Welcome back to Part IV of my blogging series. I took a few weeks off due to travel, but after so many requests I thought I’d return back to this series. In case you missed the earlier parts of the series, you can find them here:
This week I want to talk about how I found my Instagram aesthetic – which was really the key to my growth not only on Instagram, but on my blog as well. Finding an aesthetic that resonates with your intended audience and stays true to who you are can be a tough balance. It’s easy to see a beautiful feed and want to replicate it for yourself, however, there are a number of things you need to take into account when settling on the look of your feed.
First off you need to consider what type of content you want to share. When I first started, I wanted to share every bit and piece of my life, but I quickly realized it was too difficult for potential followers to understand what I was all about. It wasn’t until I honed in on fashion that I started to see growth. When a potential follower clicked on my profile, they quickly got an idea of what I was about and what they could rely on me for (in my case, daily fashion inspiration). Of course there are still times when I share more personal things (like over the holidays), but the majority of my feed consists of fashion. Second, identify what type of photos you’re sharing – are they iPhone shots only? Are they on a DSLR or another high-end camera? If you are shooting on an iPhone only, you probably won’t aim for a highly editorial feed. In that case, your photos are likely to be more day-to-day and relatable. If you’re hiring a photographer and using high-end camera equipment, you or your photographer will likely need to spend some time in the editing room. In that case, you can probably expect to have a more editorial feed. OR are you planning on sharing both types of content? I think the majority of professional bloggers will fall in this realm. If you have a blog, higher-quality photos always look better when blown up to the dimensions of a typical site. While iPhone photos can feel really organic and look great in the Instagram grid, they don’t lend as well when blown up to the width of most blogs (you’ll likely get pretty grainy photos). If you decide to share both iPhone and professional camera shots on Instagram, you’ll want to find an aesthetic that allows you create a cohesive feed for both types of content. Since you almost always have to edit camera photos, you should expect to have a slightly more edited feed.
What does a more edited feed look like? You’re probably already familiar with most – pink and gray overlay tones are popular right now; low-contrast photos with increased sharpening are popular for bloggers who share their daily life and then there’s the high-contrast, moodier types of feeds – which I would fall into. So how do you know which type of aesthetic would work well for your content? Here are some things I’d consider:
1. When do you shoot your photos? Is it during the day when the sun is bright? If so, your feed will probably incorporate a lot of white. If you shoot mostly in the evening, you might have a moodier background.
2. What is the weather like where you live? Do you live in a rainy, overcast climate? If so, your photos may have a gray tinge to them.
3. What type of content do you share? Do you share only fashion shots or do you share multiple verticals (such as travel, beauty and/or lifestyle)? If you share shots from many different verticals just try to stay true to your own lens and how you view those various aspects of your life.
4. What types of shots are you sharing? Are you sharing mostly detail shots of your outfits (the ones where your head might be cut off and the focus is on your shirt or handbag) or is your face visible in all of your shots? If you fall in the latter category, you probably won’t want to go crazy with editing because skin tones can look really funny really quickly when you start changing too much.
5. What is your style all about? Are you sweet and feminine? If so, bright or pastel tones will probably lend best to your overall aesthetic. Is your style more sultry? More neutral color palettes will bring the focus on you. Is your style edgy and dark? A moodier look will enhance the edge.
The next part of this series will be all about how I edit my photos…be sure to sign up for my daily newsletter (by clicking on the “Subscribe” button in the upper right corner of my homepage) to get all the details straight to your inbox as soon as they hit the blog.