How to Create An Instagram Theme (And Why You Should)

One of the best (and fastest) ways to gain followers on Instagram is to establish an aesthetic or theme. Before you tell me that I'm crazy or that you already KNOW, wait. I pinky swear, this post will attempt to show you that the idea of a theme might be different from what you typically hear. I am by no means going to tell you that every picture needs to look the same. Personally, I can't do it. What I mean by this is a cohesive look that will help attract new followers, up your engagement, and will help you to create a more recognizable brand. So, all the good stuff you want for your Instagram.

Instagram has completely transformed my blog. Out of all my social media accounts, combined, my Instagram (@heleneinbetween) has the largest following, interaction, and engagement. I tell you this because at first, I didn't think Instagram would help me…. at all. I thought it was more of a visual app (it is) that would never translate to anyone reading my blog. But I was wrong and very happy that it's become one of my biggest drivers of traffic (not to mention one of the best ways to make money.)

When I took deliberate steps to make Instagram work for me, my blog grew and even more, my income grew. Part of that is creating a theme or aesthetic for your Instagram. What this really means is that your photos flow together. When someone looks at your profile on Instagram they don't look at just one image, but at what you post. Truthfully, they look at the top nine images (that's what's visible on Instagram when someone clicks on your profile) and if they like what they see or it resonates with them, they follow you.


A lot of people think that having a theme means every picture needs to look the same. NO WAY! Instead, it's more about focusing on an overall story. Instagram, after all, should be an extension of you- your passions and purposes. For me, that can change, morph, and adapt, and my Instagram changes with me.

How to Create an Instagram Theme:

The Look

Lots of people will tell you that in order to have a consistent look, you need to have all pictures look the same. Now, if this is something you WANT to do, by all means, go on with your bad self. For example, the account @alishylishy focuses on fun colors:

As you can tell from her gorgeous colorful feed, she focuses on a lot of blank space, splashes of color, and high pigments. If you keep scrolling, you'll notice she keeps it consistent. All of her feed is bright and bold.

On the other hand, there is @oh.sopretty, here she doesn't stick to a color. Instead, she focuses on white and having lots of space between objects. Her bright and light feed is so soothing to me!

The idea here is to be consistent wit your hues. Lots of their photos are shot from above, and the background colors are generally the same – even if the color changes.

Whether you want to focus on color or blank space, this is a great way to really draw the eye. I will be perfectly honest with you. When I first started to grow my Instagram, I thought this was the ONLY way to grow. I focused with trying to keep white in every. single. image. And while I adore the look of that, it's just not something that I wanted to focus on. So I decided to explore other ways to grow your Instagram. And I've outlined those below.

The Angle

You don't just have to stop with color, you can shoot whatever you like, and choose a consistent angle. Some popular ones are: from above, from the side, looking up, or holding your camera a specific way. The account @onmybed masters the view from above shots.

Similarly, a lifestyle blogger, @thelifeinbetween shoots most of her images from above, while keeping a bright and airy feed.

The Story

I swoon over @laurenswells lovely feed. She is a traveler and lifestyle blogger and you follow her journey via her Instagram. With every image, she tells you where she is and you feel like you are there with her.

One of my favorite storytellers is @thedailytay. She doesn't just post a picture, she uses her captions to tell a story and make you feel part of her daily life. She shares her dog, her t-shirt business, and she does it all hilariously.

To me, this is one of the best ways to grow your Instagram. It's simply creating authentic and engaging content that people come to truly care about. When the audience feels part of your story on Instagram, you grow.

When the audience feels part of your story on Instagram, you grow. Click To Tweet

The Location

Another great way to create a frenzy around your Instagram is to develop a location specific theme. When you do this, you're really easy to be found, and you give people an immediate reason to follow you, since you're focusing in on things to see and do in that area.

Sarah is KILLING it with @dallaslovelist. This account was started less than a year ago and already boasts almost 12,000 followers. She take beautiful pictures that lead people all throughout Dallas.

An account that's been around the block is @prettycitylondon. This account focuses on the loveliness in London, often featuring others that take pictures of the city.

The Subject

Similar to choosing a location, you can also choose one subject. For example, the account @coffeenclothes focuses on just what it says: coffee and clothes. They don't stray from posting pictures of anything else and this creates a recognizable brand. When you create this recognition people want to follow you and feel inspired by you.

Alternatively, with accounts like @travelgirlsgo, they focus on images of women traveling. You can see easily that they post images of wemn in the center of the image, usually facing away. This now becomes the theme of their Instagram.

