5 Ways to Establish Your Instagram Identity

It's all about feed unity.

The Strength of a Consistent Feed

My mouse looks delicious.
Instagram was designed for snap shooting - you see something nice, take a photo of it, apply a filter and post. It's not a surprise that majority of the users' feeds are full of random photos. And there's a good chance you're one of them. What can you do to stand out from this frenzy?

A coherent feed makes it easy to discern you from the crowd. Ah, that's the guy who posts Australian wildlife.

Your followers will also know what type of content to expect from you. I'll add this guy to my macro photographers list. This lady will be in my sky lovers group.

There would be something to "follow". When you get folks hooked into a series of shots about the journey of a toy, they will look forward to your future posts. Will cute little Danbo get smashed by the car tomorrow?

Lastly, the grid view of your feed will look neat and elegant. :)

Things You Can Try

The stuff you post must tell a story, focus on a particular theme or have a common look-and-feel. You can consider the following:
  • Use a common frame. Frames act like visual chains that link photos in your feed. If you can consistently stick to a particular frame, your collection will look like an art gallery.
  • Stick to the same filter. A common filter will establish a consistent tone on your shots. EarlyBird is probably the most popularly used filter in Instagram. It works well on absolutely any photo. There are folks who stick to X-Pro II and Hefe. Advanced editing apps like Filterstorm even allow you to create your own filter template.
  • Tell a story. Post photos of toys and put in captions that give them life, you can earn a huge following. You can find one example below. It doesn't even have to be a toy. Tell the story of your cat's journey from kittenhood to Youtube-stardom. Narrate to us the daily activities of your cute hamster.
  • Take photos of a very specific subject only. I've seen an IGer who only took photos of umbrellas, and only umbrellas. I've also seen one going all-in on fire extinguishers. Many folks have done well zeroing in on classic subjects like flowers, trees and clouds.
  • Put a consistent caption. If you decide to go with quotes, then all your photos must have quotes. If you're into facts, keep putting facts in there. Don't skip a single photo. If you're just into one-liner titles, give them all titles.
Again, it all boils down to consistency. Stop the urge to post that Tweegram, or the screenshot of someone who gave you a dozen likes, or when your photo got to the popular page - you can always do these subtly through @mentions inside your captions.

Great Examples

I initially tried using the Sutro filter to get a common feel throughout my feed, but it was tough since the filter doesn't blend well on certain types of photos. Lately 2 things unify my feed: a consistent frame and a consistent caption. All my photos are in 6 x 4 format and will contain at least 1 fact. It hasn't gained me IG stardom though - still working on that (lol), but some folks did using their own styles:

Posting Style: Cute toys trying to outwit their "bully" master
50,000 followers and counting says it all. The sharp, detailed and well lit shots make his photos stand out from many of the toy photos you see on the pop page. The creativity of his captions will never fail to make you smile.

Posting Style: Embroidered artwork she herself made.
An IG superstar of extremely cute and original stuff. Her creations are showcased here.
Posting Style: Architecture, applied with blue tinted filter.
He goes for architecture shots, then applies a strong blue tint. His entire feed is one remarkable collage. This is one great example of how to apply a common filter on your feed.

Posting Style: Insect, nature macro
A master of macro, founder of #macro_creature_feature. His feed is a feast for the eyes, an art gallery of high-quality macro photos you will not see everyday. How often do you see a shot of flies making love?

Posting Style: Objects and scenes on EarlyBird.
Many folks attempt to use EarlyBird as a common filter, but few do it really well. She's someone who has mastered the art of EB.
Posting Style: Black and white, dark tinted photos.
Makoi is one of the few who make clever use of texture and composition to deliver powerful monochrome and low-key images.

Posting Style: Water and bokeh
Water suspended in time never fails to bring jaw-dropping reactions. She has mastered this craft. Her #waterphotographytips will help you get started with this amazing field of photography.
Posting Style: Photos embedded with captions.
His photos look like quote cards you would be willing to pay for in the book store. He integrates the wordings with the photos ever so subtly to produce well balanced photos.
Posting Style: His daily life (literally)
Yes, there's a huge room for manic randomness. A photo of his drive to work, a spilled coffee cup, his foot, a plane, a bird, a chicken - name it. While you may find his feed full of impulsive, seemingly pointless shots - they all tie up to tell one big story - his life. It's like watching a reality show, taken in snapshots. 80,000 people follow him.

What's your identity in Instagram?

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