Marie Fe and Jake Snow demonstrate how much editing can change a photo.
Marie Fe and Jake Snow

  • Marie Fe and Jake Snow are one of the most popular travelling couples on Instagram.
  • Nearly 500,000 people follow their account, where the couple posts romantic, wanderlust-fuelling images.
  • Fe and Snow have a second Instagram account where they share their photos before and after editing, revealing just how different they look.
  • The couple told Insider their top tips for creating and editing photos for Instagram.
  • Visit Business Insider South Africa for more.


It's no secret that great photo opportunities for Instagram is one of the highlights of travelling for many people today.

Indeed, 40.1% of millennials deem "Instagrammability" an important factor when considering a holiday destination, according to a recent survey.

Some tour companies have even launched packages that allow travellers to hire professional photographers to take snaps of them at all the main sites in a city, specifically for posting on Instagram.

But getting the photo is one thing, and knowing how to edit it is another - and this is ultimately what makes the best influencers stand out.

One couple at the top of the travel Instagram game is Marie Fe and Jake Snow, whose shared account has 473,000 followers.

The German-American husband-and-wife-to-be are known for their romantic photos set in beautiful, exotic locations, and their editing has helped them create a unique photo style.

However, the couple have a second Instagram account where they show their photos before and after editing, and the difference is eye-opening.

Insider spoke to Fe and Snow to find out exactly what goes into taking and editing their stunning photos - and they gave us six pieces of advice for standing out out Instagram.


Have Instagram in mind when you take a photo.


"When we take and edit photos for Instagram our thought process and our desired outcome is very different to when we take photos for our website or for personal use," Fe and Snow told INSIDER.

"Our main focus when we post a photo on Instagram is to grab people's attention when they are scrolling down their feed. With this in mind we want to create a photo that is personal and truly captures the emotion we were feeling at the time.

"Most of the time the emotions we are trying to capture are joy, happiness, love, excitement and general positivity. We want people to smile when they see our photo.

"The best way to achieve this is through facial expressions. We make sure that 75% of our photos are close enough to capture our expressions. Interacting naturally as a couple without too much posing is how we are able to feel and express the emotions we are trying to capture."


Develop a unique photo style.

"In terms of editing and becoming successful on Instagram it is extremely important to create your own unique style and then keep a consistent theme across your page," they said. "You want to create imagery that your audience can recognise is yours.

"The only way you can achieve this is by consistently producing photos with your own personal touch over a long period of time. We made this process easier for ourselves by creating presets that reflected our unique style which we could then use as a base for all our edits.

"We wanted our editing style to also reflect the emotions we were trying to capture. We use bright, colourful, warm, and vibrant tones to produce a happy, joyous style.

"We also like to keep our photos simple by only combining two or three primary colours in each photo to keep our feed looking coordinated without having to plan out exactly where each photo should go.

"Nobody is looking at your feed as much as you, as much as it would be nice to have the perfect feed its more important to focus on capturing the magic in each individual photo."


Have presets ready to speed up the editing process.

Despite having their presets, a lot of work goes into Fe and Snow's editing.

"95% of the time we will start our editing process by selecting a preset to use as a base from which we will make adjustments," they said. "We have created dozens of presets for different cameras, lighting situations, and settings.

"Because all cameras are different and capture different tones we have presets for all our different cameras including our DSLR, mirrorless, drone, GoPro and iPhone cameras.

"For each of them we have presets for beach photos, jungle, city, indoors, outdoors, underwater, portraits, sunrise, middle of the day, afternoons, and nights etc.

"This really allows us to speed up our editing process, most of our edits take no more than 10 minutes per photo."


Keep tweaking until it looks perfect.

"Once we've applied a preset we will adjust slightly where we see fit," they said. "We will crop the photo to the maximum size Instagram will allow (1350x1080, 4x5) and add gradient filters to bring in some directional exposure/light from whichever direction the sun was coming from in the photo.

"If need be we will use the masking brush to individually attend to our skin tones to either bring out shadow or add shadow, reduce or add colour, and essentially make sure that our skin tones are realistic."


Use a tripod...

"Our Instagram was born from photos that were 100% taken from our tripod with some sort of self-timer," they said.

"It started out with a 10-second timer, then we moved onto taking photos from our tripod with our phone as the remote (always having to hide the phone creatively), then we figured out we could set our camera in time-lapse mode with autofocus and set the camera to take a photo every 2-3 seconds which made capturing authentic, candid photos much easier."

This is how Fe and Snow took their photos for two years.


...Or entrust photo-taking to a friend.

"By the end of those 2 years we had become extremely creative with our angles and the positioning of our tripod which at times often ended up in places it definitely shouldn't have!" they said.

"Now we travel with our good friend Elliot who takes most of our photos. This set-up came from a desire to create more video content that included us as a couple - this could obviously only be captured by a third person.

"Now we work as a team to creatively plan, prep, and execute photo and video shoots. Together as a team and now having a third person we are able to create imagery that we never could have before.

"For example, we are able to capture underwater moments together and photos that have a short window of opportunity like pictures with animals and moving objects."

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