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Instagram Aesthetic: 5 Step Starter Kit

Aesthetics & Design

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By: Mikayla Leier

How do I get an aesthetic instagram? What content am I supposed to post? What preset do I get? 

I hear these questions all the time when someone is looking to either rebrand themselves or start their own branded instagram. Instagram has evolved into something that not only showcases what you are up to with friends but now it showcases your own personal brand and aesthetics are EVERYTHING! 

Although creating an instagram aesthetic is not going to happen overnight here are my tips to get you started. 

1. Choose a color palette

The bible of creating a cohesive instagram is having a visual color palette to stick to with images, clothing & backgrounds. To get started, I would look at your closet and see what colors stand out as repeats to help give you an idea what types of colors you are already using without thinking about it. 

For me, when I did this experiment I saw that I wear a lot of jeans with olive, white, navy, blush, rust colored shirts so I chose a color palette for my instagram that mimicked my clothing style. 

Once you have an idea of the types of colors you normally wear then head over to Pinterest and look for a color palette that fits the vibe and colors found in your closet search. If your closet is on the darker spectrum then go for a more moody theme, if you have more taupes, greens, navys than a more earthy neutral and if it’s more whites and blushes then keep it with a bright light palette. 

2. Choose a Theme & Preset

After finding your color palette then the next step is to pick a preset to make everything cohesive. A preset is a filter that you can download with adjusted levels to filter all pictures with the same effect. The difference between a filter and a preset is that a preset adjusts using the lighting and elements in the photo to color it versus a filter just puts the same coloring over all photos. 

Sticking with the same theme as discussed before moody, neutral & bright, when looking for a preset it is important to keep your color palette in mind so that it creates the effect that you are looking for. 

In my case, I wanted a neutral preset that would enhance the whites. So I found one called Coconut Cream off of etsy to use that made me a little tanner, hair blonder and enhanced whites for all the images. If your vibe is something that is more bright white and strictly wanting to focus on that then maybe something like Light & Airy might be more fitting. For a more moody look you are going to want to have a little darker appearance enhancing more of the blacks in the picture similar to something like this Moody.

Another area to find presets are from Influencers many of them have their own presets that you can purchase. A couple that I have used before are Kathreen Post – Lemon Blonde Preset and Sunday Chapter – Travel Essential Preset.  

The opportunities are endless and a little overwhelming when it comes to presets but if you stick to your color palette it will help you to find the vibe and direction you are wanting to go.

3. Create New & Original Content 

In order to keep an aesthetic up it isn’t something that you can just take photos at an event and hope that it is good. It is gonna take a little more work than that. 

If you know you are going to an event or location that would fit the aesthetic of your instagram vision then make sure to wear colors in your palette and that fit the vibe. If you don’t have any events coming up (which who really does nowadays lol) then the best way to create new content is to go out for a fun photoshoot day with a friend or significant other. 

For a fun photoshoot day: 

  • Choose a location to go either could be around your neighborhood or a destination 
  • Bring multiple outfits so you can get more content out of one day 
  • Research some cute poses on pinterest, tiktok and other socials so have an idea of what you want to achieve 
  • Bring props to switch it up like sunglasses, hats, jackets, jewelry 
  • Enjoy your time with each other and have fun with it

A note for types of pictures to capture is to remember to spice it up with different angles, crazy poses, laughing, subject out of focus, subject to the side, facing backwards, just feet, just hands…start getting creative with it. A good rule of thumb is if you have a busy background then make that the focal point but if the background is plain make yourself the focus (ex. If you are at the ocean, make the ocean the focus by facing backwards) 

One of the main perks with doing a photoshoot day is that all the images will have a similar feeling as well as lighting. One of the big problems I hear from friends is that the preset looks different if it is a night time photos. Sadly, if your brand vision is not at nighttime then those images taken might be just for memory sake and not for your instagram. 

When my roommate and I went out for one of our photoshoot adventures we just ran round our neighborhood and found little gem areas to take pictures. So it isn’t something that you have to go far to do just make the most of what is around you. Anything could inspire you 🙂

4. Planning the Posts

After you have all the images and applied the preset to your favorites now it is time to organize them. For an iPhone, move all the images you want to use into an album in your camera roll, from there you can see that they are laid out similar to instagram with three square images across. You can use this album space to plan out the order you want to post them by holding down the image to move it around within the album. 

When planning your images, a safe place to start is to have 3 photos of yourself, then 1 photo that is not you as the focus (ex. Quote image or object), then 2 more photos of yourself then another break up photo and continue this pattern throughout your feed. 

The opportunities are endless here so do what feels right to you and plan them to what fits your vibe and feeling. 

5. Caption Layouts 

Once all your images are in place and ready to be captioned it is time to focus our attention on the look of captions. Although Instagram is all about the images and aesthetics of the profile another area to elevate your aesthetic is your caption. 

Make sure to use the same formatting in all your captions (ex. all lower case with an emoji). I use the rule of making my captions all lower case, no more than one sentence of text, an emoji and then an ellipse to break up any other text I want to write in there, then another ellipse to then put hashtags. 

By having a formatted caption format it creates a brand for your followers of what to expect from you and enhance your instagram presence.

Well that’s my little instagram aesthetic starter kit. Your options are endless babe so have fun with it, make it your own & enjoy the experiences. Remember they are following you because they like YOU so this is just a way to express yourself and showcase your personality. 

Can’t wait to see all your beautiful instagrams come to life! 

Love Always, Mik

@intheivyblog

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