Fancy stepping up your Instagram game or just get into something new?
Last year (still sounds weird!), I decided that I wanted to do something a bit different with my Instagram to make it stand out more and to just look unique to other people’s really. I am a really creative person and love coming up with ideas and concepts for my content, so I thought sticking to a strong theme would be good and push me to be much more creative too!
However I didn’t want to have to stick to one colour, theme or idea forever as I’d undoubtedly get bored. So I thought having something that I changed up monthly would be fun for both me and my audience. Hopefully it keeps people coming back to my account to see what’s up next!
I like to have a really strong concept for each theme. I write things down and try and to create a little ‘mood board’ for each idea! This really helps me to come back to if I’m stuck for ideas mid-theme as well. Colours, locations & seasons are big influences on my choice.
My first proper theme this year was February and I chose ‘Love’ with the colours all being Red & Pink. This was a great one to start off with I think as it was Valentines month and there were lots red, pink, heart themed props around in the shops. Plus my wardrobe is full of red and pink anyway!
In March I did Pastels. For this one we went around scouting as many pastel coloured locations we could find! I had notes like candy, ice cream colours, mint, lilac and peach etc. I had in mind that it was just going to be a rainbow mix of pastels running through my feed but having put it together on my planning app (see more on that below) I decided it didn’t look as good as I thought. So ended up splitting the colours up and doing about 6 posts in each pastel shade and trying to graduate the colours slightly so it flowed in between. I really enjoyed creating this one I think the colours looked really pretty together!
I then had about 10 days of doing Easter themed posts! I LOVE Easter time and a couple of my friends and I did a hilariously fun shoot wearing bunny ears and as many Easter Eggs as we could manage to carry. I kept the colours mostly to green, yellow and white which to me reflect Easter time and had lots of daffodils in my shots too!
Once May came I switched my theme to Florals! Which I have to say has been my favourite so far. My mum and I love going to gardens, she’s a member of the National Trust as well so is always discovering new & idyllic spots to shoot content. I find they’re usually much more relaxing, calmer places to shoot compared to on the streets as you have less traffic and people constantly walking past. I ended up posting a couple of weeks worth of Cherry Blossom and pink florals which was super popular! I moved onto slightly shorter spells in different colours. I did bluebells & pastel blues, beautiful white blossoms, bright yellow tulips and rapeseed oil fields, green leafy shots and fields then wonderful purple wisterias and lilacs! I also red to come next as well.
So you get the idea! The big question: what theme will I do next? You’ll just have to keep watching my Instagram feed to see! So that’s the style I’ve decided to go with for my own feed but how do YOU apply this to YOUR own feed?
Find Your Niche
You want to start by deciding what kind of aesthetic you want to go for. Do you want your feed to be fashion, beauty, travel, home, landscape shots? Try and stick to a style as best you can so that people know what they’re going to get when they decide to follow you. You can get inspiration from other people’s feeds and then my advice would be to create some mood boards on Pinterest. Get your creativity flowing!
For my themes, I always try and shoot in advance so I can edit and plan my feed. The camera I use is an Olympus Pen E-PL7 and I mainly use the 45mm lens which is good for portrait shots as you get a crisp subject and a blurred backdrop, I use this one for my flatlays too. However the kit lens it comes with is really good for location shots where I want to get lots of the background in detail too. I shoot all my flatlay and product shots myself and try and tie in the theme & colours as best I can to flow nicely between my fashion shots.
For all my Instagram images I use the Lightroom app on my iPhone to edit them. For each of my colour themes I usually create my own Preset (which is really easy to do) so I can edit them all in one easy click! This is the easiest way to create a cohesive looking feed I think no matter what images you’re posting. You can also buy ready made Presets if you like. 9 times out of 10 I will go back in and individually edit the brightness and contrast etc of each image until I think it looks perfect. I often use Snapseed after I’ve exported from Lightroom too. Which is a great free editing app and allows you to brighten and add saturation to specific areas in your photo with a brush tool. This is great for my product shots in particular where I might have a bit too much shadow on one side or I want a colour in something to pop more.
I’ve been using planning apps for a while now. They basically allow you to upload your instagram images to a ‘mock grid’ before you post them to your actual feed and play around with them to see what looks good next to each other and plan in advance. It makes SUCH a difference! Apps include: Planoly, UNUM and A Color Story – which is actually the one I use currently as you have a limitless number of images so you can upload to it each month so can play around, edit and reupload to your hearts content. You can also edit the images within this app if you want too. This means I can plan everything really far in advance and decide how I want my themes to look.
I hope this has helped some of you who perhaps wish to step up your Instagram game or just something new!