Creating a beautiful Instagram feed doesn’t just happen by accident.
And although Instagram is still full of candid snapshots, dog photos, and shameless selfies, when you’re a business, you need to be more intentional.
A good strategy considers not only what to post but also the overall consistency and visual effect of your gallery (the collection of images someone sees when they view your account).
What You'll Learn in This Post
Getting Higher Conversion Rates on Instagram
Do a quick search on ‘How to Get More Followers on Instagram’ and you will get over 225 million people telling you what you should be doing. I’ll leave the specifics on what I have found successful for another blog post, but for now, let’s consider your conversion rate. Conversion rates can include how many visitors you are converting into new followers, how many existing followers are engaging with your images, and how many engagements are resulting in sales. And just like web traffic, eyeballs are okay, but commitments to become part of your tribe are even better!
Let’s say that you have followed 30 new accounts in the hopes that these people will follow you back. Based on averages:
- 20 will check out your account
- 10 may interact with you, liking your images or even commenting on a few
- but only 3 may decide to follow you back
That’s a lot of work for very little reward. What if instead of increasing traffic to your account, you increased your conversion rate of visitors to followers. To do this you will need to post quality photos that combined, support your overall brand. When your Instagram feed looks good overall, people are more likely to like your photos and follow you.
How to Take Great Photos
First, let’s consider the lighting. Taking photos outside in natural but filter light is best. Direct sunlight can leave harsh shadows and not enough light can make your photos dark, blurry, grainy, or lack detail. None of which are flattering.
To get the one great photo you are going to need to take several shots. So I recommend using your phones camera and not the camera inside the Instagram app. Also be sure to use your camera’s back camera (vs. the front camera) as it produces higher quality images.
Editing Your Photos
Editing your photos doesn’t have to take a lot of time and there are plenty of apps currently out there to help. Here are my top 10 favorite photo editing apps:
- Snapseed – an easy to use, all purpose photo editor for image corrections and enhancements
- VSCO – has a rich collection of filters and user-friendly editing tools
- Pixlr – has millions of combinations of effects, overlays, and filters
- Flixr – the mobile app lets you edit photos, add filters and crop images
- Litely – allows you to adjust crop, exposure, sharpness, and custom vignetting
- Photo Editor – has filters, frames and editing tools, also allows you to erase blemishes and whiten teeth
- TouchRetouch – removes unwanted blemishes and objects from your photos
- AfterFocus – can imitate shallow depth of field effects
- Microsoft Selfie – considers age, gender, skin tone, and lighting to enhance selfies
- Darkroom – can crop, brighten, saturate, fade and add filters, also has an infinite undo history feature
If you are just getting started with enhancing and editing photos, rule #1 is keep it simple. Many of the above, including your phones pre-stalled photo editing options, offer an “enhancement” feature, start there. Then try increasing the brightness and contrast slightly. When used sparingly, sharpening your photos can result in a crisp, clear finish. This works exceptionally well for really detailed photos.
Finding Your Visual Voice
To create a consistent Instagram feed and an attractive gallery of photos you need to think of your Instagram as one body of work not just a lot of separate images. When posting a new image, think about how it will look next to your other photos. This will mean you will want all of your photos to have a consistent element to tie them together.
Choosing a particular theme or style can help you decide what photos to post. And it should be something that not only represents your business but is something that you love and would like to replicate in your images. There are three visual elements that can quickly tie your photos together into a unique style: a theme, a color palette, and/or a grid layout. Let’s explore each.
1. Choosing a Theme for Your Instagram Feed
A theme represents the visual personality of your Instagram gallery. Examples of themes can include travel, food, or fashion. Or they may be aesthetic such as natural, boho, colorful, or minimalistic. Choosing a certain aesthetic feel gives you more freedom with theme of your photos, as they only need to fit the vibe of your Instagram feed!
Warning >> Don’t just post images of your products or services, think bigger, think broader, think beyond what people may expect. Instagram isn’t supposed to be your online supply catalog. Remember this should convey your business’s personality, your story… YOU.
2. Using Color and Filters for Instagram Images
When considering what images to post to Instagram, choosing a consistent color palette is one of the easiest ways to create a cohesive look and feel. To coordinate colors choose 2-3 colors you know you will always use in your photos. Then space out those colors to create harmony.
Another way to create color harmony is to use filters. If you decide to use filters, use the same filter on all photos to give your account a cohesive feel.
3. Using Grids or Unique Layout of Instagram Images
Next, you are going to want to consider the order in which you post photos by deciding which photos look best next to each other. Spacing out photos of similar types (quotes, dark/light, topic-centric) will help you achieve balance. Keep in mind that photos posted every first and third time will end up side by side in your design. You can choose to space similar type photos randomly or create a grid when viewing your Instagram account. Here are the most common grids used on Instagram.
Examples of Beautifully Designed Instagram
See if you can tell how these beautiful Instagram examples are creatively using themes, colors, and/or grids.
Instagram Planning & Scheduling Tool
Still struggling to organize your photos by theme, color, or grid? Give Planoly a try! It is a user-friendly online tool to help you organize, plan, and schedule your Instagram posts. Best of all, it allows you to see how your photos look side-by-side.