Today I am sharing how to make your Instagram pictures have a consistent style, or, how to create your own Instagram theme. This means making your photos look amazing not just individually but how to give your Instagram a cohesive style altogether.
I will start by sharing some accounts that I feel do this really well. You can see how each of these brands have a unique style and how their pictures fit together and have what we call flow.
All of the accounts above have got their theming spot on. I always test this with what I call the “blurry eyed technique”. Now, this is no scientific test, but if you stood back and blurred your eyes, you would see your feed blend into a smooth flow – or have a clearly defined pattern. In this article we will begin to dissect how it is you too can create your own Instagram feed theme.
I want to quickly mention a common misconception people have about how to make your Instagram feed cohesive. A lot of people think that if they could just find the right filter their feed would immediately look cohesive. Whilst I absolutely recommend picking a great filter or colour toning and sticking with it… getting consistent looking photos comes down to more than just slapping a filter on it.
The best way to get a consistent looking feed is to focus on the following three core principles. These are to be remembered whilst you're shooting and then using a consistent filter or editing style.
With this point I am not simply referring to the fact that to take a photo you need light. And to take a captivating photo you need captivating and dramatic light. No, with this I am referring to the style of your photos. From a lighting stand point that is.
Do you prefer a brighter, lighter and more “white” feel to your photos, or are you more of a dark, contrasty and “black” feeling to your photos?
If you are chasing that bright white aesthetic, you are going to want to look to shoot in brighter light and find the right positioning with your props or where you pose to avoid harsh shadows – or dark areas in your photos. This can cause difficulty if you are looking for a more candid style, as this makes matching darker night time photos more difficult.
If you are chasing a darker, moodier or even a warm and cosy aesthetic, it is best to work with a more limited light source. With this I do not mean going into a room, closing all of the blinds and trying to shoot in the dark. This means using light that sits within the ‘golden hour’ leading up to and immediately after sunset. Or, you could find a dimly lit room with light peeking through one window and use that to really shape the lighting in your image.
I would highly advising spending 1 week to shoot every day,but challenge yourself: look to create 2 feeds, one which is in the hi key style and another in the low key. At the end of the week, review your best images and determine which style suits you, is easier to capture with your lifestyle and surroundings and that fits the way in which you want to express yourself.
The second area to look pay attention to when creating a cohesive Instagram feed is colours. If you haven't considered what colours you want associated with your brand, you are missing a major component of consistency. This will make a huge impact when creating a cohesive Instagram feed so you'll want to choose the top two or three colours that represent your brand.
From those core colours you can consistently be on the lookout for shades of those core colours, especially to be used as accent colours.
Always try to include at least one of those colours in every photo you upload to Instagram. This means you don't have to worry about including all the colours in every single photo but you do want to include at least one. This is so that when you look at your feed with the blurred eyes test I mentioned, as a whole it's going to create a really consistent colour palette.
If you notice any colours that distract from your theme whilst shooting. Simply move them out of the frame before you take the photo. Alternatively,if you notice them after you've already taken the photo you can try to crop them out or edit the colours.
The last area to pay attention to when creating your Instagram theme for your brand is the mood of your content. This is a crucial part of any brand marketing, regardless of whether we are talking about Instagram or print marketing. Your mood is, in essence, part of your overall brand identity. You have to think of your Instagram feed as a person, or a character. What would be their key characteristics? How would you describe them to somebody who has never met your feed?
Whether it's energetic, elegant, chic, masculine, playful or whatever else it may be: you'll want to photograph poses, objects or scenes that align with your overall messaging and mood.
If you're having trouble honing in on your colours and lighting, choosing a mood first can often help give direction to your other choices. For example if your brand is to share deep, meaningful and emotional poems combined with an image. It’s quite likely that a darker, softer, warmer(or cooler depending on the mood itself) will compliment that content and your brand identity as a whole.
When you're deciding what mood you want to communicate give some consideration to how you want your followers to perceive your brand.
A must for anyone serious about photo editing. The ability to create your own filters on lightroom desktop then transferring over to your mobile app allows for great control and consistency.
A favourite tool of mine for years. I use this religiously to preview my instagram layouts before posting. It also helps me when shooting, as I leave gaps and find content that fits in.