Raise your hand if you were on Instagram from the beginning!
Where you could only share square images and everyone used Instagram’s filters that just made your photos look dark, dramatic, and awful.
Yeah, Instagram has come a long way.
Now it seems like everyone’s Instagram feed is perfectly curated. Every photo looks amazing and people are only sharing the best of the best.
Every day someone shares something new and creative making you to want to up your Instagram game.
So if you’re ready to take your Instagram account from 0 to 100 real quick, I’ve got some tips for ya.
When I created my Instagram account for my blog, I wanted to share only all black and white photos.
Truly I love black and white photos. If we could decide whether to see the world in color or black and white, I would choose black and white any day.
So I shared all black and white photos of whatever I wanted.
At the time, I didn’t really have my branding nailed down for my blog. And I was deathly afraid of showing my face and people finding out that it was my Instagram account.
After a while, it hit me that no one I looked up to on Instagram shared black and white photos. And if I wanted to grow as a blogger, I had to add color and share my face.
Sooo I went all in.
I found an editing style that I liked and did it to every photo. I would use 3 apps minimum to get the look I wanted and would sometimes take an hour to edit my photos.
And of course, every single photo that I shared was of my face…
(Looking at these photos now… what was I thinking?!?!)
After a while, I started to hate my editing style.
Not only was it a big waste of my time to the point where I didn’t want to take pictures so I didn’t have to edit them. But it also just didn’t seem cohesive.
I wanted a feed that looked awesome!
And like someone who was taking Instagram seriously and deserved more followers.
So I made one last shift.
The one that made the biggest difference.
I created my own Lightroom presets and used them to edit my photos.
Of course, my photography style has evolved and grown over time. The pictures that I’m taking are much better than before.
My feed has more variety to it instead of the same picture over and over again.
But it was really the editing that I think leveled up my IG account.
Now if you’re ready to take your Instagram feed from blah to wow, there are a few things that we need to look at.
First, your photos.
I get a lot of people saying that they want to grow on Instagram but when I take a look at their feed, it’s pretty obvious that they aren’t taking the time to get amazing photos.
And without the photos, really you don’t have much.
Next, we’ve got to talk about planning out your feed. If you’re sharing the same photo over and over again just taken from a different angle or maybe you’re just wearing a different outfit, then something has to change.
And of course, we can’t forget the editing.
Editing your photos is the icing on the cake. Without the editing, you really can’t create a cohesive feed. And that’s what we are going for here.
So let’s get into it.
Fun fact about me: I majored in photography in college.
So I’m a bit picky about how I take my photos and what ones actually make it on Instagram.
Clearly not as picky as I should have been back in the day lol.
But there are some things that I’ve learned of course from all the photography classes that I’ve taken, but also from being on Instagram for over 6 years.
Now it all depends on you and your subject matter.
If you want to be a beauty or fashion blogger, then you probably want to share a lot of photos of yourself, your outfits, accessories, etc.
But if you are a car blogger, then… you know take what you can from this blog post and leave the rest. Because you’re probably not all that worried about taking the most amazing selfie possible.
Let’s get into it.
This is pretty obvious.
And the tips are gonna get better from here on out I promise!
But the very first thing you need to do is figure what works for you and what doesn’t.
Now there are a lot of ways to take this.
So let’s start with your shooting style and then we’ll talk about your analytics and what your audience responds to best.
When you’re taking pictures, I recommend that you try every option possible.
Try to shoot with your camera position lower, then move it higher and higher.
Change up the angle of the camera so it’s more so pointed up at a 45-degree angle and then point it down at a 45-degree angle.
Try some shots with the camera perfectly horizontal or vertical.
Especially if you are taking photos of yourself, you’ll start to realize what looks good on you and what doesn’t!
Then try shooting a different subject matter.
See what lighting works best and what lighting is truly awful.
Try including different colors in the photo, taking action shots, using a tripod instead of holding the camera in your hands.
Honestly, try everything!
Then when it comes to your analytics, you want to pay attention to what your audience responds to best and what they don’t.
At the time when I was only sharing photos of myself, that’s because I looked at my analytics and realized that I received the most engagement on photos of myself.
So I ran with it!
Your audience is what will make you successful.
So listen to what they like and what they don’t. This will help lead you in the right direction.
If you have access to a nice camera, use it when taking your Instagram photos!
This is one of the easiest ways to improve the quality of your photos.
I shoot almost all of my Instagram photos with my Nikon D80 using a tripod and a remote.
Now, this isn’t to say that you need a DSLR to get great photos…
If you don’t have a DSLR, phone cameras are really great these days.
And some of the photos that I share on my Instagram are taken from my phone.
But here’s a pro tip for ya: clean the lens before you take the photo.
Our phones are in our pockets, smooshed up to our faces, dropped on the ground, and are honestly, just covered in germs.
This means that your camera is typically covered in stuff that hurts the quality of the photo!
So before you are ready to shoot, take your shirt and clean the camera.
Trust me, it will actually make a big impact.
Selfies are great every now and then.
But look at the people that you follow on Instagram.
Are they sharing selfies?! Or are they sharing more full body shots that are clearly taken by someone else or a self-timer?
Honestly, this is huge in up-leveling your Instagram account.
So take it seriously.
A lot of beginner Instagrammers like to take really up close photos.
And that’s fine… every now and then.
But to really up-level your IG, try taking a couple of steps back to get the whole scene.
If you’re a food blogger and you’re trying to take a beautiful photo of your pancakes, you won’t get the whole effect if you are so close that your pancakes go outside of the frame.
Instead, set the table and get the whole shot!
Include a little action by pouring syrup over them while the shutter is going and BOOM.
