Building Your Business’ Instagram Aesthetic

Right now, one of the top Instagram trends is to have a visual aesthetic. This is when individual photos make a visually appealing group as viewed from the profile. Some brands, such as oVertone, do this by transitioning colors across the rainbow, while others (like Online Optimism) focus on one or two brand colors. A beautiful aesthetic helps a profile look more professional and intentional, and less like an afterthought. With more than 60% of users between the ages of 18 and 34 using Instagram multiple times a day, that professional profile will attract new customers and encourage current ones to stay engaged.

9 Images with green and white to create a cohesive square

Building an Aesthetic

The first step is to choose: how do you want your profile to look? Should it be bright colors contrasted on white? Perhaps muted tones to match the cool influencers of today, or even a focus on brand colors? Once you have established how you want your business’ Instagram aesthetic to appear, you can focus on finding and creating photos that communicate your message.

Choosing the Right Photos

Instagram is an inherently visual platform. Users can share an image without a caption, but cannot share a caption without an image. Choosing the right photos for your account is a vital step in the Instagram process.

An example of a stock photo from unsplash.com, in which someone holds a cup of coffee while flipping through a book.
Stock photo from unsplash.com.

Stock Photos

For free and natural-looking stock photos, use websites like Unsplash and Pexels. Searching the phrase “royalty-free stock photos” turns up even more sites to source from. Uploaded by real photographers, these photos can be edited and filtered to make a professional and cohesive account. If you are looking to diversify your imagery with diverse photos, check out our blog post on Using Inclusive Stock Photos.



Green letterboard reading "Celebrate every tiny victory."
Photo taken and edited by a hired photographer.

Hiring a Photographer

By hiring a photographer, business accounts can forget the stress of editing photos to match each other. Every photographer has their own style and an editing format that is their brand. When the photographer provides edited photos, they will already go together for a complementary aesthetic.





Young woman takes a photo of another woman drinking La Croix by a green wall.
Photo of a photo, both taken by the Online Optimism team.

Taking Your Own

For some businesses, taking and sharing photos in the moment is the best way to promote their products or services. However, an amateur photo does not have to look that way. Current iPhone models have cameras comparable to professional DSLRs, and with the proper lighting, your work can look great! Check out our blog on 10 Apps to Up Your Instagram Game to learn more about free apps for editing, filtering, and planning Instagram content.



Checking the Look

Once you have your photo edited, use a grid planning app like UNUM, Planoly, or A Color Story to see how it looks with the other photos you have shared. The best technique is to use the “9-square”: how do the top 9 photos appear together? This will help you determine if adjustments need to be made and can assist in aesthetic visualization.

An example of a coordinated Instagram profile image, bio, and highlights from Online Optimism's account.
Finalize the profile by coordinating Profile Image, bio, and highlights.

Finalizing the Page

The photos you upload are not the only thing contributing to the appearance of an Instagram account! Make sure that page highlight covers complement the account, the profile image is clear, and that the bio accurately describes the page.

Need help committing to a beautiful account? Contact our Social Media Team at Online Optimism today.