Posting and editing a picture for Instagram may be easy, but having your Instagram tell your story in the most beautiful and captivating way is another.
Whether you’re starting a blog or just want to have cohesive photos you love looking at, we all admire and want an amazing Instagram grid. Your grid (the set of tiles that make up your page) is your home and no one wants to present a chaotic home to the world. How to create a cohesive Instagram theme is easy and I’m writing my 5 simple steps to creating an engaging and inviting page.
How to Create a Cohesive Instagram Theme: The Goal.
First, you need to start thinking in three’s, nine’s and twelve’s. You want twelve cohesive pictures to make up a theme, nine pictures when people first look at your page, and three pictures to tell a story of a day or event.
There are many ways to create a cohesive grid that will lead to your Instagram theme. Whether it’s subject matter, color scheme or filter, all the pictures should connect in some way.
Step One: Editing & Filters
I won’t go too much into editing as I wrote a whole article on my favorite editing techniques for Instagram. However, I cannot reiterate enough how keeping to a consistent editing style and filter(s) will keep all your photos cohesive enough where you can build a beautiful grid.
When I first started on Instagram I used to use every filter I could to post cute pictures of me during my college days (oh boy!). As I started growing, blogging and seeing the true power of social media, I became more selective on what I chose to post and what story I wanted to tell. Through various articles I started using VSCO filters which I loved but still didn’t feel right. It wasn’t until I read about iPhone’s in-phone filters that I found my theme and filter: Fade.
With light (the operative word) editing and the Fade filter, all of my photos have a cohesive look to them. I prefer to stick to the one filter and edit accordingly, but I wouldn’t have a theme if I didn’t have a color scheme, either, which leads to step two.
Step Two: Color Scheme
Whether you want a loud and colorful grid like Color Me Courtney or a muted, minimal one such as The Serena Goh, you have to start looking at your grid and being selective. In your set of twelve, you want a consistent color theme. I typically stick to white, black, gray, blush and nude as that is what consists of my closet, but I also allow the seasons to dictate my photos and the mood each one presents.
I also think of what I want my twelve photos to look like. For instance, during the summer months I like to incorporate a lot of greens and blues as they’re everywhere. To make the images match and tell a story I look at one photo and see how I can incorporate a piece of that picture into the next.
Step Three: Subject Matter
What makes an amazing Instagram grid is the theme and it’s really the only way you will have an cohesive one. If you want to have a travel page and have amazing curated photos, it would look out of place to add a photo of your dog chasing its tail.
Choosing what you decide to post about it important; if it wasn’t you wouldn’t be so deep into this post. I am a lifestyle blogger writing about fashion, travel and living in New York City so my Instagram feed should (and does) represent that.
Even if you’re not using Instagram to promote a blog, having a recurring theme tells a beautiful story of what interests you. My favorite example for this is my mom’s Instagram @magyram5. Her bio says, “Photos of everyday life moments, curiosities, travel, nature, architecture, color, etc. I am a photography lover more than a professional photographer.” Her feed says just that; it’s bright, creative and tells a beautiful story of what she finds inspiring.
Step Four: Know when to curate
Instagram is half curation, half improv. The best Instagram feeds tell amazing stories and they’re not by accident. I like to have a well-rounded page and try to show as much of my day as possible. I also know as a fashion blogger living in New York City I need to have at least one outfit post per day and show as much as the city and my life in it as possible.
For me, this means looking at my photos and seeing how I can tell my day’s story (in a set of three) in a way that will add value to my grid. So, every Sunday I sit and write a photo challenge for myself. I look at my grid and see what I feel I’d like to see more of and throughout the week I try to capture it. This isn’t set in stone as moments roll through unexpectedly; this is where the improv comes in.
I also choose to take pictures of things that truly inspire me; so, even if I have finding a piece of architecture as my photo challenge, I may see beautiful floor tile that just needs to be photographed and will photograph that instead.
Step Five: Only post if you really love it
Seems simple enough, but every blogger has been in that space where we feel we need to post content just to post content. That’s great and all, except when it’s not; it’s no longer fun and no longer authentic. If I’ve had a busy day at work, ate through lunch, and left at 7pm, the last thing I want to worry about it not posting a picture. So, I don’t. Only post images you really, really love and fit into the story you want to share.
If you want to post pictures of you and your friends all the time, do it – just use a consistent filter! If you want to keep a photographic travel diary and only post when you travel, go right ahead! There are no set rules to how you should run your page, just remember every story has a beginning, middle and end, don’t leave your readers hanging! Until next time.