Start Smashing Instagram: A Photographer’s Perspective

A common method for getting new followers on Instagram is following as many accounts as possible. Or, bots. But let’s be honest, any time I look at a profile and the follower to like per post ratio is way off, I’m instantly deterred. Ideally, you shouldn’t merely rely on following as many accounts as possible hoping for a couple to follow back.

So how do you gain real, genuine and engaged followers?

Let’s say I follow 50 accounts on Instagram.

  • 25 have a quick glance at my profile
  • 15 comment on that awesome dog photo I uploaded 3 months ago; but
  • Only 2 follow me back

The end goal here should not be to get more views on my Instagram profile. My goal is to get all 50 profiles to follow me and interact with my content. How good would that be!

So, the real question here is, how do we retain followers, and entice new followers to hit that “follow” button?

More times than not, the first 6 photos are the deciding factor between one new follower and just a passer-by.

Getting someone to visit your profile is the easy bit, keeping them there and converting their inquisition into commitment is slightly more challenging.


The rule of thirds is the most simple yet effective composition technique. Theoretically, when points of interest are placed at the intersections (like below) your image is more balanced and pleasing.

Screen Shot 2017-06-02 at 5.05.11 pm

Another important aesthetic element is negative space. Simply, it is the area that surrounds the main subject in your photo, drawing your viewers attention to the subject.

In the feed below, consistency is achieved through vibrant yet pastel prime colours, and negative space is used very effectively.

Screen Shot 2017-06-23 at 3.06.33 pm


Consistency is the golden rule. Find your ‘look’ and stick to it. Utilise VSCO, a fantastic (free) app based off classic film effects (this gives your images a vintage yet minimalistic feel).

The editing functions in Instagram itself, can be very powerful.

  • Brightness: ALWAYS opt for brighter photos, giving your feed that crisp white effect
  • Contrast: Boost your colours and darker textures
  • Fade: A little bit can go a long way, a softer look is usually favourable, especially with more minimalistic styles.
  • Saturation: DO NOT ABUSE SATURATION!!! A little bit gives your colours that little pop and vibrancy, too much and it looks like Willy Wonka has turned your feed into candy land.

Screen Shot 2017-06-23 at 3.06.11 pm


Let’s examine this feed. Why is it effective?


The first line of three use heaps of negative space, all above the image, and colour/temperature consistency.

Screen Shot 2017-06-23 at 3.05.48 pm

This is further shown in the bottom 3 through blues of a similar cool colour palate:

Screen Shot 2017-06-02 at 5.05.32 pm

Checklist before you post:

  • Is this consistent with my theme?
  • Will this create a pleasing pattern on my feed?
  • Will people genuinely love this post
  • Does this image conceptually fit with the theme of my profile?
  • Consistency is engaging
  • The colours of the latest post should co-ordinate with the first and third photo
  • If you have really detailed and intense first and third photos opt for more negative space/minimalistic
  • Keep posting until you have a consistent theme
  • Don’t be afraid to delete any uploads that don’t ‘work’ with your theme

This how-to is definitely not the be all and end all. The important thing is to keep learning and keep experimenting. Look back and analyse your past posts and respective engagement levels. What works for your followers? What do THEY want to see?

Megaphone Marketing offers tailored Instagram management, ensuring you gain the absolute most from your online profile. Start smashing your Instagram game TODAY!

Need more help? Give us an email if you have any questions about your Instagram content.

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