You’ve got a killer shot!
This is also true when taking photos of yourself.
It’s great to have some up close and personal photos. But try to get your background in the shot and show your whole body.
Again, look at what other successful Instagrammers are doing. You’ll notice that a lot of them don’t crop in too much on their photos.
Remember back to when I only included upclose photos of myself.
I was on the right path with listening to my analytics and giving my audience what they wanted.
But I was WAY off with how I was creating my feed.
It looked boxy and just awful because all the photos were basically the same.
It wasn’t until I read the book Insta Style by Tessa (seriously get this book if you haven’t yet) that I realized how to mix up my feed and make it look better as a whole.
So let’s get into some tips.
I’ve been using UNUM for a while and it is seriously the best app out there!
Basically, it helps you to plan out your feed to make sure you aren’t sharing 2 photos of you looking the same direction either back to back or on top of each other.
It may sound silly, but this really does help with creating a solid feed!
So get this app now.
It’s completely free and the bomb.
One problem that I see a lot with people on Instagram is that they don’t really think through what they want to share on the platform.
They just share anything and everything.
No judgment here because I was that person! But you can definitely do better.
So right now, think of your niche and what you want to share on Instagram.
If you want to share cars on Instagram, don’t randomly post a photo of your dog! If your dog is in a car… then fine. I’ll take it!
But if it’s just a random picture of your dog, that isn’t going to work!
So come up with some content ideas and what type of photos you can share on your Instagram that relates to your niche.
For me, I share photos of myself, office photos or flatlays, working photos, or just general lifestyle that I share with my audience on my blog or IG stories.
I don’t share photos of my food because I’m not trying to be a food blogger!
And that’s just not something that I talk about.
So make a list of the photos that you could share and then mix up when you share them!
We’ll get into that next.
If you have 5 different types of photos that you could share on Instagram, then you want to mix up when you share them!
Let’s say that you share food photos, fitness photos, pictures of you with people, photos of just you, and then just general wellness shots.
You wouldn’t want to share 5 food photos in a row!
Instead, try to share 2 food photos, 1 photo of you, another photo of your food, 2 photos of general wellness, then a photo of you with someone else.
This will help to mix up your feed and keep things interesting!
But let’s say that you really don’t have that much variety in what you want to share.
You just want to share all things fashion and your outfits.
This is where you get to mix it up with your pose and the angle of the photo!
Don’t share 4 photos in a row that are up close and only include your chest and face.
Mix it up and take a shoe shot or include a full-body shot.
Trust me, this makes a big difference!
So you’ve got the photos, you know how to mix things up and create a bomb feed.
But that would all really mean nothing if you didn’t know how to edit your Instagram photos.
I mean could you imagine if I shared my unedited photos.
That would be rough!
So let’s talk editing.
Everyone is different and your style could be completely different from mine.
I absolutely love more neutral photos. Again, I would love the world to be all black and white. So the less color the better!
But you may love high saturation and that’s awesome!
So what I would recommend you do is going to the accounts that you like the best on Instagram and figure out why you like them.
Some accounts I love just because of the content that they share. I really don’t care about their editing style but I still love their content.
Compared to some people I truly love their photos and editing style!
So find some people that you really truly love their editing style and figure out what you love most about it.
Are the photos bold and colorful? Are they more warm-toned? Cool-toned?
This will help you to understand how you want to edit your photos and create a feed that represents you best.
For me, I LOVE Lightroom. But we’ll talk about this in a bit.
I also love Facetune when it comes to pulling out the detail on specific areas or whitening walls when they aren’t as white as they should be.
Then the last app I swear by is Snapseed.
Seriously this one is my jam. I use it to remove imperfections… like pimples lol.
I also fix the distortion in the image if there is any in the walls based on the angle is was shot at. And if I need to, I’ll do some final touches with the light and colors in the photo.
To create a cohesive feed, it all comes down to the way that you edit your photos.
If you have a very warm toned photo one day and then a cool-toned photo the next, you’re going to struggle to make your feed look amazing.
So find and editing style that you like and stick to it!
Now, this is easier said than done honestly.
And that’s where Lightroom presets come into play.
Lightroom presets have become my best friend.
If you’ve never heard of Lightroom presets before, basically they are better filters than the filters that Instagram gives you.
By clicking one button you can apply the same photos over every photo and make them look the same!
It’s freakin’ legit and I love them.
And the best part is that you don’t need to pay for Lightroom.
There is actually a free app available on your phone!
So a little while ago, I created my own presets and started to use them on all of my photos. And after a little bit of time, I started to get questions about them.
You guys wanted to know my editing secrets and how I completely transformed my photos with my editing.
Yep. I have my own Lightroom presets that you can buy and make your photos look amazing in just one click.
That’s just 3 before and afters using 3 different presets but there are actually 12 presets available!
So if you’re looking for more of a warmer tone, I’ve got you!
If you’re looking for more of a natural look like my Instagram feed, of course, those presets are included as well!
I’m telling you, this is one of the easiest ways to make your feed look awesome without spending hours editing every photo.
Now these are just some tips to take your Instagram feed from blahhh to wow!
But if you really want to grow on Instagram, there is more that you can do.
So I want to offer you a free 30 Day Instagram Challenge to help you grow on Instagram in just 30 days or less.
Cathrin (Cath) creates content that encourages bloggers & online entrepreneurs to be themselves, chase their passion, and create their success online. 1 year after started her blog (TheContentBug.com), Cath left her full-time position working in the digital marketing industry to pursue her dreams of being her own boss. In weekly blog posts, sporadic YouTube videos, and constant talking on Instagram stories, Cath hopes to spread her story and be an inspiration to others who desperately want to change their lives.