Apply an Instagram Filter Effect to Your Photos


With this simple Photoshop effect, your photos will instantly look great! This widely used filter, especially on Instagram and Tumblr, is usually known as ‘Pink and blue effect’. In it we can observe pumped up whites and blue, pink and yellow pastel colors. Here you can see an example of the final result we’ll achieve. We’ll learn how to use the Camera Raw filter by creating this effect and, besides that, you’ll be able to create your own customized effects. Let’s go!

If you want to download the resources used in this tutorial, follow this link/these links:


Image selection

First we have to select an adequate image so the results are more appealing. Although for this effect any image will do, the more lights and white reflections it has, the more interesting the final image will be.

Getting the image ready

Step 1

We’re going to start opening our image and duplicating our layer. In order to do this, select it and press Ctrl/Cmd + J or right click > Duplicate layer. This way we’ll always have a copy of our original image in the project.

Step 2

On this layer we’ll apply the filter we’re going to use – in our case, Camera Raw. Go to Filter > Camera Raw Filter.


Step 3

A new window will open. This filter will offer a series of tabs to adjust the parameters of our image in a very specific way: color adjustments, shadows and highlights, curves, shape adjustments and loads more.


Basic adjustments

We’re going to start adjusting the general parameters of our filter. Each image can be manipulated with different parameters. You can change them depending on your preferences and the final results you want to achieve.

Step 1

We’re in the first tab, named Basic. We’re going to start by adjusting exposure on our image. In this case, we’ll set it to +0.50 in order to get an overexposure effect. Exposure is going to be a big part of the final result, so you can adjust it depending the desired outcome.


Step 2

We’ll get contrast up to +15. This way we’ll get darker blacks. To support this we’ll also raise the highlights up to +15 and lower the shadows down to -30. And since we’re looking for an overexposed effect, we’re going to increase the whites to +35 and decrease blacks to -30.


Step 3

We can use the arrow buttons in the bottom. The two buttons in the left offer various options to alternate between the results of our adjustments and the original image. This way you’ll be able to check the changes you’re applying anytime. The two buttons on the right let us copy our settings or bring them back to the default ones.


Step 4

Last we’ll go on to adjust temperature and tint. In this case, I’ll use a blue temperature setting it on -25 and for tint we’ll use a value of +10 in order to get some magenta tone.


Camera calibration

Now let’s get into the Camera calibration tab. In this panel we’ll adjust most of what the final color grading of our image will be, though we’ll tweak some more color parameters later on. Here we’ll adjust hue and saturation of the primary colors in our image: red, green and blue.

Step 1

We’ll select the Camera calibration tab. To start, we’ll adjust shadows’ tint. We’ll use a value of +35. This way our shadows will also be a bit lighter and more magenta.


Step 2

Now we’ll go on to adjust the colors in our image. We have red, green and blue, light’s primary colors. If you move the sliders you can check how the hue and the saturation of the selected color change independently. Here are a couple of examples, one setting red’s hue to a high value, and the other to a low value.


Step 3

In our case we’ll adjust red color‘s hue to +60 and its saturation to +30. For the green color, we’ll use -15 for hue and +20 for saturation. This way we’ll get a bluer green tone. Last, I turned down blue color‘s hue to -50 to get a turquoise effect, besides adjusting its saturation to +25.


Clarity, vibrance and saturation

Now that we have adjusted the colors in our image, we’ll modify some related parameters. We’ll go back to the first tab, basic, and we’ll adjust the three parameters on the bottom: clarity, vibrance and saturation.

Step 1

I set clarity to +50 for this picture. If you use lower values, you will get a blurry effect that may result interesting. Here you can see an example of two clarity values. I used a high value in order to get more definition.


Step 2

Now we’ll adjust vibrance and saturation. These values will affect color. In order to get more pastel colors I’ll use a vibrance value of -15 and a saturation value of -25. You can adjust the parameters depending on the best fit for your image.


