We all love a great instagram profile. You know the ones. They’re full of fantastic photos all perfectly arranged in a big happy grid. They’re stunning, but like, really, how does any one person do that?! #inhuman
The answer is actually simple and super attainable: by knowing a few compositional techniques and setting up some automation.
Here is a quick guide to making your Instagram profile absolutely drool-worthy.
Setting Up the Shot
The fundamental building blocks of your gorgeous Instagram profile are – you guessed it, your photos! If you’re snapping away but not really sure if your photos are top notch, take a look at what other successful ‘grammers are doing. You can use these techniques with an iphone or a fancy DSLR (but if you’re wondering, here’s mine!).
Aim for Killer Composition
Composition can be defined as the way all elements in a shot are arranged, and how they relate to each other. It’s how you set up the subjects in the frame, the negative space, your color relationships, contrast, etc. Some compositions that work really well for Instagram are:
Symmetrical – Balanced. If there’s a subject on the left, there’s an identical subject on the right. Or there’s one single subject in the center.
Asymmetrical – Balanced, but in a different way from symmetrical. Asymmetry uses equal opposites to make a complete feeling composition.
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A photo posted by Designing the Row (@designingtherow) on
Super minimal – These shots utilize lots of negative space, clean angles, and simple set ups. They’re not overly cluttered and allow the viewer to focus on one subject at a time.
Patterns – repeating patterns are interesting, as long as they’re not cluttered. They have the same balanced quality as symmetrical compositions.
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Use a Tried and True Technique
Lately, we’ve been seeing some beautiful trends in instagram photography that work super well for all sorts of different niche accounts. Take a look at these bad boys:
The flat lay – Gorgeous, minimal, and white! Take a few objects that you work with – tools you use, brushes, lenses, pens, paper, instruments – and arrange them in interesting ways on a solid color surface.
Faux surfaces – A relative of the Flat Lay – Some insta photographers buy rolled paper backdrops or slabs of marble to simulate a certain type of surface. Amazing solution to that 8 foot barnwood table you really love but can’t fit in your house!
Macro – Macro photography is all about super duper close-up shots. They capture tiny gorgeous detail and give an interesting perspective to your subjects.
Margins – Thick, white margins give your photos a kind of retro film yet totally trendy look. Awesome for landscapes.
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A photo posted by molly yeh (@mollyyeh) on
Quotes & Typography – Ain’t no shame in putting some elegant typography in your feed!
The Bigger Picture – Arranging Your Photo Grid
So you know that each individual photo you post is important. When you’re taking those photos, it’s also time to consider how they will look all together in a single space: your profile’s photo grid.
Pick a color scheme you want to stay within and stick to it! This will keep your photos from look disjointed and un-related. You can even make a color palette ahead of time and reference it for each shoot you do.
Pick a couple filters that compliment your colors and use them consistently. You want filters to always enhance your photos, not cover up bad shots or incorrect coloring. Or, if you have the software, take your photos into Lightroom or Photoshop and edit them by hand.
To margin or not to margin?
Having some images with margins and the rest without looks #supsawkward. Your grid starts to look like a jumbled mess. Just don’t do it. Make the decision ahead of time whether or not you want to use margins on all your photos or not.
Stagger certain types of images
Try posting three photos and a quote. Or a two bright white flat lays followed by a super bright one.
Plan Ahead and Take Lots of Shots for Later
Part of what makes an interesting, quality instagram gallery is consistency. And it’s hard to be consistent without a plan.
Mark some time in your calendar – thirty minutes? Three hours? Up to you – to just take photos! Gather up a bunch of your latest work and take a whole bunch of photos. More than you think you’ll need. This ensures that all your shots will look related to one another.
Schedule Your Posts
Now that you have all these fabulous shots (bonus points if you use a DLSR and edit them!) it’s time to use them! Post them on a schedule using Later (previously Latergram), Buffer, Hootsuite, or any other scheduling service you prefer.
Scheduling posts ahead of time takes some pressure off of you to post every day. You’ve gathered up a bunch of shots all at once, and scheduled them all at once. Now you have free time to get back to your art!
Have you set up your instagram profile and now you’re super ridiculously happy about it? Share it with a link in the comments below! You can follow my Music City antics on my Instagram, too. Happy ‘gramming!