How to create content for Instagram

Creating content is one of the hardest aspects of Instagram marketing, but it is the most important. Without content, you can’t do anything on Instagram… obviously.

This is chapter two of a seven-part series on how to dominate your Instagram marketing.

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How to take better phone photos

One common misconception is that you need a big fancy camera in order to be successful with Instagram marketing. That’s simply not true. Today’s smartphones have amazing cameras and if you follow a few guidelines and best practices then your phone will be just fine to market your business. That being said, if you already have a DSLR or other high-quality camera and you know how to use it, you should totally use it.


Light is your friend. While the phone cameras are very good, they really only excel when lighting conditions are ideal. So make sure you take photos during the day outside, or if the photos need to be inside, then using a strong window light can help out a lot!


There are many different compositional rules. While they are called rules, I more think of them as guidelines, because you can deviate from them – as long as you do so purposely. As they say, you have to know the rules to break them!

Rule of ThirdsHow to create content for Instagram

The rule of thirds is one of the most important compositional rules – and one to always fall back on, as you can most reliably create eye-catching images by following this rule. You can also layer on some of the other rules below while still adhering to the rule of thirds.

All you need to do with this rule is to imagine a 3×3 grid over your photo. You will want to have the main subject of your image fall on one of the intersections between the horizontal and vertical lines.

If you have a strong horizon line, it is best to line this up with either the top or bottom horizontal lines rather than cutting through the middle of the image.

Leading LinesHow to create content for Instagram

If your image has strong visual lines, the lines can be used to pull the viewer’s eyes throughout the image. The line doesn’t have to be a physical line; it can be implied using positive and negative space or other compositional elements.

Symmetry and PatternsHow to create content for Instagram

If you were to cut your image in half, (top to bottom or through the middle) and both sides are nearly identical — then you have a symmetrical image. Patterns are achieved when the same or similar shapes or textures are repeated throughout the image.

SimplificationHow to create content for Instagram

These are minimalistic images, where you strip out everything in the composition other than the main subject. Through this isolation, you can really draw attention to your main subject. The background or negative space doesn’t have to be black or white, but it should be simple, void of any distracting elements.

FramingHow to create content for Instagram

Framing is when you use some object to frame your subject. The object can be in the foreground or the background and is used to bring attention to your main subject.

Should I edit my photos? #nofilter

This is a very good question and ultimately comes down to your brand and how you want to portray yourself. That being said, I always suggest editing your images. The real trick is to not over-edit them. Editing should only be used to enhance the image and bring out your subject – it should never overtake your subject in importance so much so that people cannot see past the editing that you have done.

The best practice is to use a light touch. Never max out the sliders at 100.

How to easily design social images

Not all of your Instagram content needs to be comprised of photographs. You can also create entirely text posts. If you know how to use design software then you can create in there, but for the majority of people, there are simpler alternatives.

Canva Design Software

Canva is free online design software that is super easy to use. You can quickly create images to use on Instagram and social media in general.

A tip when designing is to stay consistent in your font and color choices. You want all the designs that you create to be cohesive and brandable.

What is the best image size to use for Instagram?

You are no longer limited to just square images anymore on Instagram. You can now create landscape and portrait orientated images too!

Here are the best image sizes and aspect ratios for each of the different orientations:

  • Landscape –1.91:1 aspect ratio. Image size – 1080 x 566px
  • Portrait — 3:4 aspect ratio. Image size – 1080 x 1350px
  • Square — 1:1 aspect ratio. Image size – 1080 x 1080px

Video content

Video content is continuing to grow in popularity on social media.

While you can post landscape videos, according to a study by buffer and Animoto, square video outperforms traditional landscape video across the board. You can still use your landscape videos, but either crop them to be square or letterbox them in by putting black bars on top and below making it into a square.

Feed curation

You want your feed to be consistent. Whenever someone visits your profile and scrolls through your feed it should be visually appealing. There are many different creative things that you can do to curate your feed. You can do a checkerboard, triptych, three columns, 3×3 and 3×2 blocks, or color themes.

No matter what method you choose, keep it consistent to create a beautiful feed.

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