So you’re scrolling through Instagram and you see all of these beautiful photos. Then you click on a profile and you see a beautifully curated feed with all the same color palette and editing style. And you wonder, how on earth do they get that effect on every single photo?

Instagram feed of Sofiya Gulchuk
Follow @sofiya.gulchuk
Instagram feed of Pau Dictado
Follow @paudictado
Picture of Instagram theme of Bella King
Follow @thebellaking_

I just figured it out and I’ll show you how.

Finding your aesthetic

White, dark and moody, colorful, pop of color. These are all examples of Instagram themes. There are hundreds to pick from but before you can start you have to pick which theme you want. Take a few things into consideration:

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  • How selective are you willing to be with your photos?
  • What type of vibe do you want to show to the world?
  • What type of content do you plan to feature?

These are some of the major factors you need to think about before sticking with a particular theme. Answering these questions will help you decide which feed will work best with your content.

Consider this. If you think “Hey I think white themes are cool! I want a white theme!” That’s great, but if you are trying to feature nature and landscapes, applying the white theme might take a lot more work on your part and not produce as high-quality images.

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Filters

The great lie of Instagram. So you’ve decided on the theme you want. Great, but here’s the thing. Filters aren’t the tool that gets your favorite profile their desired look; not most of the time anyway. Unless you want a straight black and white theme, using filters probably won’t give you the results you wanted.

In theory, filters make sense. After all, a filter applies the same color palette to each photo so why wouldn’t it work. This is because every photo is different. It takes more effort to modify the photo after the filter is applied to get the desired effect than needed. Doing this also decreases the quality of the photo, which defeats the purpose of putting all of the hard work into it in the first place.

My advice, stay away from filters. They really won’t do you much good.

Adobe Lightroom

This is your golden ticket to the look you want to achieve on your feed since around 2016 up to now and beyond. Adobe Lightroom is a high-powered editing program that most of the popular influencers have been using. Essentially Adobe Lightroom is a color centered program whereas Photoshop is for all major editing.

For a monthly subscription of $9.99, you have access to the program on your computer. But if you don’t want to invest just yet, the Lightroom app is available in the App Store and Google Play for free with limited features.

Lightroom is what everyone has been using recently not only because of its simplicity but its versatility. This program can achieve virtually any theme imaginable. The functions that this program allows you to use will get you your desired theme if you use it correctly.

One thing that Lightroom has that is a big help when maintaining a theme is the built-in presets, paid for presets, and the ability to copy and paste the setting from one picture to the next. Don’t get presets confused with filters though. Presets don’t just change the general photo, but, depending on which one is used, can change the lighting, camera calibrations, and overall tones. If you’re lucky enough to find a free preset that essentially matches your theme, all you need to do is tweak the preset to fit each photo, and you have a theme just like that!

Apps

Now you might just be starting up your Instagram or revamping it and you might not have another device other than your phone to take pictures. If you don’t want to immediately invest in Lightroom or any other editing program, all you have is the App Store to accomplish your feed goals.

My recommendation when using apps to edit is to use them sparingly and always save your photos as large as you can. Here are some of my personal app recommendations that I use for editing on my phone:

  • Lightroom (free version)- This is what I use for heavy color editing. It’s best for changing the lighting, color, and other basic effects like cropping.
  • VSCO- No not the filters! I use it for the occasional x or y skew.
  • Snapseed- This is the best free app I have found for object removal. This is listed as healing.
  • Facetune (free version)- This is best for whitening. Use this tool sparingly. It’s great in small doses and on a medium to low setting

Planning Your Feed

Planning out how your feed will look is one of the most important factors in maintaining a good feed. There are many apps that you can use to arrange and rearrange your photos to see how everything will look.

  • Preview
  • UNUM
  • Planoly

All of these apps allow you to input your photos and arrange them to your liking. However, just because these apps allow you to export and post to Instagram through them, doesn’t mean you should do it. Exporting through apps allows for the loss of quality and you won’t know that the picture was downgraded until you see it on your profile.

You can get a killer Instagram feed using these simple tools. All you have to do is use them properly. Once you get the hang of things, you’ll be smooth sailing. 

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