A Beginners Guide to #Awesome Instagram Photos

Want to get more out of your Instagram photos?

Who doesn’t?

The truth is that we all want more devoted and authentic followers on Instagram. The easiest way to get those followers is to give them a constant stream of Instagram photos that capture both their attention and their heart.

While engagement, using the right hashtags and other factors will play into the level of success that you achieve on Instagram, it’s safe to say that you won’t accomplish much with shoddy pictures. People come to Instagram for the aesthetic, which means that your feed needs to be the most attractive and compelling one around if you want to earn your audience’s attention.

So, how do you make your ‘grams genuinely incredible?

The process may not be as complicated as you think.

Step 1 – Don’t Take Instagram Photos Until You Know Your Audience

First things first, put down your selfie stick.

Unless you’re only on Instagram to improve your photography skills, you’ll need to get to know your audience before you start snapping away. Ultimately, whether you’re an influencer or a brand, your Instagram feed isn’t there for you – it’s for your followers.

Did you know that 30% of Instagram users have already purchased a product just because they saw it on their feed? If you can take the time to get to know your potential customers or fans before you start shooting, you’ll have a much better chance of taking Instagram photos they’ll be interested in. Ask yourself:

  • What kind of people do you want to attract?
  • What subjects or topic areas are they interested in?
  • What kind of aesthetic appeals most to them?
  • Who do they already follow on Instagram that you can imitate?

For instance, if you’re looking to appeal to a younger, more playful audience, you might decide to take plenty of bright-colored photos like Sam Ushiro:

Step 2 – Choose an Aesthetic for Your Feed

Consistency is key on your Instagram feed.

That means you can’t afford to post photos with a different filter every day of the week. The more professional and cohesive your Instagram photos look, the more likely your audience is to hit that “Follow” button.

Your Instagram aesthetic is the #vibe that you use to attract and delight your followers. The theme you choose will depend on the audience that you defined above, so keep your user personas in mind. Some common options include:

  • Pastel shades: Soft, traditionally feminine colours like pink and purple are popular among a primarily female, younger crowd. These shades are common among beauty and health brands.
  • Mysterious or sensual: Deeper, darker shades like black and red express a bolder, more sensual personality for your brand. You can also use more shadows in your Instagram photos to upgrade the mystery.
  • Glamorous: Golden colours, rich whites, and pictures of expensive products will all contribute to a more glamorous appearance for your Instagram feed.
  • Black and white: Minimalism is a common trend among technology companies and artists. If you want to convey yourself as forward-thinking and innovative, this is the theme for you.
  • Bohemian: Soft shades, sun-drenched filters, and vintage vibes are ubiquitous on Instagram these days. They’re great for beauty and hair brands, as well as influencers that want a romantic feel on their feed.

Our advice? Take a look through some of the most popular feeds in your niche and find out what kind of aesthetic your competitors are using. This is a great way to create a more competitive stream of Instagram photos. Check out Wildehousepaper’s gorgeous feed for instance:

Screenshot of the Wildehousepaper Instagram feed

Step 3 – Choose Core Colors for your Instagram Photos

Choosing your theme might help you to decide on the core colors you want to use in your Instagram photos. However, if you decide on the kind of image you’re going to take, you’ll still need to pick your core shades before you can create a stunning feed.

If you don’t want to just go for the same aesthetic as everyone else, you could try adding your brand’s colors into the mix instead. If making sure every photo you take includes one of your brand colors seems like too much work, you could try using tools like VSCO to add your logo or a colored filter to some of your pictures.

Look at how Sprout Social uses colors like blue and green in their pictures to make their feed look more cohesive:

Screenshot of the Sprout Social Instagram page

If you need some inspiration for how you can take advantage of color in your Instagram photos, make sure that you check out @Pantone’s feed. As the leading authority on color, they know how to make a splash on Instagram.

Step 4 – Be Selective with Your Instagram Photos

Here’s the thing about Instagram photos.

You want to take a lot of them so that you have plenty of options to choose from when you’re building out your feed. However, just because you take a lot of pictures, doesn’t mean that you should be posting them all.

Ultimately, if you want your knowledge of Instagram filters and feeds to bring new followers your way, then it’s important to go for quality over quantity. Upload your photos one at a time, treating your feed like a curated gallery, rather than a dumping ground for everything in your phone gallery.

Remember, before you upload anything, think back to the theme that you chose for your feed, and ask yourself whether the image you’re posting is relevant to the identity you’re trying to create for your brand. You might need to take some time out during this stage to think about how you want your followers to perceive you. Ask yourself whether you’re playful, sophisticated, innovative, and how you can convey that through the subjects that you photograph and the colors you use. You’d be surprised what you can come up with when you get creative.

For instance, Kat Spade wanted their feed to appear playful and curious, so everything posted on Kate Spade’s NY page is consistent with that personality. The soft pink shades and feminine images are great for highlighting the nature of the brand.

Step 5 – Get with the Grid

If you’re an everyday user of Instagram, then you probably don’t know much about the grid layout.

However, if you want to be a professional IG superstar, then it pays to learn as much as you can about this concept. There are plenty of great tools online today that will allow you to see exactly what your posts are going to look like on Instagram before you publish them to the grid.

Some of the most popular grid options include:

  • The Rainbow Feed: If you’re not sticking to your brand’s core colors you can consider using multiple colors that change as your users scroll through your Instagram photos.
  • The Puzzle feed: The puzzle layout is one of the toughest for your Instagram photos, as it involves arranging pictures into a single overall photo.
  • Checkerboard feed: As the name suggests, you arrange your images into a checker box style based on things like their content and background color.
  • Vertical lines feed: This is one of the most common Instagram feed options. Ideally, you want a central line that’s defined by a color that contrasts strongly with the other lines on the grid.

Here’s an awesome example of the Puzzle layout from @WeAreWildBloom:

An example of the Puzzle Grid by @WeAreWildBloom

It’s Time to Plan Your Instagram Photos

Ultimately, making your Instagram photos stand out doesn’t have to be as complicated as it seems. The key to success is planning your images so that you know how they’re going to appear on your feed, and why they should appeal to your target audience.

The more you get used to planning your feed and looking at everything with an artist’s perspective, the more likely it is that you’ll spot fantastic #Grammable pictures in your day-to-day life. Choosing a theme and a strategy for Instagram makes it easier to see when a particular shot could add something incredible to your feed.

Of course, if you want to get the most out of your Instagram photos, then you need a lot more than just a strategy. You also need some help.

Here at Upleap, we can help you not only understand your Instagram feed but learn how to use it to your advantage too! Get your free trial and start earning followers today!



By Rebekah Carter

Hi! I'm Rebekah, a full-time writer specializing in the spaces of digital content, business, social media and tech.

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