Happy Friday friends. Let's talk about one of my favourite social / archival apps - Instagram! Today I want to share my thoughts on curating a solid Instagram feed. I have a pretty simple process when it comes to deciding whether to follow a strangers feed on Instagram. I quickly browse their photos in the feed grid, and if their collection looks like it all belongs together, it's a good bet that I'll enjoy following their journey. Not ground breaking, I know. It's probably what most people do in one way or another. But what you might not be aware of is the common elements a feed often has that makes it look and feel curated. Identifying what you find attractive about your favourite Instagram feeds will help you to hone your own mobile photography style. The following list details what I see as the 5 elements of a well curated feed. Enjoy!
Elements of a Curated Instagram Feed
The theme of your feed might be very specific (such as exclusively street portraits), or can follow a general theme (such as travel, fashion, your craft, or day to day life with your family). The options for subject matter are vast. Finding a connection within the subjects of your photos will help your feed feel cohesive and part of a larger story. A helpful tip is to identify the strongest themes you see repeatedly within the photos you take. Over time, you should be able to pick out 2 or 3 obvious themes. Once you are confidant that this subject matter tells the story you want to share through Instagram, work with it! Try to post themes evenly with the entire feed in mind. It's helpful to look at your feed in grid format every so often to see if your theme is being evenly presented. For example, my themes for @luneblog are nature, travel, family, with a dash of vintage. I try not to post 4 photos of family in a row, but rather to mix in some nature and vintage shots, and if I'm lucky to be in a situation to take them, some of travel as well.
Colour and tone has a huge impact on how your photos work together as a collection. It all comes down to finding your photography style. What shades speak to you and the message you're sending out through your gallery of photos. Warm natural tones, cool watery shades, delicate pastels, pops of vibrant citrus or deep velvety hues. A colour story can be difficult to implement right from the get go, so take your time photographing what speaks to you and allow the grid to point you in it's natural colour direction. Once you've got it identified, work with it!
Thoughtful composition of a photo results in a completely different end result that will make your Instagram photos stand out in a crowd. For those who wish to view their Instagram feed as a creative, artistic outlet, taking the time to compose a photo has no shame in it. Re-arrange items so they fit evenly in that little square frame, move a subject until it's in better light, and change your own positioning to catch an interesting point of view. The way you compose a photo becomes a familiar signature and just another way to curate your Instagram feed.
Sometimes you just aren't in a position to upgrade to the latest smartphone with the best camera (at least I'm not) so work with what you have. If your phone doesn't take clear long distance photos, test your phone camera for it's ideal range and work to that. If your camera preforms poorly in low light (most phone cameras aren't great in this area) only feature the photos which are taken in daylight. It comes down to a choice, is your Instagram feed a literal record of everything you do and see that is meant to be shared with friends and family or is it an artistic outlet or even a professional promotional tool? Choosing to feature your very best quality photos doesn't mean that you can't take and enjoy a photo that's less than perfect, it just means that it doesn't meet the quality standard you've set for your curated feed.
You have a lot of choices when it comes to mobile photo processing apps. I've mentioned my current favourites HERE. Some "iphoneographers" (or mobile photographers) prefer to heavily edit their photos to create beautiful collages and surreal imagery. Others prefer little to no processing. I personally fall somewhere in-between. No matter how minimal your processing style is though, make sure to focus on making your photos level. Instagram has editing tools available right within the app itself that make it easy to straighten your photo or add depth of focus (where the background gradually blurs and the subject remains in focus). A little extra processing time can really amp up the artistic presence of your Instagram photos, just take it easy on the in app filters - they are often over used and heavy handed.
That's all folks! I hope these 5 tips on the Elements of a Curated Instagram Feed help you see the value in putting some extra thought into your photo feed as a whole. I have enjoyed using Instagram as both a record of our years as a family, and as an artistic outlet. I never stop learning and truly enjoy sharing my thoughts on this social and archival medium as I go along. Hope you find them useful!