For the past 5 years I have tried to gain a following on Instagram and failed miserably. It’s only since about two years that my following grew above a couple of thousand. Since that first post in 2014 I have learned a lot and mostly that a beautiful feed rakes in more followers than one that is all over the place. Just think about how you decide to follow an account based on those first seconds on someones feed. When you know what to expect you are much more likely to follow an account. When it’s aesthetically pleasing you’re also more likely to follow no matter if you know what to expect.
Below you will find some things I have been doing lately and worked for me.
Pick a niche you like and stick with it. It’s still one of the easiest ways to do it. I can’t be bothered with limiting myself with one niche, but it seems to work for a lot of photographers on Instagram. I prefer the freedom to post whatever I like, but it might be a way for you to try and keep an aesthetic on your feed.
Edit your photos
An obvious one is to edit your photos. Create your own aesthetic. Pick a way of editing that fits your type of photography or your niche. Maybe you photograph at night and have a moody, dark feed. Maybe you travel a lot and shoot palm trees and blue skies. Your feed will be more bright and blueish. Editing your photos will make it more consistent.
You can save your edit as a preset and apply it again on other photos. This will ensure a consistent tone and will make it easier for you.
The two tips mentioned above are really important, but a lot of photographers prefer to shoot different niches and have different editing styles. I found myself editing pictures in black and white even though I preferred to colour edit. I descided not to post certain pictures because it didn’t fit in my feed. So I had to find other ways to make my feed more appealing while allowing me to post and edit the way I like.
Use white borders
The three photos below are from different moments in time, but they’re all from my feed. I used to just upload the square pictures to instagram, but with all the different colours it started to look messy. I then started to add a white border and it immediately looked better. Later I added a full border and started to post by colour.
Watch the tone
Somewhere about a year ago I started to watch the colours of my pictures. I made trio’s based on colours so that when everything lined up you got a line of three matching photos. Later I put in more work and added a line of black and white photos for every coloured one. Soon I ran out of black and white photos and decided that this system wasn’t sustainable. I found myself editing in function of instagram, which was never my intention and is never a good idea. So I figured out a new system. I collected all my instagram worthy photos in a folder and started to arrange them by colour so you would get a nice steady flow of photos with a similar tone that only gradually changes. It turned out to be a painstaking work and my eyes tricked me a couple of times resulting in strange transitions. Luckily I came across a program called ‘imagesorter‘ which sorts your images by colour. Since then my feed looks much more consistent even though I’m posting all kinds of different subjects.
Now stories are interesting because you can go both ways. You can use stories as an extension of your feed and keep up your aesthetic there or you can see stories as a place to experiment and post whatever you like. Just don’t forget to use stories to post actual stories.
Test before your post
You can edit all you want, but you’re never sure what your photos will look like next to each other. I use Unum to plan out my future posts. The app shows your Instagram feed and gives you ’empty’ posts. You just add your future posts and switch them around to test out different options. It’s a great way to guarantee that your posts are consistent.
Thoughts, comments, questions? Let me know in the comment section below.
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