With over 600 million active users (and growing), Instagram is one of the most powerful social media platforms for businesses to connect with their audience, enhance their brand experience, and achieve organic growth. But the key to success lies in the ability to create a visually cohesive look that makes someone want to immediately hit “follow.”
And if you think users are not judging you based on the first 9-12 photos on your page, think again.
Instagram users are more attracted to pages with a defined look that tells a clear story. But you don’t have to be a professional designer or photographer to achieve a gorgeously curated HomeGoods-esque account.
Instead, here are 4 simple tips to help you develop a visually cohesive Instagram feed.
Start by asking yourself these 3 questions.
Your Instagram page is an extension of your brand. So before you choose colors and editing styles it’s important to make sure you’re page is communicating the right message that aligns with your business values and desired audience.
To ensure you’re laying the right foundation, ask yourself these 3 questions:
- "What kind of individual do I want my page to attract?"
- "How do I want people to feel when they look at my account?"
- "What are 2-3 words I would use to describe my brand personality/page?"
Then, select visual elements (AKA your color palette, props, editing style, etc.) that complement your answers.
For example, if you want to attract a male audience with a brand personality that is edgy and cool, then you may want to choose visuals that are dark and moody.
You don’t want to jump into Instagram marketing without a clear strategy. Taking the time to answer these questions will position you to attract the right audience who will follow, engage, and make a purchase.
Define each element of your look
The best way to achieve a visually cohesive page is to create a guideline that will help you define your look. Here’s the step-by-step breakdown:
First, choose a color palette.
Remember, your Instagram page is an extension of your brand, so if you already have a defined color palette then make sure you’re carrying this over to your page. If you don’t, identify 4-5 colors that appeal to your brand personality and target audience.
A good rule of thumb when choosing a color scheme is to select a primary color, then choose a lighter and darker shade of that color, then add an accent and neutral color to keep things interesting and balanced.
Once you’ve defined a color palette curate and capture photos that reflect the colors you’ve chosen.
Here’s an example:
Our Advice: Be consistent! If you capture a photo that doesn't align with your colors, then don't post it (yes, it might feel inconvenient, but you'll thank us in the long-run). You don’t want to have that ONE or TWO photos in your feed that stick out like a sore thumb.
Pro Tip: Go out of your way to purchase colored props (notebooks, plants, pens, dishes, fabrics, etc.) that fall within your palette. This gives you better control when styling your photos and is an easy way to incorporate pops of your brand colors.
Then, craft your editing style.
If you want to create a unified look amongst your photos that makes them instantly recognizable, then you need to craft an editing style that is unique to you and use it to edit all of your pictures.
Saturation: Saturation manipulates how much color there is in your photo. Decreasing your saturation will start to remove color from your picture making it appear more Black and White while increasing your saturation will make your colors more vibrant.
Contrast: Contrast is the separation between the darkest and brightest areas of an image. Increasing your contrast will increase the separation between dark and bright, making your shadows darker and highlights brighter. Decreasing your contrast will bring the shadows up and the highlights down, making them closer to one another.
Adding contrast will typically help a picture “pop” as it makes the image more vibrant while decreasing contrast will make an image look duller or “flat” in photography terms.
Filters/Presets: You can also consider adding a subtle filter to your images or an editing “preset” to create a uniquely defined look like this example from fashion designer and blogger Lauren Conrad.
Notice how each of her images has a consistent subtle brown vintage hue which perfectly compliments the soft pink and blush tones in her images.
Our Advice: Never adjust your settings so they are at one extreme or the other. Subtle tweaks to your saturation, contrast, and filter are enough to make a big difference while still looking professional.
Pro Tip: The setting in which you take your photos can also affect the outcome of their look. To ensure you maintain consistent lighting and backdrops, try shooting your photos in batches. That way you can capture 20 photos at one time versus capturing them one at a time on-the-go.
Create consistent and predictable content
If you want to have a cohesive feed, you need to produce a certain type of content that reflects what you’ve written in your page’s description. This will not only help you build trust with your audience a certain level by giving them a sense of predictability, but it will ensure your posts look unified and your feed tells a clear story.
If you’re a wedding photographer, chances are you’re following adores your photos of happy newlyweds, delicious cakes, and perfect flowers and has grown to expect them. Don’t disrupt the flow by throwing in a random image out of left field. AKA don’t ruin a perfectly curated feed with a random photo of your dinner, especially if it has nothing to do with the rest of your content… no matter how delicious it may look. ;)
Our Advice: Everything you post should have a specific goal. Save yourself from getting off track by planning out your content ahead of time and keeping your content industry specific.
Pro Tip: Start using Later to schedule your Instagram content. Not only can you schedule up to 30 posts for free, but Later gives you the option to preview your feed before your posts go live. This way you can ensure the photo you’re posting perfectly compliments the photo next to it, above it, and below it.
It’s become our go-to tool!
Consider outsourcing your images
If you don’t feel like fussing around with props, backgrounds, and lighting equipment consider outsourcing the work. There are several stock photography sites that offer libraries of beautiful and affordable images at your fingertips. A few of our favorites include Pexels, Bloguettes, and Death To Stock Photo.
You can also hire a professional photographer to capture branded images for you. This is a great way to customize your look to the exact color palette, editing style, and brand without having to do all the dirty work of styling, shooting, and editing the photos yourself.
Our Advice: Have a mix of both. While stock photos are great, you don’t own them and they might not be enough to separate you from the pack. Instead, invest in a collection of branded photos 1-3 times per year and sprinkle in stock photos in between. This will give you a balanced mix between original and borrowed content.
Take back your Instagram with better images
Ready to roll up your sleeves and create a visually cohesive Instagram feed that attracts new followers and tells a clear story? We’d love to help you create custom brand photos to get you there. See our packages and schedule your brand photo brainstorming session, today.