My name is Jessica Slaughter, and I am a blogger who sucks at Instagram.
Contrary to most of my posts, this one isn’t a “how-to” based on my experience of actually doing what I’m talking about. Instead, I’m writing about my struggle to find my own Instagram style, and sharing the steps I’m taking to get there. So here we go.
Instagram is extremely popular in the blogging world, not only as a way of gaining more readers, but for connecting with your followers and letting them see your personality rather than just read about it. “Professional Instagramers” have become a thing, experts are holding classes on how to get to their level, and making an Instagram post has become almost as important as making a blog post. It doesn’t seem like a hard skill to develop. Just snap some photos, throw on a filter, make a clever caption, and bam, 500+ likes. But it is. Instagraming is a skill, and I’m determined to attain it.
Now I know there’s a lot of controversy in the blogging world about social media and comparing yourself to others on it. That’s not necessarily what I’m trying to do here, though it’s sort of coming off like that. It’s not that I feel bad about myself for not being Instagram famous, or for not having perfect photos like some other bloggers. I mean, it’s just a picture. I just think it’s awesome that some bloggers have found a sense of style in their photos, and are able to share that style with the world. It’s so inspirational! So no, I’m not comparing myself to other bloggers because I don’t think I’m good enough. I’m comparing myself to other bloggers because I personally want to get better at using Instagram, and they’re the perfect source of inspiration and motivation.
To make this search for my style a bit easier, I decided to find a few favorite Instagramers and look through their photos (this was a very creepy process) to get a sense of where they’ve come from, the style stages they’ve gone through, and where they are now. One of the most encouraging things I got out of this step was seeing that most of these bloggers started out exactly where I am – with a mishmosh of photos, experiments with every filter imaginable, and no clear sense of style. Lesson learned? Anyone can develop an Instagram style — your Instagram history doesn’t matter.
After narrowing down my favorites, I started focusing on the current styles they had, and sorted them into categories. The biggest takeaway from all of this is that the easiest way to come up with your own Instagram style is by following feeds that you love. Not people who followed you and you feel like you should follow them back, not someone hosting a loop giveaway requiring to follow 15 random feeds, just feeds that you want to see and get inspired by! Here are a few of my favorites and their styles:
Warm Vibes, Contrast, & Coffee
These Instagramers share several style characteristics, and they’re also some of my favorite bloggers! Their pictures always make me happy, because they’re real life moments captured in a beautiful way. Their attention to contrast really brings out the colors in their photos, while giving them an in-the-shade look so they’re not too in your face. As for coffee? Well, the idea of coffee just has a certain vibe to it, and that’s the only way I can describe this style. Coffee. Oh, and they’ve all perfected the coffee-in-hand shot.
Color, Color, Color
If you ever need color inspiration, check out these Instagramers. Their feeds are exciting, bright, and full of energy! It’s pretty much impossible to scroll by one of their photos without noticing it, because they always stand out in a feed. I love how they are able to combine such contrasting colors in a beautiful way, and their staging is perfect. There’s a reason the owners of these accounts are so successful in the blogging world! (hint hint, they really know what they’re doing)
White Space, Desks, & Pops Of Color
These ladies have beautiful feeds filled with bright colors and lots of white space. I’m loving the clean, sharp look this style creates, and it draws all of your attention to the subject, whether that be a notebook, food item, or person. A lot of their photos have to do with their personal businesses and blogs, but they’ve managed to do so without seeming spammy at all. This style also translates well with product-based Instagram accounts, because you can shoot in the same place every time with whatever product you’re trying to promote. I’ll talk a bit more about how these ladies have used products in their photos later!
A Few Things To Consider
- Prop styling is another huge aspect to Instagram style, and these ladies have it down. Social media is all about connecting with others, and I know that whenever I purchase from a small business, I want to share how much I love their product with my own followers!
- Consistency is something I’ve always struggled with. The last time I posted to Instagram was over two weeks ago, so there’s no reason I should expect to be growing my following. I hope that once I find my style, I’ll be more motivated to post a few times a week!
- Captions have never been my expertise. I’ve tried emojis only, quotes, puns, and no caption altogether, and I’m really not sure what route I want to take. I definitely want to connect with my followers more though, so maybe I’ll try asking a question at the end?
I’m not entirely sure yet which style I’m heading towards, but I’m thinking the first one would fit best with my lifestyle. Although I love the white space look, I just don’t have many places to shoot photos like that. And while I love color, my belongings and clothes are definitely more toned down and natural, which again fits in with that first style. I guess I have some decisions to make!
Update: After several months of posting and deleting photos, I’ve finally settled on a style that I think fits me best! You can check out my feed here: @jessicaslaughter