The Edit

One way to really to make a beautiful aesthetic for your Instagram is to edit your photos the same way. This is not the same as using color, instead you take different images and try to edit them in a similar way each time. The account @happilygrey expertly executes this with her feed. She's a fashion blogger, so she's always wearing different stuff in new locations, but her feed still flows.

Following her hippie lifestyle, @stuffhannahdoes always seems to have a dreamy effect to the images she shares on her Instagram feed.

I believe these six ways to create an Instagram theme are the some of the best ways to grow, create an aesthetic, and make your Instagram a place that others actively seek out.

So, you might be wondering, what do I choose? I like to think I'm a combination of both the story and the edit. I edit all my photos in the exact same way. I get lots of questions on what I use, I like this camera, this lens and edit everything in Lightroom. You can check out my Lightroom presets right here! (I swear by them.) I wrote a whole post on choosing my camera here. I also use Photoshop for cropping and adding text on the blog. Apps for the phone I love are A Color Story and VscoCam.

Want to see even more Instagram theme ideas and how you can recreate them? Check out this post! I hope you'll follow along with my if you aren't already, @heleneinbetween.

You can check out all most Instagram tips here. Here are some more helpful articles on Instagram:

30 Instagram Story Ideas

The Best Time To Post on Instagram

How to Create Covers for Instagram Stories Highlights

How to Beat the Instagram Algorithm and Gain More Engagement Than Ever

Here's my free guide on how I TRIPLED my Instagram following! This follows the exact methods I use to really gain and establish my following on Instagram.

Learn how I tripled my Instagram Following with a FREE ebook:

Screen shot 2017 05 16 at 11.28.59 am

The exact steps I used to bolster my Instagram and go from 0 to 130,000 ENGAGED Instagram followers.

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Learn how I tripled my Instagram Following with a FREE ebook:

Screen shot 2017 05 16 at 11.28.59 am

The exact steps I used to bolster my Instagram and go from 0 to 130,000 ENGAGED Instagram followers.

Powered by ConvertKit

[…] the age of aesthetics. People are way more inclined to follow you if you keep a consistent visual theme. That can be anything from using the same filter on every picture, taking each picture with the […]

Always so thankful I stumbled upon your Instagram!

Great tips! I’ve been working on creating an Instagram theme and this definitely helped! The examples were great as well, and I ended up following most of the people lol

Great post! I’m interested in your thoughts on how you transition your aesthetic if you’ve been doing something (or nothing consistent!) for a while and want to create a style?

I really enjoyed this post! I had no idea there could be so much going into posting on Instagram. I’ve started applying what you share here but it may take some time to get the hang of it! Thank you so much for sharing this and everything about Instagram! I’ve really took it to heart lately!


[…] I read this post from Helene in Between about Instagram themes and she mentioned a “Story” theme where you don’t fret […]

Thanks for the tips! I have thought to create a theme for my Instagram feed but never really did it. I will try it for real this time


Thanks for the tips. I am really struggling with this and after a brand told me to “get an aesthetic” 2 days ago, I’ve been trying to fix my Instagram. I am however clueless. Can anyone give me ideas? I was leaning towards story because I like deacriptive posts. My account is http://www.Instagram.com/gretalamfel

Soooo much inspo in this post!!! thank you Helene for all the wonderful accounts to gleam inspiration from!

[…] a tab with this.I really want to learn how to do […]

[…] info from Helene In Between on different ways you can “style” your Insta feed to gain followers. She breaks down several people’s feeds into topics and tells you why they’re successful. […]

[…] I read this post from Helene in Between about Instagram themes and she mentioned a “Story” theme where you don’t fret […]

I sooo needed this. I suck at insta so bad. I’m going to start today, making sure my theme is cohesive.

[…] 19. I’ve been trying to up my Instagram game lately and found How to Create An Instagram Theme (And Why You Should) and 10 Tips to KILL IT on Instagram very […]

Loveee this post. I’ve been trying to figure out a theme that works best for me for ages. And i’m finally getting around to watching your Instagram for Success courses. It’s been so helpful! Love your feed, it serves as such an inspiration for me!

Wow, this is a really good post. I never considered that instagram could help me grow my blog. I am a new blogger. Thank you for sharing and inspiring me. https://wordpress.com/stats/day/whimsicalwolfblog.com

I am LOVING your feed lately, girl!!!!

I honestly didn’t think I was gonna read this whole post but I actually really liked what you wrote. And the examples you used were great. Having an instagram theme looks like so much work lol, I don’t know if I’m ready to take it on.

