A Complete Guide To Styling Photos For Your Instagram & Blog

Dec 12 2015

Photo styling is one of the key components to achieve high quality photography. If you are looking to spruce up your blog or instagram photos, here is a guide to styling your photos in detail!

Whether you are trying to quickly take a snap of your breakfast for Instagram or you are taking product shots for your online shop, styling is something that comes into play in every photo you click.

Styling is not just about arranging pretty things together, but also about doing it in a way that evokes emotion and conveys a message to the viewer. There is no right or wrong way to style photos, but a well styled photo tells a story. And although the best way to learn styling is probably through trial and error, here are some of the tips I’ve picked up along my photography journey and I hope these will give you a good starting point.

Also.. I have a BONUS for you – right here!

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Using a cohesive color palette for your photos

I am sure you did not randomly pick out colors from the color wheel while designing for your brand. You probably played around in Photoshop with a mood board as a reference for a while before you chose the colors that aligned with your aesthetic and core brand values. Similarly, using the right colors in photography is just as important in order to invoke the right emotions and feelings in the minds of the viewers.

Using a cohesive color palette for your photos creates a professional appearance and overall strengthens your brand. While styling your photos, use objects with colors that co-ordinate and flow well together. Choose a rough color palette beforehand and make sure to stick with it, this will ensure that all your photos align with your brand and look cohesive. I love the contrasting pastel color palette in this photo below, all the colors blend well with each other and the colored marbled textures stand out perfectly against the plain pink background. 

Photo styling is one of the key components to achieve high quality photography. If you are looking to spruce up your blog or instagram photos, here is a guide to styling your photos in detail!

Choose one hero piece around which you can create a theme

Instead of having multiple items thrown in together, choose one hero piece around which you can create a theme or mood for the photo. One of the key factors of good photo styling is to have objects distributed in a way that they don’t compete for attention. Instead, each object should fit in gracefully and accentuate the main purpose of the photo. 

Arrange all the items that form the photo in a way that they tell a story or reflect a theme. For example, the photo below tells me a story of a just cut cake celebrating an event, a birthday. The bright colors of the birthday candles reflect joy, cheer and happiness.


Photo styling is one of the key components to achieve high quality photography. If you are looking to spruce up your blog or instagram photos, here is a guide to styling your photos in detail!

Using attractive backgrounds + props

Props and backgrounds can make or break a photo. It is very easy go a little too much or a little too less with using backgrounds and props while styling photos. When it comes to backgrounds, I recommend using ones that have a good contrast with the main object you are trying to capture. Good backgrounds highlight the subject of the photo without being overpowering and competing. Something as simple as a white foam board can be one of the best backgrounds for your photos. You can also use wooden boards, contact paper, vinyl backgrounds, fabrics etc. as photography backgrounds. Here are 5 Ideas for blog photography backgrounds under $30.

Wondering what props to use for your photos? Here are 8 prop ideas to spruce up your blog photos and a free PDF with where to find and shop for them!

When it comes to props, I recommend using ones that co-ordinate with one another and form a theme around the subject of the photo. I would say that anything that accentuates the mood of the photo and makes the photo more relatable is a good prop. For e.g. let’s say we are trying to capture a desktop in your workspace, adding notebooks, pens or maybe a coffee cup would make the workspace look more real and relatable. So in this context, using notebooks and pens as props is a great idea. If you are wondering where to find props for your photos, here are 8 prop ideas under $20 for blog photography.

Photo styling is one of the key components to achieve high quality photography. If you are looking to spruce up your blog or instagram photos, here is a guide to styling your photos in detail!

Adding life and a personal touch

I personally prefer real photos to perfect photos. Let’s leave the perfect pictures to magazines and catalogues. When it comes to blog and Instagram pictures, its all about adding character and letting your personality shine through the photos. Bring life into your photos by adding details and quirks that make the photos more personal and more you.

As a feedback to my first Creative Convex photo pack, one of my readers said – “In the future, I’d love to see a bit of you in your stock photos. Maybe a profile, a hand, or something thoughtfully framed over your shoulder. ” – I loved that! Incorporating a bit of you into the photos helps your audience connect more with you and what you do, it also helps to humanize your brand.

Struggling to find photos that match your style and speak your voice? Download this awesome free photo pack with 20 high resolution photos that you can use for your blog and business!


Maintaining consistency with lighting, composition and editing

While scrolling on Instagram or Pinterest, more often than not, I can easily recognize a brand just by looking at their photo. Consistency is of prime importance in brand recognition and awareness. When it comes to taking photos, you can ensure consistency with respect to lighting, composition and editing.

Try to photograph under similar lighting conditions so your photos look uniform. If you use dim lighting for your blog photos, try to keep the same lighting theme across the images you share on your social media as well. When it comes to composition, you could use props and backgrounds that are consistent with your brand colors. You could also work out a specific composition frame/ angle for all of your photos.

Also, I highly recommend editing your photos in a similar way to produce a consistent effect. It may be the way you crop your photos, or a photo filter or effect that you could use for all your photos in a way that is consistent with your brand. Here is a snapshot of the fashion blogger, Tamira Jarrel’s Instagram, all her photos follow a consistent monochromatic theme and she always uses the same crop pattern and filter for her photos which sets her apart on Instagram.

Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 7.07.54 PM

By posting consistent visual content, you can reach your target audience quickly and easily on content marketing platforms like Pinterest, Bloglovin’ and Instagram.

What are your tips for photo styling?Want to style Instagram photos like a pro? Here;s your guide to mastering flatlays with step by step tips for styling, shooting and editing flatlays. Click here to download!

If you are interested in learning more about the course, enter your email address to join the waitlist and be notified when it launches! :)
  • these are such great tips! I really want to start spending more time on my instagram and trying to make my brand and theme more cohesive!

    • Thanks so much Sisi! 🙂 yes thats a great idea and will definitely help in growing your audience!

  • Great post! Everyone is wanting to up their photography skills for their blog and Instagram and you nailed it! Also, your photography is beautiful! I need to get around to downloading your photo packs because they’re awesome!

    – Juliet from http://www.thelittlejewelsoflife.com

    • Hi Juliet! Happy new year! Thanks so much – i really hope this helps to up your instagram game! Keep me posted 🙂 I ‘d love to hear from you!

  • Beautiful post chaitra! Solid tips.

    • Thanks so much Jenn! 🙂 Happy new year!

  • This is such an amazing post, I’m still striving to improve my photos and find my photography niche. This has given me some great ideas as a foundation!


    • Hi Isabelle! Thanks a lot. I ‘d love to see your photos using these ideas! Happy new year!

  • So useful! I’d love to get to the point where people can tell it’s my photo just by looking at it, and it’s true that having a bit of you in the photo makes it so much more relatable! Love these types of posts (:

    Angelina Is | Bloglovin’

    • Hi Angelina! Thanks so much – I am glad you like this. Yes photos can make a huge difference to branding. I ll definitely write more posts like these 🙂 Happy new year!

  • Brittney Guise

    Love it! Thanks for sharing! Your photos always look so great and inspire me. x

    • Wow – that makes me SUPER happy Brittney! 🙂 Thanks a ton!

  • Great tips! You have the most beautiful photos!

    Sara – She Who Is Short

    • Ah thanks so much Sara 🙂 You are so kind! x

  • These are some great tips – thank you for sharing, Chaitra. I love to see more personalized photos that reflect a personality more than all-white and artificially composed photos. It’s not like they’re any less, but they’ve been around for so long that a bit different styles make much more impact!

    Noor | Noor’s Place

  • Kulsoom

    I stumbled upon your blog by chance and loved going through the awesome posts. As a novice blogger, I am still intimidated by Photoshop and hence looking for a good online web tool. But your tips are definitely going to help me in the future.

    Live and Love Yourself

    • Thanks so much Kulsoom! Have you tried http://www.canva.com? Its a great online tool for graphics and photos! Let me know if you need help with anything! 🙂

      • Kulsoom

        Yes and I loved it. Chaitra, your blog is the best!! It’s like an institute for budding bloggers, I have learned so much after reading your posts and realized what I was doing wrong. Have rolled back my blog now and reworking on it with the help of your posts. Definitely understood the power of good template and photographs and I am also a self learner like you so yeah it’s going to be a long journey but then what’s the fun without it. Lucky that I found your blog!

        • Hi Kulsoom! 🙂 Happy new year! THANK you SO much for the kind words – means a lot to me! I really hope you get good use out of these tips and I look forward to seeing what you do. Please keep me posted on your progress!

  • lucy prosser

    Thanks for the lovely tips! I really think the ones with a color theme are amazing, I really want to try it. These are amazing examples, thanks for sharing 🙂

    Lucy xoxo


    • Hi Lucy! Thank you – yes I totally recommend using a color theme as a reference! 🙂

  • Lisa Villaume

    Such a great tutorial and I’ve used your strategy about the backdrops and consistent style. I picked up some contact paper in marble (who would have thought this would look gorgeous?) and using one filter in VSCO Cam. My followers have increased by 100%. Enough said. Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Hey Lisa! Your comment made my day! THANK YOU so much for sharing your results with me! 🙂 Your feed looks amazing! I ‘d love to stay updated with your growth – LOVE It! Good luck Lisa! x

  • These are awesome tips and ideas. I am slowly learning which photos are best and how the arrangements best describe my brands. Thanks for the blog!

    • 🙂 That is so so good! keep going 🙂

  • Lighting consistency in blog and Instagram photos is very important. Thank you for sharing some tips regarding this!


    • 🙂 So welcome Keri! Yes instagram feeds with consistency look very trust worthy and inviting!

  • These are great tips! Your photos are beautiful!

    xo, Liz


    • Thanks Liz 🙂 Please let me know if you use these tips for your beautiful blog photos!

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  • Excellent tips, Chaitra! You make it sound so easy. 🙂

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  • I guess if the lighting and composition can be done in a perfect way then sometimes post processing task may not be needed. I mean to say if the camera setup is good enough then post processing editing can be less.

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  • Sandra Garth

    Love the tutorial and the photo pack. Your blog is very inspiring!

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  • Great tutorial is here i am really very respectful to you that you have shared this kind of important things to public.will be waiting for next update.

  • This post was absolutely informative and beyond helpful! I’ve been struggling with my feed lately and try to figure out what fits in so this was just perfect. TYSM for sharing!

    Aïchatou Bella

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  • Great tips: always need to know more about this. Thanks!

  • Great tips. I must try in your way. Thanks for your post.