5 Popular Instagram Photo Editing Trends You Should Hop On

Nine months into 2021, and the pandemic situation is still looking dire in certain parts of the world. Creatives, graphic designers, and photographers have been forced to pause their normal lives and thrusted into a world of stay-at-home orders. Undeniably, this isn’t the best thing for our artistic expression.

Nonetheless, we at Pixlr are still striving for that sense of normalcy and creativity. So, our team has racked up our picks of the top five Instagram photo editing trends that will take over your feed for the rest of the year, and well into the next year. We hope it sparks some inspiration in you and to replenish your hunger for digital art!

1. To The Moon and Back

The sky’s the limit? False. For all the good reasons, the space art aesthetic is back. From the Milky Way in the galaxies to surreal cosmic mindscapes, what better way to break free from reality of today than getting lost 2000 light years from home?

With most people deprived of travelling, there will be an uprising trend of images edited with elements of celestial bodies and space-time surrealism. If the space girl aesthetic is your thing, you’re already on the right track.

2. Retro TV

Back on Earth, where the rest of us regular folk live, it’s no secret that nostalgia has been hitting us hard. We’ve been yearning for ‘the better days’, when the world was seemingly much simpler.

It’s no surprise that the nostalgia-fueled, retro-inspired visuals that take us back to the time of analogue cameras, retro televisions, and VHS camcorders are continuing to rank as one of the trendiest styles of editing.

Be on the lookout for the iconic first-gen tech like Microsoft, classic old-school video game consoles, heavy-grain photos and flares that look like they were taken with disposable cameras and Polaroids, alongside photos with intentional fake glitches (purely for the aesthetic) that look like happy accidents.

3. Neon Glow

It’s officially the return of the cyberpunk era. Another trend closely following the footsteps of the retro kick is the neon glow. This neon, highlighter-bright, often accompanied by hues of red, pink, and blue LED look is an instant eye-catcher.

Its fluorescent illumination transports you to a futuristic world, or crank up a zapping, cyberpunk (albeit sexy) cinematic look to your photo. It is surely glowing its way throughout your social media feed.

Want to learn how to create a cool neon effect for your photos? Check out our full YouTube tutorial here.

4. An Ode to Mother Nature

Prioritizing mental health and general well-being has never been more relevant than during the pandemic. Not realizing the importance of the natural elements this planet has provided us, we turned to being plant parents, starting our own vegetable garden, reminiscing about those days hanging out on the beach, and being inspired by Mother Nature. Art imitates life (vice versa), and our sentiments definitely reflect in the way the content we create.

Expect to see nature-inspired photos blending in organic elements of nature, lush forests, golden hour and natural morning light, and earth’s color palettes: fresh greens, watery blues, warm earth tones.

5. “No Filter” Edit

Long gone are the days of picture perfect social media feeds and airbrushed, pore-less selfies. We can see right through them.

The sentiment of ‘social media is not real’ has taken a refreshing route, embracing and rewarding those that can vibe with being authentic, raw, and unapologetically themselves. The best part? It is one of the biggest and easiest trends to hop on, which leads us to the “No Edit” edit. That’s when editing is minimal.

We’re talking about such subtle enhancements that it needs to look like you’ve barely edited the photo, sharing a true and more relatable representation of your life to the world.

Edit Your Creative Rut Away

Creating art might be difficult when everything around you seems gloomy. But it doesn’t have to be. Channel your inner Bo Burnham and create a masterpiece in spite of all the stay-at-home orders and quarantines.

If you’re someone in a location where things are getting better, go out there, take some photos and edit away following Pixlr’s top five picks for post-pandemic (or are they calling it an endemic now?) photo editing trends.

Whatever the trend, we have tons of tutorials on our YouTube channel. Don’t forget to tag us in your creations and you just might get featured on our Instagram page!


If you’re looking for more creative photo editing ideas, check this out. If you want to dive into current design trends, check this out.