Love this, Helene! I really enjoy your IG feed, everything is always on point.
I do have to say though — the one thing about Instagram that has really annoyed me lately is the competition. It’s gotten so out of hand. Even people who aren’t bloggers or business won’t follow you unless you follow them back. It’s all about numbers — I’m sorry but a darn number doesn’t define me and my work. I really wish people would look past the numbers, the perfection and the competition.
As always, you have the best tips, Helene!
xo, Lily
Beauty With Lily

Great post! Everyone says to have a theme on Instagram but you are the first person to break down how having a theme doesn’t mean it has to be the same colors. The differences you described was definitely more of a realistic approach. I tend to edit pictures the same way on my phone (lover of vivid colors), I just need to tell more of a story. Thank you!

Great post! As a photographer I have got the editing down, but I struggle more with keeping a consistent story. I feel like I go through phases of having lots of portrait content to share or lots of personal content to share, and I wish I could be better at keeping it all more consistent throughout! I love keeping up with your travels and stories on your feed.

Thank you for all of this great insight. I learned about your blog in January and I have to say it inspired me to start my own. I have a little dog daycare business … for toy breeds. I’ve been in business for ten years and I’m currently building my new site/blog! I just stared my Instagram (took so long to jump on this band wagon, but I’m loving it). All this info really helps. Thank you! 🙂 Sasha http://www.thelittledogretreatstore.com
P.S. I just loved in with Fb to make a comment (DISQUS tool) awesome!

Ive noticed that most of your examples are of bloggers & I think that having a flow with your photos is easier than someone like myself that has an ecommerce store with lots of different products.

mine is the edit & (hopefully) the story! thanks for writing this post! ………….

& for creating instagram for success. GAME CHANGER.

Thanks for this! I’m really trying to get my atheistic down.. I can’t make my mind up on an editing style! So hard lol
The Fernweh Wolf / Travel & Lifestyle Blog

These are great Helene, thank you so much. I don’t have the discipline to stick with one color or one theme, but I do try to keep the flow similar and the story definitely appeals to me. I also currently have a mindful habit of posting one photo, one quote, one photo, one quote. It helps but I wonder if it’s really necessary, would love to know what you think. http://instagram.com/busyzenlife

Also downloaded your free ebook. 🙂

These are great ideas! I definitely try to focus on my overall look (bright colors and mostly landscape scenes). It really does help engagement because people can easily recognize my account!

Thank you for sharing this. I love your feed and how you tell a story. Most of my photos use the same filter for each section. Workouts/exercise I use Willow to focus on the act, not what I’m wearing. The rest is a work in progress.

I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me a location could be a theme! I feel way more like I have my ish together now! Thanks for featuring DLL!!!

I love this! I don’t feel like I have a theme yet, but “sorta”. I think mine is similar to Taylor, where I try to tell stories in my captains so I feel more engaged with the people in my audience. I’d like to work more on editing my photos and maybe a few less “mirror” selfies – I have a boyfriend now, so he can take the damn pics for me, right?! 😉

this post is very pretty, just like your very pretty feed 🙂

Mine is the Look, the Story, and the Subject with pink, engaging captions, and flowers.

Nice! I love that combo 🙂

I think what I struggle with the most is wanting to share things that don’t necessarily fit in with the feel of recent photos. I’ll do really well at keeping with a theme for a while, but then I will take a photo that I love and just have to share but it doesn’t match and I ruin the feed, ha ha. Thanks so much for the tips and examples!

Sometimes I think you can make it work if you spin it well too. I see that on popular accounts here and there, where they will post a one-off and then they go out of their way to mention it, along the lines of “I know this isn’t my normal shot but I really wanted to share this behind-the-scenes etc etc etc”

I think the edit will really really help with that!

The Freckled Fox seems to always edit her photos the same with a kind of light, matte feel, and I think it’s so pretty to look at. Your feed is super colorful and fun. You do a great job with it 🙂

Yes I can totally see what you mean, she has a great feed! and thanks girl!

This was helpful. I really struggle to use the same filter or preset on all my photos, because each photo looks its best with a different one. I guess I need to start looking at the bigger picture of my instagram and know that “best” is fairly subjective anyway when it comes to art 😀

To me it’s not about filtering, it’s really about editing, if that makes sense!! yes, looking at the bigger picture is definitely key!

I looove your feed Helene! I think you are great at telling your story through your Instagram, too. Thank you for this article, maybe I will focus on Instagram these upcoming months!


Oh you are so kind! thank you for saying that Krista!

Love this post. I’ve been struggling with an overall theme, but you’ve shared some great tips here! Can’t wait to check out some new accounts too!
xo, Pri

Awesome!! so glad to hear that and hope this was helpful!

great ideas and love finding other instagram accounts to follow too! thanks helene!

Yes!! I always feel so inspired when I find a new cool feed!

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