Instagram Top Tips! – How To Create A Visually Stunning IG!

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Today Instagram has over 300 million active users accessing the site every month, posting pictures, liking and commenting on pictures, or simply just viewing and following their favourite accounts. This has created a whole new breed of internet celebs where anyone from anywhere from around the world can become the world’s local celeb for the content that they put up on their Instagrams. But how do they do it and what makes their accounts so great? Below I’ll be taking apart fashion accounts (of course!) and giving you tips on how to create a visually appealing Instagram!

1) IT’S ALL ABOUT THE BIG PICTURE – YOUR GALLERY

First impressions are the most important right? Well, that’s what your gallery is! People stumble on to your account and there it is, your gallery staring at them right in the face. It’s vibrant, it’s organised, it’s got a theme – they want to see more. They select a picture they want to see most from your gallery, click, the photo quality is awesome, the picture composition is great, your style is stunning – they go on to the next picture and so forth. Eventually, after seeing a few of your photos and it’s completely captured their attention, they turn that grey FOLLOW button green, ‘Following’ it says.

I find that people often forget that your gallery is your front of house and that things must look presentable and eye catching right away before they decide that they want to see more. The modern society don’t like their time wasted, even if it’s only a second, meaning that if they stumble upon an Instagram account that is not right away visually appealing from the get go, they will leave your page without viewing a single photo. Think of a newspaper article with a bad headline, you don’t give it a read. A movie with a bad poster, you’ll give it a miss. Same thing, a well put together Instagram gallery goes a long way as it draws them in.

Now how do you create a stimulating gallery?

2) SQUARED PHOTO FORMAT (PERSONAL PET PEEVE!)

Please, please, please! Will everyone PLEASE post all your Instagram photos in square formats! Every time I stumble upon an Instagram account and I see a ton of photos that don’t fit together properly in the gallery, I am immediately put off and hit the back button. That’s just not how your gallery is supposed to look! Have a look at all these beautiful, perfectly put together galleries with all their photos slotted flawlessly next to each other:

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@margaret_zhang                                                 @thehautepursuit

Just beautiful! I understand that the square format itself doesn’t quite make much sense, I struggled to get used to it at first myself and I really disliked the fact that my photos did not fit properly! But then I realized how messy it made my gallery look! It really is quite easy to keep to this format as most phone cameras now do have the option of shooting your photos in the actual square format so that you can frame your picture perfectly so that you don’t need to crop anything out of it later to try and make it fit. So next time you guys are shooting for your Instagram post, don’t forget to flick your camera to the square format! Keep the gallery neat, guys!

3) KNOW YOUR THEME & STYLE

Before you begin, you must first have a clear vision of what you are building and stick to it! For example. if you are aiming to create a minimalistic account filled with high quality, beautiful, clean cut photos that are not ‘busy’ looking, try not to post photos of yourself doing a bathroom selfie. This will interfere with your clean cut gallery and disrupt its flow! Also, it only takes one bad photo for your fan to unfollow! Or if you are trying to create a vibrant account, wowing your viewers with stunning cityscapes, colourful outfit photos and hearty meals, try not to post too many black and white photos as that’s not why your fans are following your account!

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@garypeppergirl                                                  @love_aesthetics

The two galleries above have very different styles but they are both very clear cut about what kind of gallery they are trying to achieve and maintain! This by no means suggests that you cannot break away and try something new, please do! But make sure you don’t do it too often so it makes it look like you have got a ‘confused’ gallery. And because you cannot please everyone (and you shouldn’t try to!), be true to yourself and what your style is!

4) PHOTO QUALITY
A great gallery is made up of stunning individual photos that together create a visually pleasing image once looked at as a whole. The most important element in a good quality photo is lighting. Always know which direction the light is coming from and FIND THE LIGHT! If you are standing in frame and you do not feel the light hitting your face, then your face will definitely be shadowy. Always make sure your face catches the light.

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Taking photos during the day time and outdoors is usually best. I always avoid taking pictures indoors, especially during the night time as you are guaranteed to have really bad lighting! If you take pictures indoors at night, all you are getting is your indoors artificial light, which is no good as will give your skin a yellowy/orangey tint and a grainy photo quality as you are in a low light condition. With this photo quality, there is no amount of colour treatment that can save it!

