You’ve got your logo, your branding, your website, and your SEO sorted. Now it’s time to conquer Instagram!
But gaining traction on Instagram isn’t as simple as posting a few pictures with clever captions. If you want your posts to attract and engage the right audience, there’s a lot to consider. Especially when it comes to styling.
Let’s look at how you can style your photos to boost your brand identity and create a memorable connection.
Mastering The Styling Process Step-By-Step:
The first thing to think about when styling images is who you’re trying to reach. You need to identify your target market, know what they want, and how to reach them in a way that resonates.
Find influencers in your target market and try to see who they follow. Whom do their followers follow? By doing this, you’ll begin to see what trends are relevant to your market and what you can discard when doing your visual research.
The goal with styling is to develop a visual language that’s unique to your brand.
Go on Instagram and find pages you want to emulate in some way. Maybe it’s mood, maybe it’s layout, maybe it’s styling. Find a sizable number of pages and collect them in one space. View them side by side. What do they all have in common?
Let your research be free-flowing and broad-based.
We’re not looking exclusively at styling yet, we’re looking for mood. Don’t be limited to Instagram pages, either. If you find images online or in other sources, by all means, include them in your list of resources. You’re building this list so you can be informed by a wide variety of ideas, compositions, and framings.
Once you have this list, it’s time to move on to the next step.
Go through your resources and select your favorite images. In Canva, Photoshop, or whichever software you are most comfortable with, create three large boards. Make sure all your images are saved as jpegs—whether screenshots, downloaded images, or even scans, jpegs will work best with most software. Now begin to match these images together on each board.
Most likely, you’ll find that your selections fall into a range of moods. Try to match the images based on tone, color palette, and styling. If you don’t have enough images to fill these three boards, go source some more.
Once you have the boards all full, choose which one best aligns with your brand. This will be your mood board. Keep this in mind, as it can be helpful when looking for inspiration or seeing if an idea will work with your vision.
Take this board and begin to interpret these images. What makes them work? How have the original creators styled these images to look the way they have? What color palettes are they working with? How are they laying their objects out or styling their models?
In this phase, you can open up the conversation. Ask your photographer and stylist friends how they would light, shoot, and style these images. What would they do to improve them? Outside contributions are really influential in this phase and work well once you have an idea of what you want to produce.
Now it’s time for the really fun bit.
Take your favorite techniques and ideas, find a location, bring along some knowledgeable friends, and see how you can recreate your desired stylings while looking at your mood board. Bring in some models (either people or products, or both!), grab a camera or your photographer, and see what you can create in a day.
Do this a few times. Once you’re more confident in your styling abilities, you’ll start to find a workflow that works for you. If some of the photos are hitting the mark, you’ve already got content that you can start publishing.
Develop A Style
Now you have your images, go back to your mood board and compare. Are these images what you want? Are they aligning with your vision? Honing your eye for small details is an integral part of the process when it comes to developing a solid visual language that viewers will be able to engage with.
If you have some niggles, go back to testing. Nothing you’re doing in these phases is wasted effort. It’s all a learning experience.
After a few tests, you’ll see something starting to emerge—a preference for certain compositions or lighting styles. What you’re seeing is the emergence of something unique to you and your eye—a personal style. Having an identity is crucial to engagement. If your images appear too generic, followers will lose interest. It’s that personal style, however, that makes your brand unique.
Repetition of Formula
Once you’re happy with your images and your styling, ask yourself why? What did you do that made them really stand out? See if you can start to replicate this particular mood with other images.
A lot of getting more likes and followers on Instagram has to do with the repetition of formula. If people can’t wait to feast their eyes on your next image, you’ll retain followers in the long run.
That said, avoid rigidity (or being boring!).
Once you’ve stuck to a certain style for a few months, branch out. Just like product photographers update their online portfolios with fresh, new images and ideas, you need to continue to inject life into your brand. This doesn’t mean rebranding; it simply means keeping things interesting.
You know your workflow now and how to get what you want, so you can surprise your followers by doing something a little different—whether this means adding black and white images when you usually stick to color, posting macro shots to provide an extreme close-up, or simply trying new angles or lighting to create a different effect.
Achieve your Instagram Brand Goals
So there it is, a step-by-step to styling your photos for Instagram. Instagram has no ‘one look’ or aesthetic that’ll help you find followers. Styling your photos for Instagram is about finding a consistent visual language that followers can engage with.
Instagram posts aren’t viewed in isolation, they’re viewed in a feed that’s constantly demanding attention.
By paying attention to trends, identifying what makes your images stand out, and replicating that style in a way that’s personal to your brand, you’ll find yourself creating an Instagram feed that dreams are made of!