A lot of people came to visit when I shared why most of us are not exactly the best at Instagram due to lack of hustle and effort. When someone takes the time to comment or like a few photos I will usually take the few seconds to go see their profile and immediately judge it. We all do it. Sometimes it is a good impression, but often since the majority of us don't plan the posts much, it is not. There are people out there doing it much better than us though. Let me show you some profiles that have a stunning first impression.
First impressions for Instagram can be tricky. If you are like me and you just went on a trip, all your recent photos are from the vacation. In my opinion there is nothing wrong with this. At the same time it is not going to help you establish yourself as a must follow user if that is what you are looking for. Besides good photos, having a unique feed can help you stand out and entice people to click that follow button so they can see what you post next. Things like consistent photo style, a strict color palette, or heavy use of white negative space have stuck out to me as the most successful profile types. Instagram has a very white user interface and tends to compliment lighter photos. This applies to colors too. I found a number of light pastel pink and blue based feeds with great looking profiles and large followings and interactions. It helps to pay attention to where your post will sit adjacently to the other posts. Too many of the same look might take away from the overall aesthetics of your profile.
Users that maintain the discipline to post only black and white also stand out from the crowd. Some people start alternate accounts for only monochrome work. Probably like you, the extra management with no initial followers prevents me from trying. If you have a big enough following it is much easier to just give a shout out to the new account and gain some immediate followers.
Utilize the Three Columns
One of the profiles I came across was from an artist, Lex in NYC, with the handle @ch3m1st who was doing something very simple but effective. His posts follow a one, two, three, one, two, three, pattern. In his case it cycles through a color photo of New York City, a dark photo on black of often abstract digital art, and a color photo of New York City. This consistent and clean pattern creates columns of each style and never line breaks like the grid posting tools will. Every time a new photo is posted the column simply shifts to the right.
This would be very easy for anyone to pull off and could even be expanded upon by making one of the columns cycle through it's own pattern. You could also take the column idea and apply it to rows. Three at a time of the same color scheme, location, or even zoom factors of the same image look very cool when done right. I wouldn't recommend doing too many at a time or breaking up images across multiple posts simply because they often don't stand well on their own and it floods your followers with lower quality single posts.
Random But Not
The next profile that caught my eye was from @dimikangaroo aka Dmitry Morugov from Moscow, Russia. Their feed is a bit different and random but most of the shots share an otherworldly quality. The photos often use a stark eye catching color palette, and an impressive sense of scale. Also impressive here is the iPhone only aspect.
Go Full Frame
Dirk Bakker from Amsterdam, Netherlands goes by @macenzo and is a boss at filling the frame with stunning architecture and patterns that seem almost meant for each little Instagram box. His shots are all a treat to the eye and really show off some great skills of the craft.
Be Different and Unique
Speaking of being different, I was blown away by the creations found on Stephen McMennamy's feed @smcmennamy that reads in the bio, "I like to combine stuff." He is not kidding. The coolest part is how minimally they are constructed with just a hard edge from a similar but not exactly the same colored photo. Stephen's feed is a classic example of a unique look that most people will find interesting enough to instantly follow.
My favorite profile that I was able to find was by Weijiang, going by @orhganic. Their profile contains amazingly complex yet minimal shots that occasionally combine in the profile grid.
Weijiang has actually put together the Millennium Falcon with nine separate individual posts that fit together like a puzzle. On another occasion he did a Poké Ball, and the Death Star.
And this 12 tile masterpiece:
Don't worry if you think you can't start doing this and have to start a new account. You are only six to nine posts away from a whole new look! If you want to try any of the advanced puzzle tricks be sure to break out Adobe Photoshop and make some square grid templates. Consider starting an alternate account if you want to give this a go but don't want to give up posting those vacation photos. Better to act now before all the names are gone.
Do you know of any cool Instagrammers doing unique work? Share some links in the comments. I would love to see who else is out there.