Most common low light (low quality) pictures that people post are: night time selfie in the bedroom, night out with friends at a bar, dinner photo with friends, dimly lit food photo of your dinner, etc… Sometimes it is better not to post them at all (no matter how cute you and your friends look!) as it will ruin the quality of your gallery as a whole. Remember, ALWAYS think of the big picture!

5) COLOUR TREATMENT
EVERY PHOTO needs colour treatment, no matter how good that photo is, and this does not mean applying an Instagram filter on it. Due to the fact that the camera quality is incomparable to the human eye, the average photograph does not even come close to how the real life is supposed to look. That’s where the magic of photo processing comes in. There is a widespread misconception that Photoshopping is evil and that it is more ‘pure’ or ‘truthful’ to post an unphotoshopped picture, that often is referred to retouching and making a person not look quite like themselves. Please remember that Photoshop does more than just retouching out somebody’s pimples and wrinkles. Photographers and film makers do colour treatment to their raw photo/footage in order to enhance its quality and bring out the best in it. Treat every picture you take like it’s a starting point to your art. A beautifully taken photo is the perfect foundation to being colour treated in order to create a beautiful finished product. I see every untreated photo as a photo that was not brought to their full potential and has just been left in its raw format. That’s why they’re called the ‘raw’ format, like uncooked food.

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Before and after of my instagram photos, all colour treated on my phone with app Pic-Tap-Go

For all my photos taken on the DSLR, I do colour treatment to them in Photoshop. And for all the photos that I take on my phone and post on-the-go, I edit it on my favourite app called Pic-Tap-Go! It costs $1.99 but please don’t moan if you want to take your blogging seriously! Because $1.99 is nothing compared to the results it gives you, and if this is the career path you have chosen, I really do think that ditching Instagram filters and investing $1.99 to jumpstart your dream job is well worth it! No successful bloggers post uncolour-treated photos, no matter how natural the colour looks. The raw that they have taken would have been much more ‘yellow’ and darker.

The trick to colour treating your photos is to keep things natural looking. Use these apps/programs only to balance out the colour of your photos or enhance their vibrance! (For a more detailed post about colour treatment, I shall tackle this at a later date as it really deserve its own article!)

6) COLOUR PALETTE
Every Instagram account has got its own colour palette. Below are two examples, one gallery (mine!) has got a blue palette and the other is a clean, white palette.

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Knowing your colour palette is important as it pulls your gallery together better as a whole (big picture, remember?). It keeps everything in somewhat of a similar theme and no matter how different your photos are, if they are of similar colour palette, it keeps your gallery from looking messy! Sometimes your colour palette can be set by how you colour treat your photos. Take my gallery for example, because my colour palette is blue, I help maintain that theme by always adding a bit of blue to all my photos whenever I’m doing the colour treatment.

7) BE DIVERSE WITH CONTENT
I always try (I don’t always succeed!) to post varieties of different looking photos, for example, posting ten selfies in a row is never a good idea! Why? Because that will ruin how your gallery looks! If people stumble upon my gallery and the first thing they see is a ton of my face (real close up!) in a row, that’s never a good look for your gallery! It lets them know that if they follow you, you don’t really have a lot to offer in terms of photo variety if all they see right now is tons of your bathroom selfies! Find and give your gallery a balance, as too much of anything is never a good thing! Let your potential fans know that you have a lot to offer if they follow you! Try to include parts of your day, let them know what you’re doing. If you’re out and about town, take a cool picture of where you’re at (and because it’s outdoors too, you’ll get a good photo quality, double win!) or if you’re wearing an awesome outfit today, take a full body photo of yourself against a cool backdrop, or if you are wearing beautiful dainty rings, take a closeup shot of them! Think variety, try to mix it up!

6) BE DIVERSE WITH FRAMING
This fits in with the same theme as the point above, show your potential fans that you can offer variety of content! Try not to post tons of closeups in a row, and at the same time, try not to post tons of full body shots in a row. It can make your gallery look repetitive! Before posting a picture every time, look at your gallery and figure out what it needs next! If yesterday you just posted a full body shot, try to post a closeup of something today, it may be a selfie, or details of your outfit! When viewing a good Instagram gallery, you will notice that the pictures dance around and play off of each other well. A bit of wide shots, a bit of closeups, all intertwined and pulled in together with the finishing touches of your gallery palette.

