Did you just open an Instagram account? You might be looking at it and thinking. “What in the world am I supposed to do here?” You might notice that there are pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. How is it possible for someone to have THAT many pictures of goats? But that’s the beauty of Instagram. Your feed can be whatever you want it to be about. As long as it has pretty pictures.
Now I’m not saying everyone has great pics, quite the opposite in fact, but if you want to start your Instagram feed AND have it be a reflection of your brand, you need to create a cohesive and tailored look.
And that starts with your photos.
You might be saying.. “But I’m not a professional photographer” and “I don’t have an Instagram Husband to take photos for me.” Not to worry. Here are my top tips to creating a cohesive look with your photos on Instagram.
Decide on your look.
What is your brand messaging? Is it bold? Is it feminine? What colors do you use? You will want to iron out these details in order to ensure your images match up with your brand. Will you pictures be bright and airy? Or will they be dark and moody? Write down all of your ideas so that you can capture this every time you post something.
Know how to use your phone.
If you’re using your phone to take photos it is important to know that your phone has a tendency to blow out portions of your image. This usually results in bright, white patches in your photo. The trick to combating this is to underexpose your photos. You can always adjust this when you edit them. To under exposing your images tap and hold your camera on the brightest area of the photo you are looking to take, This will ensure that these bright areas are not blown out.
Light it up.
You don’t have to be a professional photographer to post images on Instagram but if you want your feed to look sharp and professional you need your images to be well lit and in focus. Natural light is your friend so if you can take your photos outdoors go for it. A beautiful,sunny day is amazing but a cloudy, gray day actually takes the most consistent, well lit photos. If you are indoors try standing next to a big, bright window. Make sure to turn off all the artificial lighting and use the natural lighting from the window.
The rule of thirds.
Some rules are meant to be broken but this one holds pretty true. When taking a picture think of breaking your image into thirds (both horizontally and vertically). If you are not sure what this looks like your phone has a grid feature that will make this super easy. Place your subject (yourself, your food, your dog) in the intersections. People’s eyes are naturally drawn to the intersection points as opposed to the center. The rule of thirds will help your images to be more visually pleasing.
Here is where the consistency really comes into play. You don’t have to be a photoshop wiz in order to edit your photos like a pro. There are a TON of apps that will allow you to edit your photos quick and easily from your phone. Some of my favorites are Snapseed and VSCO. Pick some of the premade filters that fit well with your brand and use those on all of your photos. If your photos are turning out too dark you can adjust the exposure or brightness to help them pop! https://vsco.co/store/app https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/snapseed/id439438619?mt=8
Consider some professional photos.
I know, I know.. I just said you don’t need it. BUT… hiring someone to provide you with a handful of professional images can really go along way. Whether you need headshots or lifestyle photos it can be worth the investment to have clean, high quality images to add to your feed. Work with your photographer to explain the look and esthetic you are trying to achieve.
When in doubt…stock photos.
They really make it easy for you sometimes. Stock photos are a quick and easy way to add images to your feed that capture your look and brand. And guess what?? They are free! (well some are). Here are some of my favorites
Are you a visual person? The Instagram grid is like a canvas. It will showcase all of your best work. Take a look at your grid as a whole to ensure that it looks consistent. Are you posting a picture one day and then a quote the next? It’s up to you to decide how you want it to look but consistency is the key. There are many apps that can help you to plan out your posts so you can see what they will look like in your grid. Use these apps to create the content and look you are trying to achieve and then schedule them to automatically post for you. www.planoly.com https://thepreviewapp.com/
It’s time to start snapping those photos!
Your Instagram feed should be a reflection of you and your brand. Keeping it clean, organized and consistent allows your audience to understand your brand and message. Put these tips and tricks into action and you will be well on your way to up-leveling your Instagram game!
About the Author
Laurie Shields is a native of Washington state where she lives with her very patient and amazing husband, 2 slightly rambunctious boys, 15 chickens and 2 goats. She is a professional social media strategist, photographer, and lover of sarcasm. Visit her website: laurieshieldsmedia.com