An attractive and striking Instagram feed is essential to the success of your Instagram account. If you’re wondering how to improve your Instagram feed, it requires focussing on a number of key elements. We’ll guide you through taking photos for Instagram, the key elements of an attractive feed and most of all, how to enjoy Instagram whilst building your account.
How to improve your Instagram feed
A cohesive Instagram account is pleasing to the eye. The best Instagram feeds have a colour scheme, editing style or look that they replicate regardless of the content they are posting. It’s a little like ordering a Big Mac around the world. You know what you’re going to get. Popular Instagrammers follow that premise too and they use a multitude of editing tools, location types and lighting to help them achieve this.
Whilst that may seem overwhelming, finding your style doesn’t have to involve shooting your content with precision. Whether you’re shooting in Rome or close to home, it can be as simple as finding a preset editing style and tweaking it to suit you. Alternatively you can select a colour scheme (i.e. washed out neutrals or bright and bold) that suits what you most love to shoot.
Choose a theme or editing style
Whether you’re shooting on your phone or a camera, editing your photos is a must. Washed out feeds are quite popular on Instagram. You can achieve this look by desaturating your images. Once you’ve found your look apply it consistently to all of your images. If you do want to change, make a gradual change and ease into a new look. You may even like to share your editing style on Instagram Stories. People love learning about how accounts they love create the images they love. It’s a great engagement strategy.
Utilising your phone
Mobile phone technology has come a long way in the past few years. This means it’s easier than ever to create great photos with a mobile. It also allows you more flexibility to create your content as you can do it more spontaneously than bringing a DSLR camera along with you. Think locations such as the beach in Thailand or hiking along the Seven Sisters in the UK.
Free apps such as VCSO and Snapseed allow you to edit on your phone. They have a range of preset filters that you can adopt or adjust. Adjusting a filter to your own special ‘mix’ is a great way to achieve a popular aesthetic, whilst remaining individual.
Utilising a DSLR and computer
If you’re looking for high quality images that can be used on Instagram and in print form, then a DSLR camera is your best option. A DSLR camera combined with Light Room and / or Photo Shop is a powerful combination.
Once mastered, Photo Shop is a poweful tool that can edit and augment your photography. A sky with grey clouds can be transformed into a bluebird day and you can add that little bit of sunshine to make your photo pop. Unlike phone editing, editing with Photoshop requires skill and time. It also a stand out way to improve your Instagram feed.
If you don’t have the time to invest in learning Photo Shop, then Light Room is a great alternative. Light Room allows you to professionally edit your photos, minus the high tech augmentation. There is a lot more scope to get the colour theme and look you are after with Light Room and this program also allows you to improve photos that are too dark or over exposed with far more precision.
Light Room is a fantastically flexible tool as you can go fully manual or purchase / find free presets to edit your photos. Similar to a filter, a ‘preset’ is an action that you can apply to your photos to create consistent editing. There are thousands on the market, which allow you greater flexibility to get the look you are after without having to learn all of the settings. Better yet, many popular Instagrammers have presets available for sale, so you can create a similar look to theirs.
Poll your followers
If you want to improve your Instagram feed, poll your followers. Instagram Stories is a powerful tool to gain immediate feedback. Try out two editing styles and poll your followers. If your likes or impressions increase, then stick with the most popular editing style.
Choose the right time of day
The best Instagram feeds look for consistency. A key way to achieve this is to shoot at a similar time of day. If you love a gorgeous glow in your photos, then golden hour is for you. Golden hour is the house just before sunrise and just after sunset. The lighting is soft, and in the right conditions everything has a warm glow. Things just look better in golden hour. Try and shoot consistently during this time so your feed has a similar warmth. Alternatively, if darker and moodier is more your thing, then shoot into blue hour or choose grey and overcast days.
Use consistent imagery
Like the example of ordering a Big Mac around the world, your followers want you to be consistent. If you’re a travel photographer that is know for their landscapes, your audience might get a bit of a shock if your all of a sudden post a photo of a meal you’ve eaten. People like consistency. They’ve come to you for a beautiful landscape photo – give that to them.
Having consistent imagery doesn’t meant that you can’t post a more personal image, or let your followers in on the back story of how you came to take a photo it just means you need to be smart about it. Great travel captions for Instagram include story telling. You can also utilise the carousel function to place your best or most impactful image first and then photos that tell the story. You may even like to include a blooper, or a before and after editing image using this method.
Utilise Instagram Stories
If you’re not utilising Instagram Stories to connect to your followers then you need to. If you’re not fond of talking to a camera use this functionality to post additional photos, poll your followers, or post images that may not be 100% on point with your feed.
Use Instagram Stories to post the things you’d like to post but aren’t quite ‘Insta Worthy’ or might make your feed look inconsistent. The discipline to keep your feed ‘on brand’ will be worth it.
Plan your Instagram feed
Seasonal and destination changes mean that despite your best efforts there will be some variation in your photography. Use this to your advantage. Apps like Planoly and Later allow you to pre-plan your feed in advance. You can also pre-write your captions and push the image to your phone to publish.
You can upload a batch of images and then move them around on a grid before publishing. This allows you to find common colours or themes in your photography. It also allows you to allow some diversity in your image selection -i.e. not having two waterfalls shots consecutively. It’s one of the easiest ways how to improve your Instagram feed.
Tell a colour story
A colour story can be told by wearing clothing of a certain colour, shooting photos with a certain hue or by wearing a signature item in your shots. The most dedicated of Instagrammers have a large cache of images to choose from and can choose a colour story, such as sequencing 5-10 images featuring red before slowing graduating into another colour. Think a dark red merging into elements of red before moving into orange or even a contrasting colour. This strategy requires a lot of forethought into the destinations you’ll be shooting at and the clothing you’ll be wearing.
Shoot for content frequently
If you’re taking photos for Instagram, be prepared to take lots of shots. Photography is a pass time that requires patience. The weather, crowds and a various number of other factors can conspire against you ‘getting the shot’. Conversely, if you’re not prepared the shot could take you by surprise when you don’t have your camera with you.
The best strategy is to organise dedicated shoots where you’ll go out and take photos specifically to create content for Instagram. In addition to this, take your camera with you, where practical if you are visiting a location that you think may have potential. Lastly, keep your phone charge and at the ready for those opportunities that you can’t predict, but don’t want to miss.
Make use of props
A prop can turn a dull photo into one that pops. If you feature in your imagery, why not consider using a colourful umbrella, twirly skirt or basket to add interest to your image? Conversely if you take images without people in them, props such as a lens ball or fluoro light work wonderfully.
Improving your Instagram feed
Your Instagram feed is a personal reflection of you. It captures your style, creativity and passion. Above all, improving your Instagram feed should be a passion that you explore for yourself. If you combine your unique style along with the tips in this article, you can’t go wrong.