A guide to crafting a beautiful Instagram feed

Long gone are the days where we use Instagram to snap the food we just ate and upload shameless selfies before a big night out.
The candid snaps are still a focal point of Instagram, but when you’re a business – you’ve gotta be more strategic.

But I see too many strategies on acquiring Instagram followers focused on the numbers.

What about the quality of the content?

 

Let’s break down the numbers

You follow 20 new accounts in hope that these people will check out your account and follow you back:

  • 15 of them check out your account
  • 7 of them interact with you (like or comment on one of your images)
  • Only 3 decide to follow you back

 

Now, my goal isn’t to bring more viewers to an Instagram account.
My goal is to get more people to turn that blue follow button green.
How cool would it be if you followed 20 new accounts, and all 20 accounts followed you back?

This is called increasing your conversion rate.

You are converting your visitors into new followers.
Your conversion rate doesn’t just apply to your followers number.
How many of your followers like your photos?
And how many of these interactions turn into a sale?
Knowing these numbers and more importantly, knowing how to increase these numbers is your ticket to gaining more Instagram followers.

One sure fire way of increasing your conversion rate is to post quality images.
Beautiful sells.
Consistency sticks.
And admit it; you’re more likely to follow an Instagram account if you find the photos genuinely pretty? Right?

So here are my tips to help you craft a beautiful and consistent Instagram feed that will get you more followers.

 

Shoot your photos in bright light

Taking your snaps when the sun is out will result in beautiful, bright photos. Light will help to bring out the details in your photos. Not to mention its super flattering!

Photos taken with bad lighting usually results in a loss of detail, graininess or a blurry photo.

 

Edit your photos

Playing around with the Photo Editing tools in your Instagram app can quickly take your photos from eh to wow.

Brightness – I abuse the brightness function perhaps more than I should. Don’t be afraid to jump your brightness up to give your photos the crisp white look.

Contrast – I increase the contrast slightly to give the colours in an image more pop.

Warmth – When shooting indoors, I usually run into the dreaded yellow photo curse. It doesn’t help that my apartment walls are painted in warm cream. Adjusting the warmth down will give your photo a nice minimalist stark white look.

Saturation – I use the saturation tool when posting brightly coloured photos. Saturation helps to bring the colours out even more when used subtly.

Shadows and Highlights – I don’t use these functions very often. However, sometimes when you brighten your picture, you might find that your image loses some detail. Increasing your shadow setting will help darken the edges and corners of your objects again.

Sharpen – When used sparingly, sharpening your photos can result in a crisp and clear finish. I sharpen images when uploading photos of very detailed products (like embroidery or artwork).

You can also use a third party editing app like VSCO Cam to give your photos more oomph.

 

Look at your Instagram feed as a big picture

To create a consistent feed, you need to view your Instagram as a whole rather than lots of separate images.When you are posting an image, think about how it will look like next to your other photos. This means that all your photos should have a consistent element or theme to tie them together.

 

Follow a theme

Settling on a theme or style can help you direct your shoots and look for similar elements. Your theme should be a style or ‘look’ that you love and would like to replicate in your images.

I’ve highlighted a few of my fave Instagrammers and how they use themes to mesh their photos together.

 

Crisp minimalism

@canarygrey uses a minimalist approach to her photos. There is a lot of white. A lot of bright. Bold edges. And a lot of negative space.

Crisp minimalism

 

Dark + moody

@ameliemancini achieves beauty in her photos by using dark backdrops and elements to frame her handmade items.

Dark and moody filters

 

Pastel brights

@cestmaria uses bright coloured backgrounds and a minimalist approach as a recurring element in her Instagram.

Cest Maria instagram images

 

A pop of pink and blue

@noellekramer uses shades of pink and blue and beautiful sunsets throughout her images. The result? A beautiful, consistent and pretty lookin’ feed.

Noelle Kramer instagram images

Your feed can follow any theme you want.
The main rule is to stay consistent.