Curve tone adjustment

Now we’re going to get into curve tone adjustment. For this, we’ll get into the second tab of our toolbar. In this case we’ll just raise the left end of the curve in order to pump up the whites in our image. We’ll add another point near that end clicking on the curve and we’ll lower it in order for the shadows to get darker.


Color adjustment

As I mentioned earlier, here we’re going to see more color parameters. If we get into the fourth tabHSL / Grayscale, we’ll see much more specific parameters. As before, depending on the values we use, our results will vary and the color we’re tweaking will be modified depending on the tab we’re in, that is we can adjust each color’s hue, saturation and luminance separately.

Step 1

We’ll start on the Hue tab. In this case I used -20 in blues, so I got more turquoise tones. I also chose +30for purples in order to pump them up and +15 for magentas.


Step 2

Let’s go on to the Saturation tab. Here, as we were talking, we’ll adjust the saturation of these colors. For blues and magentas I turned them down to -10 in order to desaturate both of them. On the contrary, I saturated purples setting them to +15.


Step 3

Last, we’ll go to the Luminance tab. In this case, I’ll only tweak purples, turning them up to +20. This way we’ll raise the brightness of this specific color, or any other we want to.


Shape and effects adjustments

We won’t be using some tabs this time, but anyway you can take a look at them and use them if you find it convenient.

Fifth tab is Split Toning. In it we can find some hue and saturation parameters for highlights and shadows. Sixth tab is Lens Corrections, where we can adjust its values and add a vignette. Last tab, which is highlighted in green, will only show a list of our Presets, that is the effects we already designed and saved.

If you use the icon in the corner, which I highlighted on yellow and that you’ll find in all the tabs, you can create your own presets, load and save them, and also find some useful options there.


Step 1

We’ll go to the Effects tab. In this tab we’ll add as much amount of haze as we like. I used a value of +15. Positive values will result in a darker look, and negative ones will result in a whiter one. We can also adjust and add some grain. I used the following values: amount 40size 25 and roughness 50.


Step 2

And last, let’s see the third tab in the bar, called Detail. Here we have different parameters that affect the shape of our image. We will just raise sharpening amount to +70, which will result in a more detailed image. I left the other parameters on their default value, but you can change them if your image requieres it.


Final considerations Detalles finales

Step 1

Now that we finished adjusting the Camera Raw filter, we can click OK and apply our effect, as long as we’re happy with the outcome. It’s also the right moment to, if you want to, save our presets as I said earlier, so you can use them on other images.

Step 2

We’re going to add a pink tone gradient map. For this, we’ll select the button in the bottom, the one shaped as a half-black and half-white circle and we’ll click on Gradient Map. A properties tab will open. As an alternative, we’ll double click on our layer to open it, which will get us to the Gradient Editor.

If we click on the little square on the left, the one highlighted in green, we can select this color and we’ll be able to modify it, as well as the square on the right side of the window. To modify it we’ll click on color, which will open the color picker window so we can choose the color we want. In this case I selected a light pink, and for the other color, white.


Once we’ve applied it, we’ll just have to adjust opacity and fill until we get the desired effect. I used 85% opacity and 5% fill.


Step 3

To finish, we can add some additional reflections and flares to the image. For this, we’re going to use free images that offer this light beam effect. You can find an extensive variety of free images on Freepik. I will attach to the tut this three I’m showing you.


We’ll add the image and then, using Ctrl/Cmd + T, we’ll be able to scale it adequately, After this, we’ll set the layer’s blending mode to Screen and its fill to 35%. While this layer is selected, we’ll create a layer mask. For this we’ll click the button shaped as a rectangle with a black dot inside or we can right click the layer > apply mask. While the mask is selected and using the brush, we’ll paint black to erase all the zones of the reflections we’re not interested in. We can always paint white again in order to recover what we erase.



Our effect is ready now! Now you know how to use Camera Raw filter in order to get a fantastic look to all your pictures in a very easy way. I hope you found this tutorial useful and that you learned to manage a bit better with this filter. Here’s the final effect I got, and other versions I designed as well using different color parameters and playing around with settings.


Try it yourself! Create a ‘pink & blue’ filter or design your own and show us the results! We’re eager to see your project!