How to Establish Your Instagram Aesthetic

One of the fastest ways to gain followers on Instagram is to establish a “look”. A consistent, cohesive Instagram feed will attract new followers and will help build your brand.

Here are some things to keep in mind as you seek a cohesive aesthetic for your Instagram.

How to Establish Your Instagram Aesthetic - Tips for how to have a cohesive look to your Instagram |

Look at the Stats

According to a study by Curalate (links to a really cool infographic) of over 8 million Instagram photos, here is what works on Instagram:

  • High lightness generates 24% more likes than dark images.
  • A high amount of background space generates 29% more likes than those with minimal space.
  • Images featuring blue as the dominant color generate 24% more likes than images that are predominantly red.
  • A single dominant color generates 17% more likes than images with multiple dominant colors.
  • Images with low saturation generate 18% more likes than those with more vibrant colors.
  • Images with high level of texture generate 79% more likes than those without.

Pretty amazing, isn’t it? It’s so helpful to see those statistics. That said, you don’t have to stick to what statistics say “works”. I know plenty of instagrammers who have bright, saturated photos and they are killin’ it with likes and followers.

If you don’t love the aesthetic you choose, it will be hard for you to keep it up. So if you’re attracted to bright photos, then stick with that, regardless of what the statistics say.

Figure out what you like

Now take a look at who you follow on Instagram. Who are your favorite users? Take a scroll through the main feed and see what pops out at you. Do you enjoy color? Do you prefer muted toes?

One suggestion I have is to take screenshots of all of your favorite photos (not to use anywhere or copy, just to figure out a theme). Add them all to an album in your iPhone and determine if there is a common look to all photos.

Do Some Planning

Want to know the secret to a perfectly styled Instagram? Planning. Many instagrammers take dozens of photos during one “shoot” and then use them throughout the week. Not only does having all of your images pre-planned help to maintain consistency (which attracts followers), but it makes it easier for you when life gets hectic during the week.

Edit all photos similarly

In order to maintain consistent branding, consider either picking a filter and just using that one, or using no filter at all. Bouncing around between filters based on the photo is not conducive to maintaining a common aesthetic.

I prefer to pop my photos in to Afterlight (my favorite photo editing app), up the brightness and the exposure, sharpen a bit, and clarify a bit (to bring back some of the definition you lost from over-exposing). That’s my go-to photo “recipe” for photos I add to my lifestyle blog Instagram.

Resist the Urge to Post Things That Won’t Fit In

It might be tempting to post something funny or beautiful that doesn’t fit in with the look you’ve chosen. At some point, you’ll have a photo you desperately want to post but it just doesn’t work. Resist the urge to post it anyway and take to Twitter. Any photos that don’t fit in my Instagram aesthetic go straight to Twitter. Sometimes they are photos that followers would truly enjoy but one photo that is outside of your chosen aesthetic might look odd in your feed.

Instagram is currently the fastest growing social network and will continue to be relevant to bloggers, as we use it to compliment our blog posts. What tips do you have for Instagram?

  • Tina

    Awesome tips (even for non bloggers) :) Love the new site!

  • Yara Miora

    Oh those stats are really interesting! I do believe you should always go with your own style but its very useful to know :)

    Thanks for sharing!

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  • The Dame Intl

    These are great tips as I have been wanting to increase my readership but find it hard to stick to one aesthetic. I like sharing beautiful things as and when, I admire people who have a specific aesthetic in their feed.

    I’m going to make it my goal for the month of May to try and set up a specific aesthetic.

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  • Lucy Parsons

    Great tips, thanks for sharing. I’m just beginning to work on my instagram account and have been thinking about aesthetics.

  • Monique Kennedy

    Great tips! I was actually researching this yesterday and this just showed up this morning. How convenient.

  • Van

    Great tips!

  • She Rocks Fitness

    Be consistent…I feel that once I established a time of day that works best for me to post and that also works best for my schedule it is less stressful. I have the idea/photo/hashtags written down and then I post it first thing in the morning and don’t have to think about it the rest of the day.

    • Yaya reed

      Im still trying to figure out what is the best time to post. Do you find one day or time better than others?

