Gone are the days of adding a ‘Valencia’ filter to every Instagram image and hoping for the best; the photography on the Facebook-owned platform is now so strong that to stand out from the crowd each of your shots need to be on point and your profile consistent.
Here are some key rules to help you take the perfect snap and build a striking Instagram feed.
1. Use natural lighting
The most flattering and ‘easy’ looking images often come from the beauty of natural light. There’s a common misconception that it has to be a glorious sunny day to make this work, but often an overcast day is also perfect.
If you’re shooting something product-related inside, ensure you’re by a window. If you’re shooting outside, never direct your camera into the light – always have the sun behind you so that it naturally casts light onto your subject.
Simple points, but they really make a difference to the quality of your image.
2. Don’t crowd your shots
When shooting images for Instagram, flat-lays in particular, it’s easy to crowd the surface and include multiple products. In some cases this works, but for the most part “less is more” tends to be a good rule.
If shooting with an SLR, or similar, lowering your aperture to around f/5.6 gives a beautiful soft feel with a pin sharp focus on the product and a soft, blurry glow around the edges. This is essentially a professional version of the ‘portrait’ mode on the latest iPhone models.
3. Consider your audience
Once you have a few posts under your belt, to grow your following and boost engagement then it’s worth scrolling through older posts and seeing which content performed the best.
For example, if it’s a beauty cosmetic flat-lay that followers responded well to, try and re-create that post in a fresh and innovative way, multiple times.
4. Execute a consistent colour scheme
Having a formulated colour scheme is essential to creating a beautiful Instagram profile. When a user is scrolling through your feed and sees a formulated aesthetic, it gives them a real feel for your brand and makes it recognisable.
Ensure that your colour scheme is consistent by applying it to all aspects of the creative process; from finding the right light, all the way through to the editing process.
To help maintain consistency, use an app such as ‘Preview’ to visualise how your feed will look before actually posting. The App also allows you to arrange images next to each other and drag and drop them until you’re happy with the images against each other.
5. Edit your way to success
Whether you’re shooting on an SLR or an iPhone, editing is an important part of creating a beautiful Instagram feed. Be warned; the Instagram editing functions are still quite basic. Photoshop obviously gives far more control, but can be very time consuming.
Instead, use third party Apps such as VSCO or Afterlight as they offer great custom filters. Just make sure you adjust the sharpening tool as a last step so you don’t lose any of the image quality as it imports into Instagram.
For more help with creating a striking Instagram feed, don’t hesitate to get in contact.
Saskia has a BA Hons degree in Photography and collaborates with The Social Consultant for photography projects. Find out more about Saskia’s work, here.