 

Be strategic in what you post next

Whenever I post a new image to my feed I always think about what it looks like next to:

  • My previous post and;
  • My third post

Consistency

Why do I focus on the first and third photo?
Simply because when you upload, your new image will appear next to the previous photo and above the third photo.
I analyze my image to make sure that it fits in and is balanced against the other two images.
This helps me hone in my focus to just 3 images. Instead of trying to figure out if my photo is consistent with my entire feed.

Before I hit the upload button, here are some of the factors I consider first:

  • The colours of the latest post should match or coordinate with the first and third photo.
  • If the first and third post are detail heavy, the newest photo should be clean and simple to balance out any chaos.

Don’t be afraid to go through your Instagram feed on a regular basis to delete any images that just don’t fit. I regularly conduct an Instagram purge to keep my feed fresh and the new ideas flowing.

 

I hope this guide has been useful. Crafting a beautiful Instagram feed is not hard. You just have to be strategic and keep posting until you find a consistent theme.
Please comment below if you have any other tips to add or if you have any questions you’d like answered about Instagram branding.

You can also see how I integrate my tips over at my very own Craftsposure Instagram feed.

5-min-instagram-growth

Would you like to learn how to increase your IG following?

 

Join Five Minute Instagram Growth: a free Instagram course that will help you get more followers. Five growth lessons. Five days. Five minutes a day.

Recent Posts
  • This was a wonderful article. Thank you for sharing. I’m very glad I am following you on INSTA!

    • Ria

      Thanks Camille, glad you enjoyed it! – Ria

  • Thank you for laying these ideas//tools out in such a fundamental way. Easy to digest and makes total sense. Can’t wait to start practicing!

    • Ria

      Thanks Tiff, your IG looks great so far! – Ria

  • Very helpful, who would have thought ask that detail effects your followers. Nice one.

    • Ria

      Thank you Michelle. Yep little things you do on Instagram can boost up your like/comment/follow rate for sure! – Ria

  • Fantastic! Some great ideas to work with.
    Thankyou
    Ellen

    • Ria

      Thanks Ellen, I’m glad it helped xo

  • Thank you so much for sharing Ria. I am new to having my shop on Insta, and it can be quite overwhelming! All of your tips are so useful, though, and everything is so well written and laid out. Now to implementing… :)

    • Ria

      Thanks Christine! Once you start playing around with it everyday things fall in place :) Ria

  • Hi, Ria! I have been following @craftsposure for a while now, but am pleasantly and refreshingly enthusiastic I finally visited your blog! Thank you a million times over for sharing not only amazing tips, but for giving personal experiences and highlighting examples that really help drive your points home. I am looking forward to applying your tips to my own Instagram feed immediately! Thank you again.

    • Ria

      Thank you Sharisse – your feed is gorgeous! Ria xo

  • Love it! Super super helpful. I’m especially excited to implement the consistency strategy – I’m much more likely to post something I’m excited about than think about the layout and the ‘big picture’.

    • Ria

      Glad my post helped Melody :) Ria xo

  • This is the best article I’ve seen about IG. I especially appreciate the 1st and 3rd post reference. Now I’m off to purge my feed.

    http://redkingpress.com

    • Ria

      Thanks Rory! xx

  • Fab info, thank you for sharing! Off to purge … 😉

    • Ria

      Thank you!! Best of luck with your IG xo

  • Thank you for sharing these amazing tips. I must admit, sticking to a single theme on Instagram is really hard. But I will try to follow these tips. :)

    • Ria

      Thanks! Sometimes a theme just comes after you’ve been using Instagram for a long time – it’s definitely not something you can force! Ria

  • Bonnie

    Thank you sooo much for your ideas. I am a jewelry designer and been wanting to start up on Etsy but not confident about doing a blog but doing it on Instagram sounds like maybe something I can do if I follow your guidelines. Thanks again….

