You wake up and the first thing you do is check your phone. As you scroll through the Instagram app, you see that photographer you follow has posted another awesome photo. You decide to go look at their profile to see all of their recent work. You wonder to yourself why you have no idea how to make your profile look as cool as theirs. Art is one of the best ways for someone to express themselves. In the beginning, social media wasn’t something that was seen as an art. In 2017, Instagram is the best of both worlds, and combines the two into one art form. Those who are highly invested in the art of social media, look to follow people who have worked to maintain an aesthetically pleasing profile through the use of editing and filters.
A camera is an obvious important tool for creating a cohesive feed. You can follow in the footsteps of famous photographers or Instagram famous models and only use cameras that are top notch in quality, but you can also just use a point and shoot camera, or the camera on your phone. What you do with the pictures is really the biggest thing to creating a feed that people will want to look at.
The first step to creating a profile that is pleasing to the eye is to decide what you want your profile to look like. A majority of “themed” profiles usually consist of one main color scheme, using one specific filter, or very specific subject matter, but not always. Senior at North Greenville University, Rebecca Guavera says, “I don’t really choose a ‘theme’ or color scheme with my photos. It’s pretty trendy to stick with a specific tone I’ve found, but I love being eclectic with my photos.” While her photos are not all one color, they are all of similar quality which helps to make her profile more cohesive as a whole. Her photos are taken with a DSLR camera, so they all are representative if that type of quality. Nothing looks out of place. It’s often easier to make a decision on what your profile should look like when you think about what your lifestyle consists of. If you live near the beach or spend a lot of time on vacation, it would make sense to choose a theme that is predominantly blue, or highly saturated with brighter colors. It would be easiest to have photos that match that theme. If you surround yourself with one type of subject matter for a majority of your life, it would be a good idea to pick something specific and stick to it. YouTuber, Dorothy Anderson says she picks her themes “based on the pictures I take or the season.” She chooses her themes based on what is surrounding her in the moment and things she is inspired by. During summers, she has had a very blue feed. As it moved it the fall, she transitioned her photos to be more red and orange.
Photo variation is another important quality in cohesive feeds. When taking pictures, it is important to take lots of them. The number is different for everyone, but take at least ten every time you pull your camera out. Sometimes, you just have to keep taking them until you are satisfied with the number of options you have. Having many options to choose from make sit easier to find something that will match. “Whenever I like how I look or see a certain thing I stop to take a picture. My family is constantly waiting on me,” says Anderson. She takes lots of pictures so that she has a lot of work to choose from, so she is more likely to have something that will match the theme that she is going for as well as making for an interesting variation. One way to ensure that your feed is not saturated by the same photo over and over again is to use a series of photos. Some Instagrammers will choose a number of photos from a certain photo session and post, for example, three photos. If they choose to stick to that method, they choose to only share a limited amount of photos from each session to avoid over posting on the same type of picture. When a different variation of a photo consumes a feed, followers can get bored or can become uninterested. For example, if one user posts too many similar photos, their followers may become bored with the content they’re seeing. They may think that they are seeing the same picture over and over again.
The easiest way to a cohesive feed is filters, which bring everything together and everyone has their favorite. Whether they are the filters built into the Instagram app, from Adobe Lightroom, or any third party app like VSCO, which is free or Afterlight. VSCO and Lightroom are fan favorites among most Instagrammers and photographers. Guavera says, “I used to edit in Lightroom until my trials ran out, but I normally edit on VSCO and I really like M5 and HB2 [from VSCO].” A majority of people who have cohesive feeds use the same filter on every photo. For example, Anderson says, “I use A6 on VSCO on literally all of my pictures.” In addition to filters, there are other setting changes that can be made including highlight and shadow colors to add something extra to pull pictures together. A couple of photo editing apps also allow you to add artificial light leaks and other such features that can also work together to create a cohesive feel to each photo. After a filter is applied, you can usually just adjust each photo according to the others so they can match. Something else that people often do is to upload their photos to a third party app, like UNUM, which is also free, to see if their photo matches the rest before they upload to their Instagram profile. If it does not look cohesive, it gives you an opportunity to change the settings, or reedit the photo until it looks how you want it to.
A key way to take good pictures is to use inspiration wherever you can find it. You can be inspired by your surroundings, or your daily activities, like hiking spending time with friends, or any other hobbies you may have. Photographers also make great inspiration. They have beautiful pictures and most of them feature them on their own Instagram profiles. “When I was about 12, I was inspired by Thomas Mangelson who shoots for National Geographic. It was my dream to be a photographer for them, and currently I’m inspired by [travel photographer] Callum Snape,” says Guavera.