instagrammable styling vignettes virtual gold dust

How to create Instagrammable styling – 9 things you can’t ignore

Whether you’re a blogger or small business, are you making the most of a huge marketing opportunity by bringing some Instagrammable styling to your space?

You’re missing out if you’re not planning how to get your space ready for sharing.

What if you don’t know where to start?

Take the guesswork out of it, and start by creating a Instagrammable mini style spot.

What is Instagrammable styling?

A style spot is basically a vignette. That’s a tightly defined area in your space with some carefully arranged props.

Just as you can with words, you want your vignette to tell a story.

It’s like a mini-stage, where everything you add to it has a purpose.

Where to put your Instagrammable style spot

If you’re planning to add some photogenic vignettes to your home or business, you need to get the location right.

Here’s a list of 9 things you need to think about before you create your style spot.

  1. Natural light
  2. Stand back
  3. Waiting area
  4. Backdrop
  5. Negative space
  6. Verticality
  7. Eye-level
  8. Stop shine
  9. Test it

I’ll go into each one of those things in more detail now. If you’re a skimmer, skip to the end and get your free style spot checklist, which sums it all up.

Deep dive: 9 essentials for Instagrammable styling

1 Choose natural light

Near a source of natural light works best.

Try outside, at a door or facade.

Or put your style spot indoors, near some windows or glass door.

It doesn’t have to be too bright. Just enough to take a photo without needing any flash or artificial light.

Flash can make any subject look harsh. Generally best avoided.

Instagrammable styling in natural light showing a jug of hellebores on a window sill
Near a source of natural light works best

2 Stand back and try to take a photo

Is there enough space to stand back and take a photo?

If it’s too cramped, the photo opp won’t work.

You can test it out if you stand back and take some test photos. Always use your phone, rather than a fancy camera, for your test shots. That’ll give you a better idea of how your set-up works for most speedy snappers.

turquoise outdoor wall with bright flowers in a vase
Stand back from your style spot to make sure you’ve left enough space

3 Try a natural waiting area

Waiting areas are perfect places for a style spot. This should be your go-to area, if you’re got one.

Pick somewhere your visitors pause naturally.

Then give them something to look at.

Or sit in.

Or stand in front of.

If you have any natural waiting areas in your business, this is the obvious spot to start.

indoor waiting area with rustic wood bench and tables showing Instagrammable styling
A waiting area is the perfect place for a business style spot

4 Check the backdrop

Check what’s going on with your walls and surfaces.

If they’re not very exciting, have you got room to install some kind of backdrop?

This is really effective, as it doesn’t take up any floor space. Perfect for commercial spaces, where every centimetre of floor space is valuable.

Think about installing a sign, flower wall, green wall, mural, graffiti or some other kind of artwork.

A quote can work well too – just check positioning so that someone can capture all of it from the front (and be in the shot too).

green wall with pink neon sign that reads and breathe
A great backdrop is always photogenic

5 Have you left some negative space?

You need to leave some empty space in your vignette. Somewhere with nothing going on visually.

Too much clutter overwhelms our busy brains. That’s why our eyes favour cognitive ease above cognitive load.

Leaving some negative space means that your important visuals stand out.

Watch out for clutter and distractions and give the eyes a rest too.

blue negative space wall backdrop
Your eyes need rest too – don’t forget to leave some negative space

6 Does the space work vertically?

Does the space work vertically, in portrait rather than landscape mode?

This is important, as most social media apps use this ratio. Instagram relies heavily on square images, so it’s worth checking if squaring off an image works too.

Portuguese-style tiled outdoor wall presented as a vertical style spot
Social media favours vertical (portrait style) image ratios

7 What’s happening at eye-level?

Can you add some drama at eye-level?

It’s the perfect place for a prop or backdrop, as anywhere between chest and eye level is easiest to photograph. That’s why marketers use eye-level displays in shops to showcase the products they’re pushing the hardest.

arrow in concrete wall
Anywhere between eye and chest level is easiest to photograph

8 Stop any shine

Watch out for shiny reflections. Shiny surfaces are much harder to photograph than matt ones.

Test out mirrors, glass frames and shiny objects. If in doubt, choose matt over shine when you shop for props. Unnecessary glare and reflections can ruin a good pic.

matt concrete backdrop with colourful flowers flatlay as Instagrammable styling
Stop the shine and go for matt surfaces as your default

9 Test your Instagrammable styling

Grab your phone and take plenty of test shots of your style spot as you create it.

Check for brightness, clarity and impact.

Do this as you go along, rather than afterwards. It’s easiest to add one element at a time, then check again. This makes it simpler for you to see if the style spot starts to look cluttered.

test shot showing vertical photograph on mobile phone mock-up
Test your shot and see if it works on screen

Your free Instagrammable styling checklist

Download your free copy of my style shot checklist here.

It summarises everything you’ve learned in this post in a handy printable.

Read more lifestyle posts from Virtual Gold Dust.