But it’s OK, now I’m sharing of how I edited my photos on Instagram by using mobile phone only.

*Please note that the following editing process is best applied on forest/green landscape, even though you can apply it on any landscape


You need to install mandatory apps: VSCO + Lightroom Mobile + Snapseed. You can get them all for free, except VSCO (purchase additional filters).

Editing Apps



  1. Open Snapseed and choose the photo you want to edit
  2. Start editing by choosing “Brush”, then tap on Exposure. Here, you need to level down the exposure (-0.3; -0.7; -1.0), you can select one that you think is best or combine them. Swipe on area that you think is too bright, in this photo I swipe on trees behind the waterfall using -0.7
  3. Go to “Details” menu then swipe right until it shows +20 Structure. You can adjust the number if you think it’s best.
  4. Go to “Tune Image”, swipe down until you find Highlights section, then swipe left to reduce highlights. In this photo, I swipe to -100 highlights because the original one is too bright, you can also adjust to any number as long as it is minus (-)
  5. Go to “Vignette”, then put the blue point to area that you want to focus on. Here, I point the blue to the center of table. You can also set of how wide the vignette area by swiping with 2 fingers. Use your feeling to make best view.
  6. It’s done, save the photo by choosing “Export”



I use Lightroom only to adjust or strengthen the color of tree/forest itself. OK, here we go:

  1. Open Lightroom mobile, choose the photo result from Snapseed editing
  2. Select “Color” on the menu bar below, then tap on rainbow circle at right top corner
  3. Tap on “Green” color, adjust it by decreasing Hue to -55 (to give yellowish leaves), increasing Saturation to +15, and decreasing Luminance to -15. I almost decreasing all colors because my tone is deep dark
  4. Tap on “Yellow” color, adjust it again; Hue to -45 (to make deep yellow), Saturation to +20, Luminance to -35
  5. Tap on “Red” color now, then adjust; Hue to -65 (to show dark red), Saturation to +55, Luminance to -35
  6. Done, save the photo to your phone

**See the pattern? I always decrease the amount of Luminance & Hue to minus, and increase the Saturation

***For the forest/green landscape, I only adjust color; GREEN, YELLOW, RED



I use VSCO to make the tone looks consistent in every single post. Even though Lightroom can do more than just a filter, but VSCO is very simple to use for beginners. Here we go:

  1. Open the photo result from Lightroom edit, use filter J2 (paid filter), adjust the shade of J2 by tapping on it. I adjust to level +10.5, you can also use C7 (paid filter) if you think it’s better. Now I use J2, but in 2016, I used C7.
  2. After applying filter, tap on editing session, select Saturation then adjust it to +1.0
  3. Select Tint, adjust to +1.5, I usually adjust tint to plus (+) in order to decrease yellowish effect
  4. Go to Vignette, adjust to +3.5, this makes your photo looks more dramatic and myterious
  5. Go to Fade, adjust to +2.4, fade is used to make your photo looks soft
  6. Because I see this photo is a little bit too dark, go to Exposure, then adjust to +0.5 only, I don’t want to make it more bright. I love dark tones
  7. Go to Shadows, choose Purple color then adjust to max. +1.0, this is not mandatory but shadows make your photos have something uniqueness
  8. Go to highlights, choose Blue color then adjust to max. +2.0 (I use +1.5 here). Again, this is not mandatory but just to make your photos look different from the other dark tones.
  9. Done, save to camera roll!


You got my dark tone now, it’s time for you guys to show it off!

  1. Upload your edited photo onto Instagram
  2. Mention me (@donilaksono) with hashtag #Sharingby_Donilaksono because I wanna see your editing result! 😀

Thank you for reading my sharing. If you think this post is worth to read, please kindly share on your social media accounts.

What do you want for the Episode 2? Please feel free to comment! 🙂

Author: Doni Laksono

A worker who tries to escape from such a boring daily routines. Welcome and thank you for reading my travel blog.

16 thoughts on “Tutorial – Instagram Photo Editing; DARK TONES (EP.1)”

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