      • Kyla Huebner

        Hello! I typically post at either 11am or 6pm. Many people are scrolling through their feeds before bed and in the morning. Keep that in mind! Best of luck!

  • Maria @SoNailicious

    Brilliant tips! I couldn’t agree more.

  • Courtney Swaim

    Thank you for sharing these tips! I especially enjoyed the statistics.

  • Roxanne

    I love these stats; where are they from? I’ve got quite a bit of a minimalistic, dreamy and cool-coloured theme going on over at my Instagram (which is @themagicalcanopy, by the way!), so I guess my photos are fitting into quite a few of those popular categories. I’ve also been using tons of “curation” hashtags shared by others in my niche, so I think my Instagram is primed for growth!
    Any other tips? :)

    xx, Roxanne

  • writelaughdream

    These were great tips and definitely things I have learned by trial and error. Wish this was around when I first started. HAHA! But hey experience is a good teacher as well.

  • Stanley Smith

    Thanks for the tips Nadine! Love this name btw) Very thoughtful article, i can only agree. And writelaughdream is right, i also wish this was around when i was new to instagram. Anyway, I found quite an intriguing piece of stats concerning the topic: 63% of business users use third-party applications for account management, 31% are concerned about their follower/following ratio, 14% use bot-like features to get rid of followings. Considering this, i’d reccomend using to lower the number of people you follow, you can reduce it by up to 4000 per day., so even if you gained a few thousand followings building up your follower base, for example using follow4follow hashtags, it’s no reason to worry, the service will do that for you. Maybe you’ve got some other services/application to help managing a promotion campaign?

  • Alex Larson

    Wow. Great job! Honestly, Instagram is like a gold mine for me, cause it’s profitable with such strategy as yours. Maybe, you can “use” me as a guinea pig lol) Use editing apps, managing apps and boosters. The end. PROFIT. Btw, is all the rage now as great booster.

  • Nia On Social

    Great advice. I’m still working on my own aesthetic but I’m managing an account and I’ll use these tips.

  • Erica

    Great Tips!! I’m just starting my blog and several bloggers have recommended Afterlight!!! I’m definitely going to keep tabs on the stats!!! Thanks again

  • Rebecca

    Great tips!! Thanks :)

  • Anna Hubbard

    These are great tips that I’ll definitely keep in mind and try to apply to my Instagram! Thanks for sharing :)
    -Anna |

  • Katya Bychkova | StyleSprinter

    What a great post! It was a really interesting read about all of the Insta stats that goes into a successful account. Now I feel that I am ready to put my Insta game on the next level! Thanks for sharing!

  • LoveLaughExplore

    the low saturation over bright images part is so odd! I find it so hard to post things that are relevant to my daily life + blog post pics + spontaneous posts and make them all flow!


    Kali (@love_laugh_explore)

  • Heather

    I definitely agree with this post. I’ve definitely gained more followers since sticking to a theme on my Instagram. Honestly before I wouldn’t have thought it would work, but it does!

    Xo Heather

  • Eloise Stewart

    Good post! Thank you!

  • Christina Ochoa

    Great Post! I really noticed a spike in followers since I changed the way I post on Instagram just by getting inspiration from my favorite instagrammers

  • Bjorn Lodbrock

    Thanks for tips. I’ve been working my buns off all month without your strategy. I think I’ll deserve to have a little rest and use your advices. It seems to me that it’d be rather easier to make money on my youtube channel or smth like 777spinslot

  • Konstinacy

    Nadine, I’m becoming your fan:) Great article, very interesting stats, even surprising, especially about the blue color. I already think about how to implement this new knowledge to my current promotion. So far I’m using to attract people, Local Measure for analytic (check it out if you’re not familiar, a bunch of Aussies made this masterpiece not long ago), your previous post gave me an idea to host a giveaway. I guess it’d be a blue horn :) (if you’re familiar with HIMYM)

  • Victoria Haight

    Such an amazing post! Lots to think about:)

  • Kristin C

    What does the stat mean that says: “A high amount of background space generates 29% more likes than those with minimal space”?

    • Lauren

      I think it means a smaller subject with more visible background space generates more likes than a large subject where you can only see a small amount of background. (Think a single flower against a white wall versus a bouquet of flowers with no visible background space.

      • Kristin C

        Perfect! Thank you!