How to create a cohesive Instagram feed
So I’ve been asked this questions so so many times and for me personally creating a cohesive Instagram feed is a mix of trusting what my eyes see and having a plan and theory behind all that.
I’m going to show you exactly how I plan my feed (when I’m not eyeballing it).
In fact, after I started really carefully planing my grid, I immediately saw that people liked what I was producing. I was gaining much more followers than before. After a while, I started to do planning less theoretically and trusted my own eyes more and more. I got used to how my feed looks and took me less time (and less thinking!) to create a feed that flows.
So if you’re having trouble making your feed consistent and cohesive, I suggest you start with theory (that’s where this article comes in) and after a while, you’ll see that you’ll do it more and more spontaneously. It’s going to become second nature.
It’s hard to start, when your feed looks all over the place, right?
Start with planning at least 9 images ahead (12 or 15 are even better). This way you’ll actually be able to see how your new and shiny feed will look like!
So here are the steps that you need to take in order to create a stunning visually pleasing and cohesive feed:
- Use a planning software
- Choose a style and color palette
- Choose what type of content you’ll share
- Decide on the layout of all the different types of content
- Color theory and shapes are super important
- Consider negative space and angles
- Perfect is not always the best
- Use the highest quality photos you can.
Use a planning software
There a few ways you can plan your grid online with software. The ones I like are Later and Planoly (not sponsored). They are free for les than 30 posts a month. You can use them only for planning the grid or you can post from their software as well. You can use either their app on your phone or plan via their website. Either way, that’s probably the easiest way to start planing how your grid will look like.
Choose a style of the grid
Do you prefer darker photos, lighter photos, do you like everything very colorful, do you love monochromatic images, desaturated, warm, cold, vintage, modern, natural, a specific color palette… so many styles and colors to choose from.
Choosing one style doesn’t mean you can’t integrate other styles too, but one or maximum of two is the best.
Choose what type of content you’ll share
Will you be sharing only photos or you’ll also share videos, text, graphics… you should consider all the content you want to share with your audience and what type of content they’ll appreciate. Just make sure they all look great together. If you’re including any graphical elements, thy need to work togeher as well and they should match the style of other content in your feed.
Decide on the layout of all the different types of content
If you are sharing more than one type of content then it is essential to decide how often you’ll share each type of content. For example, if you’re sharing photos and text, then you could share a one-to-one ratio, so every second day you’ll share text and all other days a photo. You can consider some other ratios too. I love 6 to 1. Six photos and one text image. Be creative!
Color theory and shapes are super important
When I plan my Instagram grid, I always take into consideration the colors in the photos. I usually have one or two main colors in a photo. When I plan a grid, I’ll place images with the same main color on the different parts of the grid so they don’t all touch each other. I post mostly dark images but I include brighter ones as well and I follow the same principle there too.
Same goes with shapes. If I post a photo of a round cake in the middle of the frame, I won’t post other images with similar shape so that they fall in a line (unless it’s a diagonal). I also don’t want to squeeze them all in one corner.
One way to creatively use color theory is to have a color-coordinated grid, where you post one color only for a specific number of days and then continue with another.
Consider negative space
Balance is the magic word when it comes to a cohesive Instagram feed. Try to think of your image as having weight. Some weigh less (meaning they are less busy), some weigh more (busy images with big elements or multiple elements). Now imagine your feed being an old fasioned kitchen scale. You should place the images in your feed so that your scale is in balance. Just like with colors and shapes you need to consider placing images with same ‘weight’ in oposite parts of the grid to balance things out.
The same goes for angles. I post photos from different angles in my feed and that also takes some thought. Just like, with color, shapes, and negative space, I like to spread mix photos taken at different angles so that they don’t compete with each other.
Perfect is not always the best
Please, don’t go and follow these things I just wrote about very very strictly. Like I wrote in the beginning, sometimes something will look better and you won’t necessarily have a clear explanation. Follow your gut and your creativity.
Use the highest quality photos you can.
You might say, but I’m not a professional yet, I don’t have high-quality images. It doesn’t matter, use what you have, but be picky at the same time. Choose the best photo you have and if you’re unsure and decide between two or three photos, use stories to ask your followers. As an IG user, I can say that I love voting and people really do love engaging in things like questions and anything that requires their input in the stories. So why not ask your followers? This way you’ll also learn what type of content they like seing from you. Win-win!
It doesn’t stop at a cohesive Instagram feed
While creating a cohesive Instagram feed takes some preparation and careful planning it’s not the only thing to do if you want your IG channel to attract followers (aka ideal followers). One of the most important think about running an IG feed is being personal and showing who you are. Poeple love following real people not machines!
Let me know if you found this useful in the comments below or on my IG.
Love the accounts you chose for inspiration. Quality brand photos that map to brand strategy make such a difference.
I couldn’t agree more!
Muchas gracias por tan valioso contenido y tan sencillamente explicado, no tenía idea de la importancia de mi feed de Instagram para atraer seguidores. Mil gracias
Thank you so much for your feedback Yezica! I’m glad I was able to help 🙂
Great thanks honey
Thanks for reading 🙂
Many thanks for the detailed tips
My pleasure 🙂
Dear Anja, I have been following your work for some time now, always I see your photos and recipes suggestions my eyes shine !! Such a wonderful experience, I am very grateful you share some of that knowledge here. Sometimes I have the impression I will never make it, but with these specifics steps and taskes, as color theory and shapes, for example, sunddly it seems possible for anyone !!
One more time, thank you
Thank you so much, Claudia!
Of course, you will make it, as long as you keep learning 🙂 It seems daunting at first but once you get the hang of it, results will come.
I’m happy to hear that this article will help you in your journey 🙂
This is such a great blog post and I knew it will help so many. Thank you for including me.
Thank you Kimberly! You are such an inspiration both as a food photographer and entrepreneur. So it’s my pleasure including you!