    • Ria

      Instagram is a great alternative for a blog if you are time strapped! It’s simple (and addictive!) Good luck with your Insta xo

  • wow I had never thought how my images looked next to the others – thanks for sharing I will be making use of your knowedlge trust me!! :)

  • JothyWhite

    You are absolutely right about everything you said! Conversion and engagement are the things that are hard to measure but crucial for a sustainable growth. Third party apps may come in handy, especially the ones that can automate routine actions such as filtering your followings. i deal with this task by using fast-unfollow.com, it’s the fastest such app i could find with the rate of 5000 unfollows per day. Another vital app is postso.com, it can schedule the posting time so you fit in the best time frame for your region or niche. there’s athing i’d like to ask: does anybody know any apps to create collages in your gallery? i’ve seen many people creating patterns of 6 posts forming one image, but i don’t want to do it manually, can anyone suggest some ways to do it?

  • Katie

    I just really want to thank you for always providing such amazing insight and advice – and for free! As a new small business, I really cannot thank you enough or put into words what that means to me. Thank you.

  • My biggest problem with my feed is lack of consistency. I love trying out new ways to edit and it results in a pretty but slight inconsistent looking feed. I need to choose a style and stick to it. I just love trying new things so much that I feel like creatively I would get bored editing the same way all the time. Thanks for the awesome tips. Jx

  • Thanks bunches for these great points and for your support of makers, Ria.

  • Great article. I’ve been torn between my love for each photo I post individually and the way I want my feed to look. This article really helps to bring it home about what’s most important. Will be sharing this on my Twitter account: @clearlyTHUYDOAN.

  • swaineee_

    i really love this and please follow me Swaineee_

  • Amilin

    This is great but I’m wanting to add a theme to my feed as well as posting pictures of my daily life like pictures of me, with my friends, places I go, food I eat.. not some random things like a colorful pretty thing against a white background. Help please!

    • Steve Fotiadis

      If you want that you can always make a new account to upload your everyday photos……This is what I do?

  • melissa

    Thanks for this brilliant article. Some really useful tips! Im wanting to create a pattern on my feed where one column features images in a circle. Is there an app for that? Ive seen a couple other accounts achieve this look and love it but wondered whether there’s a simpler rule than the 3rd image posting one mentioned?

    • Ria

      Thanks for the comment Melissa! You don’t need to take the 3rd image rule too strictly. It just helps as a guideline. You can also simply give a quick swipe over your feed everytime you prepare your next post as well. You’ll retain visual cues and naturally start thinking of ways you can ‘match’ the photo your working on to the rest of your feed. For the circle, I did a quick search in the App store for “photo shape crop” and there are a few different options for apps that come up. I haven’t used any in particular so I don’t have any personal recommendations, sorry! I hope this helps and good luck – Ria xo

  • Kimberly Driedger

    Thank you for this EXTREMELY helpful guide! Here’s my question though, I have my account with currently only 1700 followers and less than 700 pictures from the past few years. Is it better to start a fresh account and lose all those followers? I started a new feed and sadly have only 430 people as of now, but the feed looks MUCH better. Should I wait it out and see what happens? I hate losing all the likes from some of my more popular posts, but love the cleanliness of the new feed. What do you think? I would love your opinion, and thank you for creating this blog entry!

    Old IG: kimberlydriedger
    New IG: kimberlyinwanderlust

    • Ria

      Hi Kimberly, thanks for the comment! Another option is to delete the photos that you don’t really like or you feel is out of place once you’ve built up enough new content. Growth is also a great thing. It’s so interesting scrolling through feeds of hugely popular Instagrammers and see their feeds transform. Just like anything; practice, trial and error and consistency will help you figure out the feel of your Instagram account and what your followers like the most. Don’t feel bad about the followers , you’ll find the one’s that stick with you are the ones that matter! Your feed looks fab! Ria xo

  • Meghan

    Such a helpful guide. Thank you thank you thank you!

    BeyondBasicBlog.com

  • My

    Very good post on a rather complicated topic! I really liked the idea of comparing the latest post to the last and third one. I’ve been comparing my next post with the REST of the the feed, and just narrowing it down to last and third just made my life easier! Thanks for sharing!

