Do you ever look at someone’s perfectly designed feed and wonder how they get each post to beautifully transition into the next to create a stunning, cohesive masterpiece? It can look complicated but with a plan in place and a couple of tricks you can also become an Instagram genius.
Visuals are one of the most powerful ways to connect with your audience. That is why Instagram is the best and fastest growing social media platform for your business. Instagram has the potential to pave the way for you to connect with your audience on a deeper level than other social media channels. Standing out with a beautifully curated feed will put you ahead of the game.
Having a cohesive, consistent Instagram feed not only looks fabulous but will help grow your following as well. People crave consistency, especially on social media. Your 1st 6 photos are the most important as those are the first ones people stumble upon. Take a critical look at your Instagram feed - not in a superficial way, but a way that you can allow your skills to shine in the best light.
Instagram is an extension of your brand. Your content should display what makes you unique. This means that in order to stand above the noise you must create brilliant visual content. The common misconception is that you need to be a professional photographer in order to create brilliant content, but that isn’t the case. You only need to know the basics of creating captivating photos and putting them together in a cohesive manner.
There are two ways people look at your Instagram content: seeing your posts individually in their daily feeds or on your profile all together in a layout. When people see your content all together in your profile they will most likely be potential followers. They will see your profile and decide whether they want to follow you or not. This is why it is essential to make sure your Instagram layout is cohesive and visually appealing. In this post, I am going to get you on right track to creating an exquisite Instagram feed.
Planning your feed
One of the best kept Instagram secrets is planning out your feed in advance. Yes, you may think that people throw up posts whenever they feel like it but this is rarely true when you see a stunning, put-together Instagram account. Content is usually planned out days in advance while leaving room for a couple spontaneous posts in between.
There are many apps that will help you plan out your feed - UNUM, Planoly, and PLANN. These are beyond helpful in guiding you through the process of planning out your feeds easily. Using these apps will keep you from posting blindly. If you plan ahead then it also takes the struggle out of wondering what to post every day to stay consistent.
Consistency is always key on social media, especially Instagram. You keep your followers engaged by posting regularly. Your audience is following you because they are interested in your content so give them something to follow every day or at least every other day.
One of the biggest reasons I see that people struggle with posting consistently on Instagram is that they don’t know exactly what to post and when to post it. With a plan in place, you can not only make sure your feed looks aesthetically beautiful, but you are not constantly searching for random photos to throw up on your Instagram feed.
Here are some incredible examples of planned out feeds that will help guide you to plan out your own amazing Instagram.
Jasmine Star does an incredible job at planning out her Instagram content. You can tell as each post beautifully transitions into the next. As you can see, she uses negative space to frame up some posts so they visually stand out amongst the rest. It gives her feed an altogether balanced and clean look.
Bri Emery of Design Love Fest is truly an Instagram queen. If you want to get inspired by colorful Instagram layouts then her account is the place to be. You can tell that planning comes easy for her as she does an incredible job at how her feed looks as a whole. The colors in her feed are all transitioning perfectly into one another while each individual post is still stunning on it own as well. She does this by having her content in the same color scheme so her photos have a common thread weaving them together in a cohesive masterpiece.
Choosing a theme
Choosing a theme will be a natural extension of what your business is all about. This will not only help your aesthetics stay consistent but keep your feed focused so people can expect the type of content they will be following along from you.
Try to think of one main theme for your Instagram. This can be as general as you can get. For me, my main focus is color inspiration. I capture colorful moments whether that’s in my work, photography, or daily life. Next, think of 3-6 different types of content you will post in regards that theme.
If you are a health coach some examples for you could be - delicious healthy recipes, restaurant interiors, beautiful food photography, yoga or your healthy daily lifestyle.
Choosing a theme does not limit you instead it opens up more opportunities to create more focused content. The more focused your content is the more you can attract those specific people who align with your business. Sticking with a theme also guides your account to be more cohesive in visual terms as well. Here are some useful examples of people who have their themes down like a pro.
Caroline White is one of my favorite Instagram accounts as her feed is filled with photography inspiration and I love that I can count on exactly what type of content she is going to post. She is a lifestyle photographer who captures women entrepreneurs and her content clearly reflects that. Not only are her photos breath-taking but I get to discover new accounts and businesses from the people she works with. Her Instagram is focused, clear, and themed with beauty, color, and travel.
Kelly Mindell at Studio DIY is full of the most amazing color explosions. Because her Instagram account is so themed you know that every day you will get a bit of color inspiration exploding on your daily feed as well. It stands out like no other and her theme is so focused that I feel a strong connection to her posts which is why I’ve been following along for years.