7) MULTIPLE PHOTOS (COLLAGE) IN ONE FRAME IS A NO NO!
In my opinion, these multiple photos in one square is the ULTIMATE gallery killer. You’re viewing a nice looking gallery, it’s going well then suddenly, a photo in the gallery, filled with tons of little photos. ‘Nooooo!!’ I scream in my head. A good photo is only powerful on its own. If you cram in a whole bunch more so-so photos in with your good photo, all it’ll do is take away the attention of the actual one good photo in the collage. Plus, look at your gallery with that collage there, it sticks out like a sore thumb. It looks like it doesn’t belong in the gallery and doesn’t play off well with the other photos you have there. Gallery killer, I tell ya!
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I believe that a truly good photo is hard to come by, so to see a whole bunch of photos crammed into one square frame seems unnecessary as probably only ONE photo in that crowded situation is worth posting. And even if they are ALL good photos, putting them together into one picture will just ruin them. Try to only pick ONE and be confident about it!

8) NO CAT HEADS PLEASE!
I’m sure you all know what I’m talking about? People post pictures of themselves with an animal head everywhere on Instagram! Up until now, I still don’t know what the deal is with this but it just doesn’t look good. Period. My guess would be that you may be blinking in the photo but you like your pose/outfit so you stick in a cat head over your blinking face so that you can post it? In that case, I say it’s better NOT to post that photo at all. The cat head does not save your photo and make it ‘post-able’. You should just take a new picture where you think your face is presentable. Or if it’s already dark and you can’t retake it, just retake it a different day! It’s worth the wait for a proper good photo. You should never rush into posting a photo if it’s not ready.

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That’s it! I hope you guys found that somewhat useful! Just remember, when in doubt, think of the big picture! Go back and view your gallery and ask yourself what it needs next! Your gallery has all the answers!

Also, a really important point I would like to make is: if blogging is a career choice of yours, please make sure that you follow and study all your favourite bloggers! This is extremely important because viewing their photos and galleries will really help train your eyes to recognize good and bad quality photos. As bloggers, we are in the business of visual image, so we must know how to differentiate between good and bad photos and why they are good/bad! And if you’re a blogger, I better not catch you reading a magazine! That’s an entirely different medium to what we do, all the photos in there are shot differently, they interact with their readers differently, and how they present clothing and products are put together differently. If you blog, you must study blogs.

New to blogging and not sure who to follow? Below I’ll link you a few of my personal favourite bloggers and why I love them!

Diverse & Top Notch Photo Quality:
Kristina Bazan (KAYTURE)
Chiara Ferragni (The Blonde Salad)
Gary Pepper (Nicole Warne)
Aimee Song (Song of Style)

Most Visually Stunning Gallery:
Vanessa Shen (THE HAUTE PURSUIT)
Willabelle Ong (Pale Division)
Margaret Zhang (Shine By Three)

Killer Outfits:
Yanin Namasonthi (Pretty Sickly)
Stephanie Villa (Soothing Sista)
Jeanne Grey (Grey Layers)

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I would love to hear some feedback if you guys found this useful! And if so, what points are you guilty of?!

22 responses

  1. This is so good, Nun! Would you mind if I reblogged it??! Your tips are so on point and I am definitely going to use them this year! One of goals is to up my photo game and you are always a constant inspiration to raise the bar higher. 🙌🙌🙌🙌

    • THANK YOU lovely! And yes, go for it! I would be more than happy for you to reblog this! It took a really long time to plan and write it out, so I’m just so happy that people are finding it helpful! ❤

  2. Great post Nun! All your tips are spot on! I’m totally the worst with posting in a rush and ruining my theme or colour palette haha. Definitely going to refer back to this post before posting anything again! ❤
    xx
    Katie | Miss Adonis

  3. These tips are so useful, i’m a new blogger and have been looking for tips on how to draw more people to both my instagram page and blog. Your page is absolutely amazing and so is your blog. Once again thank you so much!

  4. Pingback: What It Takes To Be A Fashion Blogger « NÜN STYLE BLOG

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  6. Thank you so much, So useful, interesting and an easy read. Definitely something that is going to really help me out. you have inspired me.

  7. Pingback: Top 4 Instagram Photo Editing Apps! « NÜN STYLE BLOG

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