How to do TikTok’s viral photo editing hack

iPhone camera app screen next to the TikTok logoUnsplash: Liam Shaw

TikTok users have been enhancing their favorite pictures with an editing hack that continues to go viral on the app, using a few different steps to elevate the original photo.

In the past couple of years, short-form video app TikTok has well and truly taken over as the center of viral content on the internet, and it’s a particularly good source of various different life hacks for different areas like cooking, exercise, and more.

Many users of the app also love participating in trends that involve using editing tricks or styles to create a unique end product. In the past, people have made their own beer advertisement style posters, Vogue covers, album covers, and much more.

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But sometimes the tricks that gain the most popularity are the simplest, and users love this viral editing hack for that exact reason.

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People simply need to adjust various aspects of their picture like brightness and contrast in a specific combination to create a dazzling end product.

However, the key aspect of the trend is turning your exposure and brilliance all the way up initially, doing the rest of your editing, and then turning them back down at the end to create an exciting reveal.

How to do the TikTok editing hack

Although there are quite a few steps, the process is actually quite simple. It’s worth noting, however, that the steps will vary based on which operating system you’re on. Many of the viral videos featuring this hack are based on iPhone options, and this guide corresponds to the iPhone as well, but roughly estimating the amount of each effect to use based on your application should get you similar results.

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  1. Open your camera roll, and find the option to edit your photo.
  2. Turn the Exposure and Brilliance all the way to 100. (Note: This step is optional, and is used just for the reveal effect.)
  3. Set Highlights to -35, and Shadows to -28.
  4. Put Contrast at -30, and Brightness at -15.
  5. Set Black Point at 10.
  6. Turn Saturation to 10, and Vibrancy to 8.
  7. Put Warmth at 10.
  8. Set Tint to 39.
  9. Turn Sharpness to 14.
  10. Add Vignette at 23.
  11. If you included the reveal effect, turn Exposure and Brilliance back down to zero to reveal your final image.

The exact number for each effect varies based on each viral video featuring the hack, so don’t be afraid to change things to your liking to get the perfect effect.