Do you ever wonder how all the popular influencers make their Instagram feeds look so good? Do you feel discouraged because you don’t think you can create good content without all the fancy camera equipment? If so, I have some good news for you. You do not necessarily need fancy equipment to make your feed look good. Check out my 14 Do’s and Don’ts for making your feed more presentable and eye-catching so more people click that “follow” button when they look at your profile:
When you look at the two images above do you prefer looking at the feed on the left or the right? I’m going to take a guess that you chose the one on the left. Read further for all the DO’s & DON’Ts to help you to avoid the common mistakes that lead to an ugly feed (like my example on the right).
DON’T Use Word Art On Top Of Photos
This may have been popular at one point but unless you are a TRUE design professional with amazing tools like Photoshop, ditch the word art and save your words for your caption.
DON’T Post “Collage” Photos
A collage will destroy the “flow” of your feed. I don’t encourage the use of a collage photo in any case but if you absolutely have to use this format, then make a carousel post (with multiple photos) and make it the 2nd photo so it doesn’t mess up your feed.
DON’T Use The Flash
It’s time to stop using the flash. Flashes cast ugly reflections and will just all-around make your feed look bad. You can use them in your stories but I highly suggest leaving the flash photos out of your feed.
DON’T Post Photos That Are Too Dark
Don’t post photos so dark you can hardly see what’s in them. It’s hard to click the “like” button when you can’t even detect what’s in the photo. And if you get the “grainy photo” look when you try to lighten it up, there’s a good chance you’re going to have to ditch it.
DON’T Post Blurry Images
It seems obvious that you shouldn’t be posting blurry images but I’m seeing this mistake being made all too often. We all love using Portrait mode on iPhone, which gives photos that beautiful and professional “blurry background” look. As a result, there has been an influx of blurry object photos because people are using portrait mode with clear objects like glasses. I love portrait mode but make sure to turn it off for close-ups of glass objects. And pssst there’s an app you can use to blur out the background to make it look like a “portrait” photo. Check out the “defocus” feature on Facetune (free to use!)
DON’T Oversaturate Your Images
People love a pop of color but choose those colors wisely and don’t go overboard on the saturation. Another trick for making colors “pop” is using vibrance, which is a smart-tool that cleverly increases the intensity of the softer colors and leaves the already well-saturated colors alone. It also prevents skin tones from becoming overly saturated and unnatural.
DON’T Use Overexposed Photos
Overexposed photos happen when the light creeps in a little too heavy and completely washes out the subject or background. Its hard to recover an overexposed photo with editing so make sure that you’re not snapping photos that are getting washed out by the light.
DO Use NATURAL LIGHT
One of the most important elements of a great feed is consistent lighting. And for me, it means that all of my “feed photos” are taken when the sun is out. If Im taking an indoor photo, I try to make sure Im next to a window. If you ask anyone what their “secret” is to making their photos look so good, its THE SUN!
DO Use Presets
Presets are the easy and quick way to make your Instagram feed look consistent. There are thousands of presets available to purchase online and I always use presets in the app “Lightroom”. Are you not sure where to begin when it comes to choosing your preset “style”? Take my free 7-question quiz “What’s Your Feed Style” to know what type of style fits you best!
DO Use Props & People
Props and people help “tell the story” of the image. If you’re out to lunch with friends, have one of them hold the food up close to the camera. Take photos with hands. Add ingredients. If you put some effort into “styling” the photo, its going to paint a better story about the object (or person) you’re capturing.
DO Use Flatlays
iPhones are great for taking flatlay photos and there’s something very appealing about a photo that is taken from directly above a flat surface. Make sure you style the objects and assemble props within the frame to make it look nice. It may take some practice to capture the right shot so try to rearrange objects and take multiple photos.
DO Keep Graphics Simple
Graphics and quotes can be a fun way to inspire your followers but make sure to keep them simple, “on brand”, and consistent. These types of posts typically get a high number of “re-shares” since people like to share words of wisdom that inspire them. Check out Canva if you want to start making your own.
DO Show Your Face
According to a report conducted at Georgia Tech, people are more drawn to photos that feature the face. In fact, of 1.1 million randomly-selected Instagram photos analyzed with face detection software, those with faces were 38% more likely to get Likes and 32% more likely to get comments* So my suggestion is to get out from behind that camera and post a photo of yourself in your feed at least once every 9 photos. People naturally relate to other people better, so by showing up in your photos they will feel more connected to you.
*Fact from Mashable “Instagram Photos Faces More Likes”
DO Use A Visual Planning App
Planning apps like Planoly help you lay out your feed to see how it will look once you post to your Instagram. Its not only great for figuring out what looks visually appealing but will also allow you to plan your posts in advance. There are several other apps that are similar (such as “Later”) but I enjoy using Planoly and its free for beginners.