Instagram Stars Share Their Secrets to An Amazing Feed

By Camille Styles
instagram stars share their secrets to creating an amazing feed

Some people seem to have the magic touch when it comes to Instagram: whatever they post is met with likes galore, and they make creating and curating their feed look effortless and fun. The secret, however, is that a huge amount of hard work and strategy is behind the most successful accounts, and we live in an age where content creators have built an entire career out of their ability to master the art of the Instagram. Since most of us are just trying to document our day-to-day, get creative and (hopefully) have fun doing it, I thought it would be fun to poll a few Instagrammers who have taken their feeds to the next level — and convince them to spill their best secrets to the rest of us.

image: @chaneldror’s instagram

Create a cohesive look. 

Having a beautiful looking feed on your profile page is very important as it’s the first thing a new follower will see. I will often post a picture, then take a screenshot of my profile page, then go back and delete the new picture I had just posted straight away. Then I’ll go into my camera roll, open the screenshot image, and double check that the new photo I uploaded looks great in the feed and doesn’t clash with any of the other surrounding images.

– Ashley Alexander, @gatherandfeast

Capture real life. 

I appreciate feeds that are about the journey of life. Most of my pictures are “real life” moments, and these seem to be my most cherished images. I do love the Afterlight app to improve lighting or sharpen an image. My favorite subjects are my family exploring new places, seeing the experiences through my boys’ eyes. I use my Instagram as our family photo journal, and these are the images I treasure most.

– @denai_jones, designer and founder of Petunia Pickle Bottom



Use a variety of angles. 

Create a balanced feed by alternating between posting a perspective photo and then a close up image. This creates a cohesive and visually appealing feed.

– Will Taylor, @brightbazaar

Know your niche. 

Narrow your subject matter to one main topic and just a few sub-topics. For example, I mostly post pictures of food, I occasionally post about travel, and every now and then I post photos of my dogs. I think it’s ok to go off-topic once in awhile to show that you’re an actual person behind your account.

– Jeanine Donofrio, @loveandlemons

Be sincere. 

I am a big proponent of honesty and sincerity in Instagram posting. We post what we as team domino love, and I think our audience knows that. We regram photos that stand out to us as sources of inspiration, and every time we post one of our images, we do so to inspire others. I think highly uniform Instagram feeds can be cool, but they feel too stiff and manufactured to me. I like variety, color, and giving a wide range of styles and tastes a little face time.

– Shani Silver, @dominomag

Use natural light and shadows to your advantage. 

I always shoot my food photography on a table next to a window for the best natural lighting conditions. If the sun is strong I’ll grab a photography diffuser and place it next to the scene or shut the sheer curtains. Sometimes I’ll also close the main curtains a little to block out more light, creating stronger shadows and a darker moodier scene.

– Ashley Alexander, @gatherandfeast

Determine color mood.

Stick with a similar filter and vibe. I use the app Planoly to keep a cohesive look throughout my feed. If an image doesn’t look right I won’t use it. 

-Samantha Wennerstrom, @couldihavethat

Mix close-ups with wide shots. 

One aspect I’m still working on trying to remember myself (since I like to see the whole scene) is mixing close ups with more pulled out shots. Mixing the two, as well as style with lifestyle is always interesting.

– @aliciamlund, cheetah is the new black

Create an awesome grid. 

If your grid looks unbalanced or haphazard, people are less likely to follow you. I use the app Planoly and upload 2-5 photos at a time and rearrange them until the order feels best to me. While everyone’s idea of a balanced grid will be different, I have a couple of things I commonly do. The first is not to group too many white or dark images back-to-back. Another thing I do is to coordinate some images diagonally – for instance if I have a bright pink image, I’ll try to make sure that it coordinates with another pink-ish image diagonal from it. Don’t overthink it, but post images with intention. As for what that intention is, figure out what works best for you!

– Jeanine Donofrio, @loveandlemons

Shoot at golden hour.

For softer, more flattering lighting – this works for everything from portraits to outfits and landscape to building pictures.

– Will Taylor, @brightbazaar

Fill the frame.

I think about this a lot when taking my shots and sometimes take a few steps back or forward to get it just right.   

– Samantha Wennerstrom, @couldihavethat

Use VSCO to lay out images before posting. 

I look at a feed as a quilt and want everything to be cohesive and tell a story. I stick to similar color tones or palettes depending on where I’m traveling or what sort of content I’m sharing. It’s much easier to see it laid out ahead of time and to visualize what you what to post next.

– @juliahengel, gal meets glam

Be a natural. 

When it comes to posing for Instagram shots, move around, feel natural, and be candid.

– @aliciamlundcheetah is the new black

Know your aesthetic. 

When we have a beautiful object or moment we want to capture, we find ourselves always reaching for the same things to style a shot: A palm frond, small vessels, etc. It’s important to us to make the main item the center of focus, but well framed with items that represent domino, and what we like to have around. We always keep a certain degree of openness in our photos as well, we’re huge fans of the minimalist aesthetic, I think our audience can see that through our photos.

– Shani Silver, @dominomag

Stick to a signature color palette. 

Bright, airy, colorful, muted… whatever feels most comfortable to you, and try to limit your use of filters. Right now, I use 2-3 filters (depending on the photo) from the app, A Color Story.

– Jeanine Donofrio, @loveandlemons

Focus on composition and lighting. 

Nowadays, anyone has the ability to capture beautiful images regardless if they have an expensive camera or are a photographer because of the fantastic quality of smartphone cameras. I believe two things that set good photos apart are composition and lighting. When I’m out shooting and I find something I love, I try and shoot it at a variety of angles until one sticks and feels right. From there, I’ll figure out what sort of lighting looks best (if possible), shade, direct sunlight or a dynamic range (mix of shade and light).

– @juliahengelgal meets glam

Keep it fun. 

My one tip for creating a great Instagram feed is to have fun with it! Take lots of photos with beautiful, bright colors and subjects that interest you, and post away (but make sure not to over-post)!

– Deana Saukam, @faimfatale