Do you feel like your feed is a mess? Or that it doesn’t represent you or your dog very well?
Perhaps you just feel like there is something missing?
In this blog post, I’ll describe and explain a few different tactics to help you find your own online style and organize your feed. There are a lot of techniques and mixes possible, and for you to be happy, it is important to make it as you as possible.
Note: I’m not talking numbers but visuals and storytelling as to me that is still the core and beating heart of the Instagram community. The images come from my own feed just as an example of how I do this, that doesn’t mean it’s perfect or how you should do it.
So where do we start?
Instagram is all about images. Much more than Facebook or Twitter where you can get away with a short text, Instagram is a visual game. What you like or which accounts that attract you depend on your personal taste of course, but sometimes we don’t really know why something works or why it attracts us.
What makes a great picture is the combination of our ability to connect with the subject, colours that attract you or more intuitive things like atmosphere and composition. When you look at your Instagram feed, it’s no longer just about each individual photo but zooming out and seeing all these images together that design a new thing, a new composition, and it reflects a personality.
Yeah, it might sound silly, but think about it. A feed can be moody or sassy, arty or humoristic. It might be vain or even mean. It can be all about muddy adventures or rather reflect the cool city life – and there is no right or wrong with this. I personally find it very attractive when I meet a feed that feels authentic and creative regardless of style and setting. I wrote a post before on why you don’t need to live in an epic place, what you have to tell and share is always your story and your view and that makes it unique. There is only you to tell it. The way you capture the precious moments of your dog’s life will define your style and vision.
Defining or being aware of your visual personality will help you define the overall mood of your feed. Especially if you have a shop, it’s important to have a visual identity for your customers.
An organized look might appear by itself if you’re naturally in the groove or you have an authentic and very defined style, but you will probably have to consider:
– which photos to post next to each other
– which colours might go well together
– which images tell your story
For a long time, I posted just whatever I had created, often only one photo per session. For myself, it needed to look a bit more organized and I liked the idea of posting multiple photos of the same shoot (simply because I have so many images that never get shared otherwise- and I shoot A LOT). This is why I started to work with rows that are connected in a way. It might be by color or light, lines or shapes. What I love about these rows is that it gives me the opportunity to share the moments in 3 images or even from 3 different perspectives.
Depending on how organized you want your feed, you could develop a plan for a grid. A grid is a template which will help you to decide what to upload next and to maintain your vibe.
Different types of grids:
– similar colour scheme. You pick for example pink and white as your main colours.
– lines of 3. You post 3 similar or related images in one row.
– diagonal. If you zoom out to your feed, you create diagonal lines by for example alternating between light or dark photographs.
– tiles: alternating between a photo and a quote, a coloured image and a black and white,…
And of course, you can always play with these. If you’re afraid to be bored too quickly or you just want to try but don’t want it to be messy you can, for example, switch the grid with the changing seasons- that would make total sense, right?
If you have a lot of potential images but you’re not sure what to post next, it helps to upload them in a preview app where you can drag and rearrange until you’re happy. For a long time, I just had a vague idea in my head but actually seeing which ones I want together saved me a lot of doubt (and time) 🙂
Tip to get your theme started:
Upload 6 or 9 images that will match the personality of your feed in a planning app. Keep rearranging them until you find a balanced foundation for your feed. If you’re getting the right atmosphere, you’ll have a great start for the rest of your feed.
Once you’ve set your foundation you can continue to think in rows of 3 to maintain that consistency.
To delete or not to delete, that is the question, If you have an older account but you’re trying to clean up your feed, I prefer just adding en developing your style as you go. Lots of people delete or archive older images to have an instant attractive and ‘perfect’ feed. It’s a choice. I personally see my feed as my journey, a track of my work, developments, and explorations. And although social media is about sharing, for me it isn’t about pleasing. I will not delete my past in favour of the future. (And every 6-9 pictures you’ll add, your feed will look kinda new to anyone just landing on your account.)
Back to back.
So which pictures should you place next to each other? When you’re arranging or adding photographs, take notice of your perspective, light, subject, and colours to create balance without becoming boring. It can happen that you love a certain angle or specific edit, but if you’ll always post the same image, the same perspective and the same of everything,… it gets really boring. When selecting your images, take a look at the photographs that will be left, right and under. You could, for example, alternate between close by and far away, light and dark, the background lines,…
Once you have your template, you will know where a photo ends up in your feed. It will be a left, right or middle photo and you can use that knowledge to play with the overall composition.
Presets and filters.
I often hear the suggestion that you should pick one Lightroom preset or one filter and stick with that until the end of times. That sounds like the shortest route to boredom and unnecessary limitations. But there is, however, some truth to it. To have consistency, one thing to avoid is applying a different filter for every single photo (especially if it’s very yellow or rainbow-like, that’s like the Comic Sans of filters). On the other hand, if all your photographs look like they are shot at the same time and in the same setting, you will lose your story as stories happen over time. So what’s the solution? >>Developing your own style. If you take your time to develop your style, there will be a connection between your photographs already. I have about 10 Lightroom presets. Which one I use depends on the mood of the photo, the light, and the subject. Still, because I have a certain style of shooting and editing, you won’t notice layers of Lightroom like heavy make-up on my photographs. These presets are made to bring out the best in every photo, not to force it into the little box names ‘Instagram theme’.
Quick tip: Always crop your images in the same way or with the same borders so they don’t jump all over the screen 🙂
So many options, so much to play with. But remember: the feed isn’t holy :-) . You can adjust just a few details to get a bit more flow into your feed or you can go all the way and completely theme every detail. It all depends on your personal preferences but to feel connected to your own work, don’t forget what YOU want. And I would also suggest keeping your options open. Keep your mind open for change and experiments. It will benefit you as you won’t feel stuck and it will benefit your followers that can still be surprised by your work. The moment your follower thinks: ”Come on Instagram, I have seen this picture x times before!” – but it’s just your feed,… it’s time to spice up.
So, these are the things/topics/tricks I thought about when writing this and I hope it will help you. If you want to add anything or you have a different opinion, feel free to drop me a message below, it will be great for both me and the other readers to see different approaches. PS: If you’re going to change things on your feed, feel free to share the before/after on the DOGvision-Facebook page!
Some feeds that I really love: