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Three Tips for Mastering Your Instagram Grid

February 13, 2017

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Hi I’m Morgan! I’m a photography educator and Raleigh, NC newborn photographer and family photographer.

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I have to be honest with you guys. I really wanted to title this post “Lemme See Ya Grid”, but the SEO gods kept me from it. Just know in your heart, though, what this post is really supposed to be titled. Ok, enough Nelly throwback business. Let’s get down to real business.

So those first six to nine squares. We hear so much about them, but who even pays attention to them? Why do they matter? 

It may sound ridiculous, but that little grid can be a potential client’s first impression of you. Let’s say a bride-to-be finds a photo of yours through a hashtag she searched on Instagram. She likes what she sees, so she clicks through to view the rest of your profile.

And what does she see? THE GRID. Based on the impression that that grid makes on her, she may very well decide to stay or go within a matter of seconds. Those nice little captions that you’ve worked so hard on may not even matter if that grid doesn’t draw her in.

So what do people see when they find your Instagram profile? Is it aesthetically pleasing? Is it an accurate representation of your brand and your work? Is it cohesive? Would YOU be impressed if you found your profile when searching for a photographer?

If you answered yes, then you go, girlfriend! If you answered no to one or more of the above questions, then let’s whip those nine squares into shape! Whadaya say?!

Three Tips to Make Your Instagram Grid Look Good

1. Find a visual tool to assist you in planning your posts. I use Planoly, but there are many options out there. Not only does planning your posts in advance help in staying organized, but these tools are invaluable in allowing you to see what your grid is going to look like. Look at the big picture when you’re planning things out, and move photos around depending on which order they look most visually appealing in.

2. Alternate between light and bright. If one picture is predominantly white or light or the background is mostly white or light, the next one should not be the same. The next photo should possess more color. You don’t want two super light images next to each other.

In the example below, squares 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 either have light backgrounds or possess enough white/light colors in the foreground to qualify as a “light” image. Squares 2, 4, 6 and 8 have little to no light/white, qualifying them as bright images.

3. Pay attention to negative space. In relation to alternating between light and bright, you also need to pay attention to the amount of negative space on your grid. If you post an image with a lot of negative space, it would be a good idea for the next image to be of something more close-up with very little negative space or of a photo that’s busier. 

In the example below, you can see that squares 4, 6 and 8 have a lot of negative space. Squares 1, 3 and 5 are busier, and squares 2, 7 and 9 fall somewhere in the middle. Having a healthy balance is what it’s all about.

As they say, rules are meant to be broken. So once you have a good handle on these things, you’ll definitely know when you can go against the grain and do your own thing. This just gives you a foundation to start from and something to refer to when you’re feeling confused.

I know this can be overwhelming, but don’t let it intimidate you. Jump in and start trying, and little by little, you’ll see improvement. 

Next week we’ll be talking all about engagement! If you’d love to have these tips delivered directly to your inbox, join the Morgan Lee Community Newsletter [here]!

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