A consistent editing style
This is one of the most important components involved in creating a cohesive Instagram layout. If you keep your editing routine consistent, then you have more flexibility to capture and post a variety of photos to your Instagram feed. This is something that can truly make your cohesive Instagram masterpiece shine. This is also where most of the cohesive magic comes from.
Also from a branding perspective, having a unique editing style will set you apart from every other Instagrammer around. This is a way to extend your brand aesthetic past your website and into the somewhat crowded Instagram space. Be sure to choose an editing style that aligns with your brand aesthetics.
A great place to pull inspiration for your own editing style is on Pinterest. Pin photos that you feel aligned to and try to pick out what exactly makes that photo look the way it does. For example - are the colors saturated or desaturated? Is the photo exposed and bright? Does it have warmer or cooler tones?
Once you have a feel for what you want your photos to look like, recreate your own unique editing style and stay consistent with it for every single photo you post. You can also use the same filters for every photo to keep everything consistent as well. Some of my favorite editing apps are VSCO cam (which has great filters), Snapseed, and A Color Story.
Here are some examples that will help you see how people have used a consistent editing style in their content.
Chloe Wen has a very branded and beautiful editing routine. You can tell all of her photos are consistently edited with less saturation, light contrast, and a slight green tint. She may use a consistent filter or she may edit these consistently every single time. Either way, they are unique to her own branded style.
Veera Bianca’s feed is filled with travel inspiration that will make you want to pack a bag and explore. Her consistent editing style is branded to her unique aesthetic as well. You can see that she has a desaturated, high contrast, blue and earth-toned editing routine that she stays consistent throughout each one of her posts. Her photos are mostly in the same color scheme but her editing routine pulls it all together into a beautiful masterpiece.
Add quote graphics
Adding quote graphics are amazing for creating negative space between two busy posts. It is also another way you can extend your brand color palette through your Instagram feed. This will provide fun pops of color to your feed while staying consistent in your branding.
They don't always have to be colored graphics. Having a white background with black text will do the trick as well - especially if don’t want the color in your graphics to compete with the color in your photos. You can even reverse it and do a dark background with white text as well.
Here are some examples of 2 of my favorite accounts who are really utilizing quote graphics to keep their feeds cohesive and branded.
Amira Rahim’s account is absolutely dreamy. Her use of consistent color makes her one of my favorite accounts to follow. As you can see, she uses a pink quote graphic in her feed to promote a podcast she was on. I love the way it transitions so gorgeously into her other colorful posts and paintings. It provides that negative space between her two adjacent posts which really makes one another pop.
Darling is another example of utilizing quote graphics and is quite the opposite from the above example. Darling uses a couple different brand colors for their quote graphics - all muted hues. This dark gray colored quote perfectly compliments the other colors in their feed. Their feed isn’t full of highly saturated color, so these muted colors don’t have to compete with everything else going on.
Keep it balanced
There is an art to creating a cohesive Instagram layout. Most of the art comes from creating balance between your posts. This gives a sense of visual stability and always gives a cleaner aesthetic. This is something that will come easier as you get more comfortable posting but here are some incredible examples of accounts that have conquered Instagram feed balance.
Elsie Larson from A Beautiful Mess is an Instagram content genius. Her feed is always balanced with color, texture, and amazing use of negative space. As you can she separates busier posts in her feed by negative space or muted colors. In her latest post that is a flat lay of a smoothie bowl, you can see that the white background helps create balance between the cactus post that has a busier texture that creates more visual weight. Balance is all about creating contrast so each post can stand out equally instead of all meshing together into a big mess. Elise’s account is a clear example of balance done right.
Amina Mucciolo of Studio Mucci has conquered the art of balance by using negative space to make her colorful posts stand out in all their beauty. The 3rd and 4th post do an amazing job of creating space between her more textured, busier posts. When you look at her feed as a whole your eye is able to move around easily because there is visual space to rest. Sky photos are an incredible way to do this effectively and Amina did this perfectly with her 4th post as well.
Trust the learning process
Creating beautiful content and cohesive feeds on Instagram is a journey of constant learning. It will get easier and more fun with time. Don’t let the fear of Instagram perfection slow you down. The beauty of Instagram is that things move fast. You may have a post or an area of your feed you don't like, but if you post consistently eventually it will be too far down your feed to even remember. Get out there and start posting content as you will learn how to create cohesive content even more along the way.
Some cohesive Instagram packs at Creative Market
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