Before I delve into this post, I’d like to throw in a disclaimer that I don’t necessarily think that my own Instagram feed is enviable. I have a love-hate relationship with my Instagram feed; sometimes I feel proud of it, other times I hate it and want to start all over again. I’m the first to admit that I ‘um’ and ‘ah over my content. It’s difficult not to compare your own feed to the other crisp and stunning accounts which grace my Explore tab every day.
However, it shouldn’t be about comparison. This is about creating a feed that reflects you, your blog and your personal brand. It’s personal.
There is no formula to creating the perfect Instagram feed, but I have spent a lot of time trying to create a feed that feels consistent, looks appealing and most importantly, reflects me and my blog. In doing so, I’ve learnt a lot of tricks along the way and in the spirit of ‘sharing is caring’, I thought I’d pull together a little post of advice and tips on how to create an enviable Instagram feed.
Everybody has their own favourite photo editing tools and apps but my personal favourite is VSCO. The key ingredient to curating a stunning Instagram feed is aesthetic consistency. In order to achieve this, you need to choose a filter and apply it to every photo that you post.
Spend time browsing the presets available through VSCO. Go further than those included as standard, as there are a plethora of presets available to download – some cost a small amount and some are free. My favourites are as follows:
Natural tones inspired by classic analog film. Ideal for interiors, portraits and food.
This is the preset I use for my Instagram. Perfect for fashion, lifestyle and travel shots for an editorial feel.
Brings images of natural beauty to life. Use for outdoor and landscape photography.
For a faded and underexposed aesthetic. Works best for shots of nature and the outdoors, as it exaggerates browns and greens.
Emphasises brightness and provides a crisp, clean look. Perfect for flattering skin tones and photos with a light background.
Creates a low-contrast aesthetic by expanding the tones in your images. Ideal for portraits and urban settings.
Once you’ve chosen your preset, you’ll want to choose the intensity of the preset (I usually opt for 9.0) and tweak the settings. Personally I like to up the clarity and slightly increase the saturation but you need to find what works best for your content.
Your choice of colours has by far the most dramatic effect on the overall look of your feed. Therefore you need to decide on your approach. Are you going for minimalist, faded colours, or bright and bold? Would you prefer a stark black and white style of feed or a vibrant range of colours?
Once you have decided on the style, I’d recommend focusing on one or two colours to emphasise in your feed. You can either do this through your editing, or by curating your content in line with the colours. I focus on pinks and blues in my feed, so I try to capture images which feature these tones. They don’t need to appear in every photo, but it’s nice to have a theme flowing throughout your pictures.
Mine actually originated from a happy accident. I noticed pinks kept appearing throughout my feed and I loved the aesthetic. So I decided to continue with this but to also incorporate subtle tones of blue to avoid a feed that was overly saturated with pink, as I didn’t want to limit my content by the need for pink.
One of the hardest parts of curating a beautiful Instagram feed is trying to figure out what order to post pictures in. Certain images work well next to or above and below each other but others may not. It’s therefore necessary to have a play around with the layout before publishing.
There’s probably an app for this but personally I find it just as easy to create an album in my camera roll and add all of your potential Instagram photos. You’ll also need to create some plain white images, as the camera roll is four photos long, whereas an Instagram feed is only three. Once you’ve got your album you can drag and drop the photos. Play around with the layout until your Instagram heart is content. I spend way too much time agonising over this, it’s definitely unhealthy.
It was an absolute dream when Instagram introduced the ‘Archive’ function. Now you can remove photos from your feed without having to permanently delete them. So if you change your mind, you can reinstate the photo. This is ideal if you feel there is a particular photo throwing off the feel of your feed. Try removing it and see if you prefer the overall look. If not, put it back.
It’s also good for going through old photos from way back when. Remove any embarrassing snaps or photos that don’t quite fit with your current theme.
Ew so cheesy! But it’s true – I love a pretty Instagram feed as much as the next person but I do like to see personality. If you like the look of minimalist feeds but it just doesn’t fit with your personal style then don’t do it. You’ll find it too hard to conform to your theme.
I went through a phase of lowering the saturation of my photos for a more editorial, stylish feel. But in time I decided that I like bright colours too much to keep this up. So now I up the saturation and I’m so much happier with my feed because I feel it represents me and the content I create more effectively. Let your personality shine through and people are more likely to engage and click-through to your blog.
UPDATE: Adobe Lightroom
June 2018 update: After a brief stint of travelling, I found that my VSCO method was not working. With so many skies and oceans with similar but different tones, I needed a new way of editing my photos. Now I use the free Adobe Lightroom app to edit my photos (this would require a whole new post), which is much better suited to travel photos. Having said that, if you don’t post lots of travel photos then I still love the aesthetic you can achieve through VSCO. It’s a personal choice!
I don’t think I’ll every be completely happy with my Instagram feed but I’ve come to realise that it doesn’t matter as much as people think. Create the content you love to create, choose a theme that suits your own personal style and never forget to enjoy the creative process. If you stick to these points then you’ll have an enviable Instagram feed, whatever your style.
I’d love to hear your own tips and advice in the comments! In the meantime, check out some of my other blogger tips.