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Design, Instagram

How to Visually Plan Your Instagram Feed

If you’re looking to convert your viewers into followers, putting time aside to plan your Instagram feed in advance is a worthwhile investment.

Some of the most-followed brands on Instagram have curated aesthetics that show off their unique style — and that isn’t by accident.

But with new photo editing trends and different types of media living on your feed, there’s a lot that goes into visually planning your profile in 2020.

That’s why we’re sharing our favorite tips and tricks to plan your Instagram feed to help you leave a lasting first impression:

How To Visually Plan Your Instagram Feed

Your Instagram feed is one of the first things a visitor sees when they land on your profile. If you want to stop them in their tracks, you need to think about more than just your individual Instagram posts — you need to consider how each post looks in the grid as well.

By taking the time to plan your Instagram feed in advance, you can create cohesive, on-brand content that aligns with your business as a whole and turns clicks into customers!

Here’s how you can visually plan your Instagram feed and create your own, cohesive aesthetic:  

  1. Choose the Aesthetic of Your Instagram Profile
  2. Find Content for Your Instagram Feed Aesthetic
  3. Use Filters to Keep Your Instagram Feed Consistent
  4. Plan Your Instagram Feed in Advance

Choose the Aesthetic of Your Instagram Profile

The first thing you’ll want to do is decide on the Instagram aesthetic of your profile, and a great way to do this is just by looking at other accounts for inspiration.

What do some of your favorite feeds look like? Are they bright and airy? Dark and moody? Do they follow some sort of pattern in their composition?

Taking the time to think about these things while you’re browsing your favorite profiles will help you decide what “aesthetic” will best represent you and your brand.

If you’re a business, you can also find inspiration for your Instagram aesthetic from your branding.

Take Ritual, for example. If you’ve encountered the brand before, you’ll quickly recognize the bold blues and bright yellows that covers their feed:

Your brand colors, fonts, and textures can all help to shape a unique and captivating aesthetic on Instagram.

Another way to help you determine what look you’d like to create on your feed is by creating a brand mood board.

There are a ton of different programs and apps, like Pinterest, that you can use to create a mood board. Creating a mood board is a really great way to help you get your creativity flowing and guide you in deciding what you want your feed to look like.

When you’re creating your mood board, make sure to include a mix of colors, textures, patterns, and quotes to help you better visualize what your Instagram feed will look like.

This is great for helping to set the direction of your feed, and can act as a pulse check further down the line as you post new content.

Looking for more inspiration for your feed? Check out our free Instagram aesthetic video guide to learn how to design, curate, and plan your feed and stories to attract new followers:

Once you have a clear picture of what you’d like your feed and photos to look like, it becomes so much easier to curate and plan your Instagram content for your feed!

No matter what your inspiration, you can start to design, plan, and schedule your own, unique feed for your followers.


Find Content for Your Instagram Feed Aesthetic

Before you decide on your Instagram aesthetic, it’s a good idea to consider how easily you can gather the content that will make up your feed.

For example, you might want to have a dark and moody feed, but if you live somewhere that’s sunny and tropical, that could be difficult to achieve.

However, there are ways to curate an amazing Instagram feed without having to take every piece of content yourself.

Supplementing your feed with user-generated content (UGC) and stock photos can be a great way to build on your aesthetic, while also strengthening the sense of community around your business.

Alternatively, you can always use stock images or videos that align with your new aesthetic.

How to Find Great User-generated Content and Stock Photos with Later

If you’re on the lookout for new content for your feed, Later’s UGC tools are a great place to start.

You can review all of the posts you’ve been tagged or mentioned in, search for posts that include a certain hashtag, or add any cool posts you find just by copying and pasting a post’s URL.

And with Later’s new Stock Photos feature, you can search, find, and schedule photos from Unsplash straight from Later!

Simply click the “Collect Media” tab and select “Stock Photos” to browse thousands of Unsplash photos to add to your social media schedule.

Improve your content workflow with Later’s user-generated content tools — source, schedule and repost UGC to your feed in minutes! Upgrade to Later’s paid Business plans to get access now!


Use Similar Filters to Keep Your Instagram Feed Consistent

One of the easiest ways to create a cohesive Instagram aesthetic is during the photo and video editing process. Choosing the same filter, set of filters, or editing “rules”, will help you keep your photos looking consistent.

And while there are tons of different apps out there for touching up and editing your photos, two of our favorites for easy, on-the-go edits are VSCO app and Adobe Lightroom.

Editing your Instagram Photos with VSCO App

If you’re looking to level-up your Instagram photos, often with just one or two taps, you might want to check out the VSCO app.

It has lots of free filters to choose from and even curated preset packs of complementary filters making it a cinch to edit your photos and create a beautiful Instagram feed.

VSCO Preset Edits

If you find you’re consistently applying the same adjustments to your Instagram images, you can even save editing “recipes” to quickly recreate your favorite look over and over again. It’s a personal and unique filter that you can create just for your content.

How to Create Your Own Instagram Filters in the VSCO App:

Creating your own VSCO Instagram filters is easy!

First, create your Instagram filter by making edits to your photo in the VSCO editor. Try playing with the brightness, temperature, grain, contrast and any other adjustments to find your perfect “recipe”.

