Instagram feed giving you the blues? Want to create a functional and cohesive feed that tells your story and gets your message out in an aesthetic way.
Below a few quick tips that I hope will help you do JUST that.
I struggled so much with finding my "voice" with my in feed imagery, and it wasn't until just recently, that I found the magic that works for me. I don't have all the answer, but what I have been doing works. How do I know, because I am happy with what I am creating and putting together AND that's what it's about. It's not about creating the prettiest feed for THEM, but it's about putting in the work to produce something that YOUR proud of - and that's what matters.
SO below, 9 thing that helped me do JUST that.
Choose a COLOR theme
Decide how your feed is going to represent you and your content.
Are you going with light and airy, bright and bold, dark and moody or choosing a color palette that will flow through your imagery as you share your content on your feed?
Choosing a color scheme is a process and there are quite a few things to consider when finalizing that decision. It's important to know that this will change over time, and as you change and are drawn to different things, how you choose to communicate that through your instagram feed will also change. LEAVE ROOM FOR THAT GROWTH. It's okay.
When decided on how to choose a color scheme a few questions to consider:
Where are you going to photograph your content most consistently? In your home, your backyard, your bedroom, the beach, a local coffee shop? What location is the majority of your content being created?
What are you drawn to and what gets you most excited? When you are looking at the feeds of bloggers/ influencers you love, who's work gets you most excited and why? Dissect and break it down.
What can you keep up with? What is going to be easy for you to keep up with. Don't start something you don't have the skills or resources to keep up with. That will leave you feeling overwhelmed and frustrated.
As you can see in the two sets of images below, I was figuring it out. I had gone on vacation and taken beautiful images and wanted to share them and they made my feed gorgeous, but the reality is that I could not keep up with bright, white and airy and it isn't what I am naturally drawn to, but you know what I love? Neutrals. Black and whites and pops of color. I always have. I knew that I could manage incorporating black and white into my imagery because it is in my wardrobe, in my home and is what I am naturally drawn to. I chose brown because of my skin and I knew that I could consistently deliver a various of browns through mine and my family's skin color and this pop of burnt orange. A color I have come to love that looks good on every member of my family. When taking pictures, I always make sure one of these elements show up in every picture I take.
Understand TONES and how they impact your pictures
A secret to creating consistent imagery that feels good is understanding color theory and how colors can be used to compliment, balance, cool down and warm up an image. If you tend to dress in cool tones, warm background will help to bring your images together and bring in the warm tones that maybe don't work well with your skin and if you're like me and tend to navigate toward warmer toned clothes,finding cool toned backdrops of what you bring to the table will help to balance that out.
Ever see an image that feels way too yellow/orange or blue/purple or have trouble getting magenta and green tints out of your skin tones? That is color balance and a way to alleviate that is to understand how colors work together and complement each other and to pull the opposite in for balance. The more you understand the color wheel, the more naturally you'll be able to identify background or backdrops that won't and will work when out creating.
On the wheel below, colors that are found next to one another tend to be 'complimentary,' and those that are opposite of each other balance the others, like red and green or blue and orange, or purple and gold.
image sourced via Pinterest
Decide on LIGHTING that tells that story and keep it consistent
Lighting is a huge part of how your imagery is created and is a part of how your story is told. It is important to pick a lighting style learn about and understand it and incorporate it in your imagery as a way you story tell. Whether its natural light, studio light, off-camera flash, window light, shadows or golden hour, pick one and stick with it.
If you decide to mix it up, just make sure that you are consistently showing the mixed light throughout your feed and that it is ALSO telling a story throughout your grid.
If you don't have one photographer, this might mean doubling down and learning how to create your own imagery or hiring someone to consistently create with so that there is a uniformity in your imagery.
When creating, watch your BACKGROUND
When choosing settings for your pictures, choose 2-3 locations that are always available to you that you can alternate between to create images that will draw people in.
For example: I live in an urban, industrial city in the Pacific NW that is very green most of the year. So my three locations are:
Urban City Landscape
Inside of my home
Identifying three consistent backdrops makes it easy for me to choose locations that compliment my color theme, allowing my imagery to come together in a uniform way and sharpens my eyes to what settings will work and won't work when traveling or outside of my comfort zone.
You can see that reflected in the images below.
Decide how to COMMUNICATE your message
Your photos should be consistent and have a theme to them. My photos showcase my life as a mom, whether I am working, traveling, providing inspiration, it comes through the lens of my family. I like to showcase our lifestyle by sharing our journey with you, so when you come to my page you are going to see pictures of me, me with my girls, my girls alone or together or my family as a whole. It is rare that you see someone else featured on my feed and if you do, you know they are special and important to me. What I want to communicate to you comes through the lens of womanhood and motherhood.
How do you want to tell your story? Are you a fashion blogger and want to tell it by showcasing your outfits? Do you do makeup and want to share beat face selfies? Do you travel and want to tell your story through amazing travel photos? or do you have a product and want to share your message through it... Whatever it is - make sure it's consistent and true to YOU.
Use an ELEMENT consistently to tie it all together
If you struggle with a color scheme or can't always find backgrounds that are always the same, pick an element that YOU can always tie in, like a prop.
Because I am a Black women, I know that brown will always show up in my pictures because of my skintone, so I chose a capsule wardrobe with 3-4 colors that include the brown of my skin, created "content wardrobe" to wear when shooting (my family included) and it always works to bring my images together, no matter my surroundings.
If you can't control the elements around you, become the prop.
Choose an EDITING style and stick to it
Play, play, play with filters, editing apps and colors to decide your look, feel and to create your feed aesthetic. I love true color, warm toned and slightly contrasty images and so you see that reflected in my feed. Try different techniques & presets to decide what communicates the feeling you want your images to have, make it your own and then copy and paste it throughout your images to manifest your style.
My favorite editing apps are:
and my preset that is coming soon
Create a LAYOUT for sharing your images
How you present your images in feed matter. Ever seen a feed where every picture is a selfie? Mix it up. My feed generally works like this: solo image, image with the girls, image of each girl, image of girls together, image of me with the girls, image of our whole family, image of the girls with their dad (except he's a bit camera shy).
Here's an a couple of examples that might work for you:
One: close up, far away, scenery, product, selfie and repeat.
Two: flat lay, group photo, solo image, scenery close up, quote
Think about your pictures and shuffle them like a deck of cards, no two like images should be next to each other. Check out my example above.
Have a PLAN and let it guide you
Like most things in life, the more you plan and prepare, the better the results, so before you head into that next content creation session, take some time to pause, scout some locations ahead of time, write out your thoughts, create a mood board and come up with a shot list, gather your props, plan your outfits and go out confidently with an idea of what you are creating. envision and come up with a plan.
What you create will be loads stronger and will help you to get closer to your goal of having a more cohesive feed.
After reading this, I know that by incorporating even one of these things changes into the way you create content will get you closer to a feed that you will fall in love with.
Remember it's a marathon not a sprint and you're in it for the long haul. If you found this blog helpful, be sure to subscribe so that you don't miss the next one.
Until next time....
With strength, wisdom and courage,