How I Edit Pictures for Instagram + Maintain a Theme

In the wake of the algorithm change, everyone is feeling the pressure when it comes to Instagram. I think this pressure is what leads our feeds to go down the drain. We start working too hard to post more frequently rather than focusing on producing the best content. Ultimately, I base whether or not I want to follow someone on the quality of their feed. Instagram is my favorite social media simply because it is so visual. It’s nice to use it for the blog and to share when posts go live and giveaways and things, but I’ve been enjoying working on my personal account way more. I have maybe a fifth of our Instagram followers on that account, but it’s just a ton of fun getting to post what I want and not being worried about how many likes I get.

This time last year, I wrote a post all about a beginner’s guide to Instagram. I tweeted the other day whether anyone would be interested in me doing an updated version. I’ve really stepped up on the content side of the game rather than focusing on fleeting gimmicks to gain followers.. yes, I’m talking about hashtags. Ya girl doesn’t believe in follow/unfollow or bots, so don’t even get me started on that. BUT, I figured I would break down my Instagram content strategy from start to finish so that you can see that Instagram is simply a curated feed of those special (and not so special) moments of my life.

Inspiration and Framing Photos

Contrary to popular belief, how you take your photos and the actual content in the photo is 100x more important than the editing- although it’s my favorite and can make a picture go from eh to ah-mazing. I figure I would break this guide down into questions/concerns/struggles I had in each group and maybe that’ll help you come up with ways to develop your best content too.

How the heck do these people have so many types of photos?

Do you ever get to the point where you’re doing the same type of photo every single time you post on Instagram? Yeah, same. I think that’s a good thing to an extent. It’ll help you build a following because people who follow you clearly like the content your posting and so if you keep with that consistency, it’s gucci. BUT, my personal account is basically all shots from my photo shoots so I like to push my comfort zone with these posts and I’m always trying new angles and styles.

My best advice on coming up with new styling of photos: take more pictures. If you want more pictures of yourself, find your friend with the best Instagram photos and make them your new Instagram BFF. Get them to try different angles and distances until you can get the perfect ootd. Try new poses every once and awhile. I get a lot of inspiration from Pinterest and other bloggers on Instagram.

When it comes to lifestyle shots, just start snapping when you’re walking down the street and when you’re eating in a restaurant. When I started taking my camera and phone out more to take pictures, I just had more content to post. Also, really do your research: the rule of thirds really is your best friend. UTILIZE your grid on your phone and camera.

I don’t live an Instagram worthy life, my photos won’t look picture perfect.

Another myth, one that I believed for quite a while. Now, I may not travel to Punta Cana every spring break, but you can express your creativity and aesthetic without really breaking the bank. Kind of. I love coffee pictures. Granted, after a couple of those my wallet does hurt a little bit. But, there are probably so many hidden gems in your area that you can find if you try harder. And for my friends from rural areas, use your surroundings to your advantage. One thing you have that the gals in the big city don’t is a ton of free space with not a lot of people everywhere. Get out into nature and have some photoshoots. “Make the most of what you got” is my biggest tip.

I used to take my little hometown for granted but there are a lot of gems that I found when I tried a little harder. Also, food is super photogenic, so try that too!


For anything that’s not a sponsored post, I stick with editing using apps on my phone! NO ONE actually wants to run their Instagram photos through their blog photo work up. That’s just not fun and a little extra. I can make the most random photos Instagram worthy using the handy dandy VSCO app. VSCO is my favorite editing app because it gives you so much variety. While some people think the filters make your photos over edited, I completely disagree. If you know what you are doing, I think you can enhance your photos using their filters without over filtering them. I’m gonna show you what I mean.

What are your favorite filters on VSCO?

My favorite filters on VSCO are the aesthetic series (A4-A6, free) preset pack, the hype beast filters (HB1-HB2, free), and the bright & clean preset pack (S3-S6, $0.99). They have so many options that you can purchase, but I find that these work just fine and give a tone of different looks and vibes.

How would you describe your theme?

I am currently running two Instagram accounts, one for the blog and one for my new photography venture. The blog has had quite a few themes in the past two (?, I didn’t believe in themes until a year in, technically) years. Here are a few of my favorites:

Currently: Bright, Airy, & Clean

Summer 2017: V. Blue

Spring 2017: Warm & Welcoming

Fall/Winter 2016: Golden & Bright

Summer 2016: Sultry

I’ve basically done everything except for colorful!! There are some bloggers that do that so well. Check out @goodtomicha or @mollyonthemove for some suggestions! I can appreciate a bright theme, but it’s just not what fits into my personal aesthetic: I love neutrals.

As far as content is concerned, you can see that we pretty much fit the lifestyle blogger Instagram mash up. We have #ootds, coffee, food flat lays, and city scenes. I love mixing in a variety of pictures for this account and people really seem to love it! For my photography page, I’ve started primarily posting pictures from my photo shoots. This is one of the two ways that I’ve gotten new clients, so it’s really important to me that I really use it as a space to showcase my work. It’s also allowed me to keep a lot of my other content for the blog, so I don’t feel so pressured to take photos at all points in my life.

I searched through my photos app and selected a few random photos and then put them all together to show you that a common editing scheme and a variety of pictures is all you need for your perfect Instagram feed! OH, and UNUM, my favorite feed planning app!

















  • Such a helpful post! I really want to get better about getting a better variety of content for IG and finally figuring out which VSCO filters work for me.

  • I recently created an Instagram for my blog @goldclutter. I’ve loved creating content for it. It has allowed me to be challenged creatively by creating new poses and trying different editing styles. I’m working on finding a theme I’m happy with. I have the app UNUM. It’s super helpful for planning out my Instagram. I want to go out and spend a day taking pictures for Instagram and blog once a month. That way, I won’t be in a scramble to find something to post.