Want to learn how to create custom Instagram photos better than Michael Jordan plays basketball?
Well, then you have come to the right place. Let’s dive in.
In fact, there are currently 8 million registered businesses using Instagram business profiles, and 1 million monthly active advertisers.
But if you’re not in the fashion or food biz, coming up with consistent, quality content can be daunting.
What do you do if your photo reel is a bit lackluster?
You make your own.
Custom Instagram photos add much-needed variety to Instagram feeds, and give brands more to work with when it comes to content strategy.
Why Create Custom Instagram Photos?
Top Instagram photos have one thing in common: quality.
But the quality doesn’t necessarily have to come from the photo itself; sometimes, it’s the information in the photo that gives it value.
When done correctly, a custom Instagram post can play a huge role in content strategy.
Let’s say you’re trying to encourage audience engagement. A custom post with a question can do just that.
Or, maybe you want to send them to your website. A call-to-action (CTA) in the actual photo, not just the caption, will have a higher impact.
Fitbit does this exceptionally well. Their feed is a mix of real life photos, workout how-to’s and posts designed to engage.
Remember, one of the most important rules of social media is to include value in every post.
It may require a little customization to get there.
When You Should Customize Your Instagram Photos
There are a few kinds of posts that benefit most from custom design.
The most popular are:
1. Motivational quotes
These tend to be very popular on the platform and drive a huge amount of engagement from followers. They can be pasted over a blank canvas or used a text overlay on an existing image.
The great thing about motivational quotes is that any brand can use them to spur a little action and excitement from their followers.
2. Contests or Promotions
When marketed correctly, free items, discounts, or major winnings is a pretty infallible way to generate interest in your brand.
Include Instagram in that marketing and make sure the colors you choose are on brand.
Brands like Ulta use giveaways to encourage users to click through to their website. Asking for a like, follow or click-through as rules for entering is a great way to build leads.
3. Information or Advice
This is especially handy if your business doesn’t produce something tangible. Rather than try to produce an image, give your audience some advice instead.
CrazyCoolBranding’s account is made up of solely information posts, and its 62.2 thousand followers certainly don’t seem to mind.
4. Funny Quotes
Once you’ve built a following, it’s ok to have a little fun. Given the demographic on Instagram (and the popularity of memes, gifs, etc.), posting an occasional image just for the entertainment value will drive high engagement.
Take this one from Poshmark. It has nothing to do with their business – clothes – but is still likely highly relatable for a large portion of their following.
Also, don’t forget about optimizing all your photos for Instagram search. That is a great way to get traffic.
How to Make Custom Instagram Photos
Don’t worry; there’s no need to involve crazy expensive designers in the process.
In fact, creating custom photos is relatively easy, and there are plenty of tools to help.
Here are some of our favorite for Instagram.
With it, you can create custom images using their provided templates and graphics, or upload your own photos to manipulate.
You can use Canva for free, or upgrade to Canva For Work for $12.95 per month.
While the upgrade comes with a few obvious perks like uploading your own fonts and the Magic Resize tool (which automatically resizes your post to fit any social media specs), the free version offers plenty of features to create your own quality images.
PicMonkey is another popular choice for photo design work.
You can download it as an app or use the web-based version. Each offers the ability to add text to images and photo effects. The tool also allows you to upload your own fonts and create transparent overlays for your brand.
It also comes with a huge array of filters and effects to make your images distinct and seemingly top quality.
PicMonkey offers a free version, or a $33 per year (or $4.95 per month) plan.
Bonus Tip: Canva + PicMonkey = Custom Instagram Photo Magic.
Use Canva to build your design and PicMonkey to make it pop.
Stencil is another site like canva that allows you to create your own social media posts.
It even comes with a list quotes you can use if you’re need of a little inspiration.
The free version allows you to create up to 10 images per month with limited photos and icons, while their paid options start at $9/month and give you access to a much larger database of photos, etc.
Also a photo editing site, the easy-to-use BeFunky sets itself apart with tools like its cartoonizer and perfect skin tools.
It also comes with a collage maker, another extremely popular photo format on Instagram.
Snapspeed has been a mainstay in the editing app scene since its release in 2011.
The powerful app is made for mobile, and is all touch based. It includes the ability to adjust exposure, contrast, highlights, etc. as well as comes with its own set of filters different from Instagram offers.
It sets itself apart with its interactive Selective tool, which allows the user to touch any object in the photo to change the contrast, brightness or saturation level of just that object.
All edits made are non-destructive, meaning you can retrieve the original photo if an edit goes wrong.
This isn’t the app for photo design.
But it is the app to use when you need the perfect caption.
And you do need them. After all, viewers are 70% more likely to convert if they experience a strong emotional reaction to your product.
Que the great captions and Captiona, which helps users come up with great content to include in their posts.
Simply enter a keyword related to your post, and Captiona will generate a list of sayings, quotations and catchprases for your use.
Keep in mind, results will vary depending on keyword. But even if it doesn’t deliver that one perfect caption, it should help get your creativity flowing.
Of course, no custom Instagram photo would be complete without a filter.
With 40 unique filters to choose from, 60% of the top brands on Instagram still use the same filter for each post.
Popularity varies by industry:
- Clarendon is the most used filter in the world.
- But it doesn’t get the most likes. Valencia and Juno do.
- The best filter to use in nature photography is Valencia, which has an average of 121 likes per photography.
- For fashion photography, the best is Kelvin, with an average of 162 likes.
- For food, the go-to filter is Skyline, with about 91 likes per photo.
- The most popular filter for selfies? Au naturale. No filter needed.
Filters help improve image quality and mask any flaws your phone or camera may have captured.
They’re extremely popular, and you’ll want to choose your filter wisely when creating custom Instagram photos.
Many of the tools listed above offer large databases of filters not found on Instagram.
And with the introduction of apps like Shift, brands can even create their own.
The app offers different combinations of color gradients and textures to help you create your own unique brand filters, and save them for future use.
Sizing Custom Instagram Photos
Another aspect Instagram users struggle with is sizing.
As with all social media platforms, Instagram comes with its own set of specs photos must fit into.
Most of the time this isn’t a problem; images may have to be cropped but keep their resolution.
Where it could be an issue is when you’re creating a custom image with text or design elements you don’t want to lose.
Luckily, there’s an app for that.
Start Creating Custom Instagram Photos Now
Creating your own custom Instagram photos is easier than you think.
When combined with a solid strategy, a good custom post can boost follower engagement, count and conversion.
So what are you waiting for? Start creating today.