In Summer of 2016, I was all over the place in terms of my Instagram aesthetic and feed. I had landed my first big collaboration ever as a style ambassador for American Eagle Outfitters and I was inspired to take my blog and Instagram to the next level. Aside from focusing on writing better content, I focused on the photos I shared on my Instagram.
Almost two years later, I’ve worked on defining my brand and telling my story through my aesthetic. My personal aesthetic isn’t determined by a filter – rather its a cohesive story about being a modern woman told by clear, bright, and colorful photos.
So let’s define what aesthetic actually means.
According to Urban Dictionary, an aesthetic is a combination of things that are pleasing to look at. In today’s social media/Instagram world, your aesthetic is the overall look and feel of your photos.
Now what helps create your aesthetic? How do you create a cohesive feed/collection of photos?
Before we choose colors, themes, and preset filters, what are you first trying to communicate about your brand? Remember my previous blog post about Defining Your Brand – where I asked you what words you want associated with your brand? Well here is when your strategy turns into execution. The products + what you want to share about you can help you figure out your aesthetic.
Instagram Aesthetic Tip #1: What do you want to communicate about your brand?
Ask yourself: Are you trying to share the latest trends or everyday outfits? Are you trying deliver a sense of adventure and wonder on your feed? Or are you trying to share your fun, bubbly personality? Are you trying to share all the amazing delicious food you make in your kitchen?
For instance, if you’re a food blogger and you’re looking for the best deserts in your city. You’ll probably want to share the best ice cream cones, pies, and macarons. You could easily build a colorful feed around your food adventures.
Instagram Aesthetic Tip #2: Where do you live?
Your environment can be an easy way to choose what aesthetic you’re going to have. If you want a minimalist vibe – skyscrapers, city streets, and industrial elements around your environment might help you achieve that. If you’re travel to tropical places or unique places often, you could easily built a tropical, vacation aesthetic filled with palm trees and ocean elements.
If you live in the Northwest like me, it can be easy to go for the adventurous, mountainous, foresty vibe. I’m surrounded by evergreen trees so it’s totally doable to achieve this aesthetic.
However I also live in a big city. In Seattle, there are farmers markets with gorgeous flowers, there are colorful walls, historic buildings, and skyscrapers. There can be a lot of color all around the city. So the city/colorful vibe is also a viable option to build a whole aesthetic and Instagram feed around.
Instagram Aesthetic Tip #3: What colors do you wear often?
What you wear in photos can help build cohesion in your feed. Some bloggers with the minimalist style only wear neutral colors with very subtle pops of colors. Some bloggers only wear loud colors and prints. I tend to wear a lot of color – I love reds, yellows, and prints so my feed sways to the more colorful side of the spectrum.
Instagram Aesthetic Tip #4: For those of you just starting out, what profiles do you gravitate towards?
Do you love the bright, colorful Instagram feeds? Or do you like the orange-ish vintage vibes? My advice to you would be to look at how others have built their feeds. Use what other bloggers and brands have created to give you inspiration!
Instagram Aesthetic Tip #5: Thing of your Instagram feed as the modern day magazine.
And if someone is scrolling through your feed, how do you want people to feel? Do you want them to feel inspired to go out and travel the world? Do you want to make them hungry with food photos? Do you want to show them how to style fishnet socks or mom jeans?
Instagram Aesthetic Tip #6: Don’t be afraid to just try things out.
Honestly, figuring out my Instagram aesthetic was journey of me. For a long time, I felt like I was all over the place. But going through these exercises of figuring out what I want to communicate about my brand (modern woman, happy, excited, fashionable, empowerment) helped me build an Instagram feed and aesthetic that reflects who I am. My feed actually adjusts a little bit each season, but my aesthetic is light, bright and always with a pop of color.
Instagram Aesthetic Tip #7: Use Instagram feed planning tools like Planoly or UNUM.
One question I get a lot in my DMs is: how do you create a cohesive feed? Aside from understanding how I want to come across, I literally plan out my feed with Planoly. I’ll upload up to 7-10 photos and rearrange how I want my future photos to look on my Instagram feed. If you’re stressed about cohesion, Planoly and UNUM are the way to go. I think my feed started looking so much better after I planned the photos!
There you have it friends! 7 tips to help you build your Instagram aesthetic.
How have you built up your Instagram aesthetic and feed? Do you use specific filters to create cohesion in your photos? What other tools do you use?
As promised, I’ll be emailing out my Branding for Instagram Presentation tonight! If you missed my first blog post about Branding for Instagram, you can read that post here: Defining Your Brand.
Thank you for reading!
Photos: Holly Phan