    Artist & Style Blogger | http://www.myohhmy.com
    Instragram feed if you’re intersted in checking out my progress: myohhmy

  • Jason Queen

    I think my Insta is a pretty good example of what you’re talking about here (not to sound cocky)

    I follow a grey and blue color scheme and post quotes into my actual feed

    @SimplyJasonQueen

    • Honey Fe Alcazar Bacug

      how do you post quote in the actual feed? :)

  • Simon

    I like to be able to earn money and relax (sic!), warts and all, with such apps. Your strategy makes to be armed to teeth) By the by, zengram.net would be the best decision if you are going to find smth new and useful.

  • Alex Kehoe

    Interesting read. Definitely going to try the first and third thing. Thank you. We have a instagram account dedicated to the most beautiful yoga mats we could find. Our theme is more pattern based. Let us know what you think. @yoga.mats

  • Johanna Sági

    That first and third photo thing was quite new to me thank you. It was overall a really helpful article, as I’m currenty trying to increase my Instagram conversion rate by starting a pink pattern, please check it out and let me know what you think. https://www.instagram.com/johanna_sagi/

  • Rising Wear

    This is amazing. Thank you so much. I have been struggling with my feed and you gave me great ideas to move forward. Thank you!

  • Leslie Stark

    can i ask what vsco filter used by @ameliemancini I love her feed. Thank you :)

  • Sam

    I love this article. Thank you for the insights. :) pls do check out my feed and comment about it. Thanks :) instagram.com/imsamoh

  • Stella

    I have a problem with my business Instagram page. (@AngelovaAndCo) I struggle with consistency or theme as you call it. I just love posting pictures of nature, but the business is for Fine Arts Focused designs. Also, my feed seems to be very colorful, with pictures that concentrate on white and most that are just colorful. I probably need someone with another point of view for advice.
    Thank you for the awesome blog!

  • Great article! I found my friend really interested in instagram, and she is great traveler, but when it comes to one theme in her profile, i think there is something not right. If you could say if there is way of fixing it, or maybe it is just my imagination, and profille is doing just fine?
    @blackboardstory. Would be grateful for hint. 😀 Cheers!

  • Ale Pilo

    Thanks for the detailed samples. I will keep working on my feed. I think I am still finding out what style I like my Instagram to look like.

    Do you delete images even if they had high number of likes?

  • great post! is there an app you’d recommend to preview your instagram as a whole? I used to use vsco, but they just recently changed their settings. I’m been searching around and seem to have only landed on Latergramm and this new one called snug? Any recommendations? Thanks! -n

    • Ayla

      You can use the app ‘UNUM’

    • Polly Polka-Dot

      Plann does that.

  • emasttt

    Can please someone tell me witch app is used on these pictures and the filters? Thanks so much

    • Sofia Carenzi

      probably VSCO 😉

  • Bethany

    I’ve seen so many people do this one thing on Instagram, where they take a quote or video and on both sides are a actual picture and in the middle of the pictures are a quote or video. Does that make sense? If so how do you do that? I think it’s pretty cool looking

  • Carl Dirkenson

    Great, thanks for that post! And also I use other apps to organize my instagram account and make it better. My favorite is zen-promo that finds real followers in chosen location. Heard about it? it helped me a lot in the beginning when I’ve just started on instagram

  • Honey Fe Alcazar Bacug

    do you have other suggestions such as what applications we can use to customize our instagram feed? I’ve stopped using instagram for 2 years and when I came back , a lot has been changed and I really wanted to have a nice feed. I will really appreciate some help. GOD BLESS! :)

  • RachelTravels

    link to content upgrade doesn’t work boo

  • Fatima Atinen Omandam

    Wow love reading your post! Very helpful especially to me who just started putting a theme to my instagram… love the first and third technique… thank you so much! My instagram is @iamfatima24 https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3c6c6550ef54f12994d1712fa9fe9b61d3cdbf28e6614e33d5bffcfadce6c1d9.png

  • chris gray

    Great post!
    I use the PLANN app for my IG and it helps me organize my posts as well as increasing the number of my followers. It’s amazing!