Once you’re happy with your photo, tap on the recipe button and select + to save your current edits:

Once you’ve created your Instagram filter, you can find it anytime on the recipe dock:

Editing your Instagram Photos with Lightroom:

If you’re looking to give your photos a more professional look, Lightroom is by far one of the most powerful photo editing tools out there, especially because you can use ready-made Lightroom presets!

Lightroom presets are one-click photo editing tools that can dramatically speed up your workflow and give your Instagram photos a professional look.

While mastering Adobe Lightroom on desktop takes time and practice, using Lightroom presets on the mobile app is a quick and easy way to take your Instagram photos to the next level.

Since many presets are offered in “packs” or collections, you can choose from a selection of filters for each of your photos while still maintaining a cohesive look on your Instagram feed.

Another great way to give your photos a more cohesive look is by making adjustments to the temperature, brightness, or contrast to keep things consistent.

Check out our guide on how to edit your photos with Lightroom presets (on mobile and on desktop!) for more info on how to create your own aesthetic on Instagram.

TIP: Try to find a “set” of filters or presets that all have the same look or feel to help you maintain that consistent aesthetic, no matter what type of content you’re posting.

Editing your Instagram Videos:

More than ever, you’ll want to consider how you edit your Instagram videos.

Video is everywhere on Instagram — whether you’re watching videos on stories, tuning in to an Instagram Live, or scrolling through videos on your feed (including IGTV).

There’s really no limit to what you can do with Instagram video posts, which is why they’re growing in popularity and it’s more important than ever that they match your overall aesthetic!

The good news is that videos are just as easy to edit as photos when it comes to matching your Instagram aesthetic. From VSCO filters, iMovie color correction and Adobe Premier’s “video presets” called LUTs, there are tons of ways to scale up your video content.

Need more tips? Check out this post to learn how to edit Instagram videos to match your brand aesthetic.

Plan Your Instagram Feed

Having a clear Instagram aesthetic is the first step in creating a strong Instagram feed — but it doesn’t end there.

Taking time to think about how your posts will look next to each other on the feed is just as important.

No matter what editing style you choose, you’re going to want to think about how your Instagram photos look side-by-side. It’s important to create balance on your feed, and make sure it’s not too busy or cluttered.

Basically, you want to make sure it’s easy for new eyes to move throughout your feed without interruption.

The goal here is to create a depth of field, similar to what you learn if you’ve ever taken a  photography class. A great way to do this is by placing more busy photos next to clean or minimal photos to break things up a bit.

If you’re a business selling products on your Instagram feed, you can do this by mixing up your product shots with some user-generated content post, lifestyle photos, or any other different types of content you plan to publish.

Don’t forget to think about where your Instagram shopping posts will live on your feed too. Create a balance between lifestyle and product shots to break things up and add variety.

Set Aside Time to Plan Your Instagram Feed

Planning out your content in advance is really what’s going to make or break your Instagram aesthetic.

You don’t just want to focus on how you’re editing your photos, but also how they look like next to each other, and what’s going to sit beside, below, or on top of your new posts!

The best way to plan your Instagram feed and make sure everything’s flowing together is by using a visual Instagram planner like Later.

Later’s visual Instagram planner shows you exactly what your Instagram feed will look like with your future posts in it — and it’s a game-changer when it comes to nailing your aesthetic!

The visual planner lets you easily rearrange or swap out photos to find that perfect balance for your Instagram feed.

Plus, you can now use Later’s visual planner straight from your mobile! All you need is to open the Later app, select Preview, and Add Media:

Once you’ve added your posts, you can quickly drag and drop them to a new time slot until you’ve found the best composition for your feed.

Scheduling out your posts ahead of time doesn’t just help you maintain a consistent aesthetic, but it also helps you to post regularly, which is also really important when you’re trying to get more followers.

Plus, you can schedule your video content alongside your photos so you’ll never miss a chance to show off your aesthetic to your followers!

How to Schedule Video Posts with Later:

Just like regular Instagram posts, you can also schedule Instagram videos that will automatically publish using Later on the web. Just upload your video, select a date and time, and your video will be published to Instagram at the scheduled time!

And to help you keep your Instagram aesthetic on point, you can also choose a thumbnail — a still from your video that will appear in your Instagram grid — for your scheduled video ahead of time too.

Here’s how to schedule videos on Instagram:

Drag and drop your video from your media library into your calendar.

Add your caption and adjust the time and date of your video to when you would like to publish. To select your thumbnail image, click the Thumbnail Cover button below your video and select a still from your video.

Finally, make sure Auto Publish is selected from the drop-down menu, click Save, and that’s it!

Instagram video scheduling is available now on all of Later’s paid plans.Upgrade now to get access!

New visitors to your profile are much more likely to convert into followers when they know exactly what they can expect from your feed.

And now that you’ve learned exactly how to create and curate an Instagram aesthetic for your brand, you’re ready to design, execute, and show off your very own beautifully-crafted Instagram feed!

Ready to create your own Instagram aesthetic? Design, curate, and plan your feed with Later!


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Written By

Jillian Warren

Jillian is a content marketer at Later based in the UK. She is an aficionado of London brunch spots and an avid listener of true crime podcasts. You can connect with her on Instagram @jillwrren.

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